Black Jet Beauty Beyond the Ages
Black jet, or Gagate, although sometimes referred to as “black jewel”, has an organic nature, which uniquely separates it from many other gemstones on the market today. Jet is considered a minor gemstone and is a form of lignite, derived from decaying and compressed wood that has experienced high pressure for a long period of time. Whitby Jet, a specific variety found in England, is a primary example of this as it has proven to be a product of fossilized wood from the Monkey Puzzle tree and is thought to be from the Jurassic era. Although not derived from fossilized tree sap, Gagate is often called black amber due to its superficial similarities. However, upon microscopic examination, the patterning of the trees that each stone originates from can be seen.
Gagate, which was named after the city of Gages in ancient Lykia, has been a popular jewelry material since the Roman period. In fact, the Yorkshire Museum has an exhibit featuring black jet jewelry from centuries back. Jewelry made of this magnificent material was extremely popular during the Victorian Era in Europe and was often worn in brooches at a ladies neckline. Jet gained popularity in the United States during the 1920’s when long necklaces of jet beads were worn often. Authentic black jet jewelry is highly valued by collectors and connoisseurs of fine jewelry. However, Anthracite and Ebonite, which are visually similar to Gagate, as well as glass and acrylics, are often used to imitate the organic, precious material of black jet. However, jet is lighter than most of the usual impostors and is, therefore, easily distinguishable.
Black jet, while dull by nature, is easily polished to a brilliant luster resembling that of a darkly hued mirror making it perfect for all types of jewelry including necklaces and rings. The reflective quality of polished jet gives the stone a mystical quality that lends itself to personal connection and the passing of energies. Gagate is known in some circles to have many spiritual qualities including purification and protection. When combined with silver, Gagate is said to be able to absorb negative energies and replacing them with calming energies. It is also considered to have many healing properties that are effective in helping to ease ailments of all varieties including toothaches, grief and depression.
Gagate is once again gaining popularity. Although relatively rare, the beautiful stone is highly desired by sophisticated collectors. Black Jet, being negativity absorbent as well as having healing qualities, is back in high demand. Due to its illustrious nature and gem-like qualities, it is becoming a very popular item in today’s society. Jet jewelry is so precious to many women that the piece is often passed down throughout the generations of a family becoming a treasured heirloom.