Brooch thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Jewellery, Rooms 91 to 93 mezzanine, The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery

Brooch

1830-40 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Jet is the fossilised remains of driftwood. In Britain, the main source is Whitby, in Yorkshire. It became particularly popular in mourning jewellery in the mid 19th century, encouraged by Queen Victoria’s prolonged mourning after the death of her husband Albert in 1861.

Expensive work in black-enamelled gold was made by hand. Jet was much in demand, and the workshops in Whitby, Yorkshire, near the main source of the material, produced articles which often comprised hand-carved details applied to mass-produced bodies turned on lathes.

Mass production methods, and the use of substitute materials, brought mourning jewellery within reach of all but the poorest. This piece is made of 'French jet', executed in cast glass mounted on gilded copper. The glass has been cast with facets, to resemble cut gemstones. A panel on the back holds plaited hair, most likely the hair of a deceased friend or family member.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cast black glass mounted on gold
Brief Description
Brooch, cast black glass imitating jet, mounted on gilded copper. England, 1830-40.
Physical Description
Mock-jet brooch, cast black glass ('French jet') mounted on gilded copper.
Dimensions
  • Height: 2.5cm
  • Width: 3.6cm
  • Depth: 1.3cm
Credit line
Given by Miss Marguerite Hearst
Historical context
The increasing rigidity of mourning conventions during the reign of Queen Victoria gave great encouragement to the manufacture of black jewellery. Expensive work in black-enamelled gold was made by hand. Jet was much in demand, and the workshops in Whitby, Yorkshire, near the main source of the material, produced articles which often comprised hand-carved details applied to mass-produced bodies turned on lathes. Mass production methods, and the use of substitute materials, brought mourning jewellery within reach of all but the poorest. This piece is made of 'French jet', executed in cast glass mounted on metal.
Subject depicted
Summary
Jet is the fossilised remains of driftwood. In Britain, the main source is Whitby, in Yorkshire. It became particularly popular in mourning jewellery in the mid 19th century, encouraged by Queen Victoria’s prolonged mourning after the death of her husband Albert in 1861.



Expensive work in black-enamelled gold was made by hand. Jet was much in demand, and the workshops in Whitby, Yorkshire, near the main source of the material, produced articles which often comprised hand-carved details applied to mass-produced bodies turned on lathes.



Mass production methods, and the use of substitute materials, brought mourning jewellery within reach of all but the poorest. This piece is made of 'French jet', executed in cast glass mounted on gilded copper. The glass has been cast with facets, to resemble cut gemstones. A panel on the back holds plaited hair, most likely the hair of a deceased friend or family member.
Collection
Accession Number
M.40-1974

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record createdJanuary 19, 2006
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