Necklace thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 125b

Necklace

ca. 1875 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Object Type
Jet jewellery, such as this necklace of carved and faceted beads, was fashionable in 19th century and could be worn both in and out of mourning. The Queen magazine observed in 1892 that 'a superabundance of jewellery is in especially bad taste at seasons of mourning', but that 'a few trinkets...must be worn, if only to accentuate the general sombreness of the costume'. Only a small proportion of jet jewellery was probably made specifically for mourning.

Materials & Making
Jet is a fossilised wood, a black variety of brown coal or lignite found in many countries. The seams of jet in the area around Whitby in Yorkshire are of high quality.

Trading
Workshops in Whitby turning and carving jet ornaments grew from 2 shops employing 25 people in 1832 to 200 employing 1500 people in 1872. Estimates of the annual turnover in 1872 ranged from œ88,000 to œ100,000. The largest firms had branches in London and Birmingham as well as Whitby. The success of jet jewellery was founded on the growth in tourism, on royal patronage and on the change in fashion in the 1850s and 1860s to heavier fabrics, which were well suited to relatively large items of jewellery.



Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Carved jet
Brief description
Mourning jewellery
Dimensions
  • Open length: 48cm
  • Clasped diameter: 30cm
Dimensions checked: measured; 19/12/1998 by sf
Gallery label
British Galleries: MOURNING JEWELLERY
The strict observance of mourning during the reign of Queen Victoria led to an increased demand for black jewellery. The most expensive items were made of onyx or enamelled gold, but there was also a large market for cheaper jewellery made of jet, bog oak and glass. Lockets or brooches often contained hair from the deceased.(27/03/2003)
Credit line
Given by Miss B. L. Edmundson
Object history
Probably made in Whitby, North Yorkshire, or its surrounding area
Summary
Object Type
Jet jewellery, such as this necklace of carved and faceted beads, was fashionable in 19th century and could be worn both in and out of mourning. The Queen magazine observed in 1892 that 'a superabundance of jewellery is in especially bad taste at seasons of mourning', but that 'a few trinkets...must be worn, if only to accentuate the general sombreness of the costume'. Only a small proportion of jet jewellery was probably made specifically for mourning.

Materials & Making
Jet is a fossilised wood, a black variety of brown coal or lignite found in many countries. The seams of jet in the area around Whitby in Yorkshire are of high quality.

Trading
Workshops in Whitby turning and carving jet ornaments grew from 2 shops employing 25 people in 1832 to 200 employing 1500 people in 1872. Estimates of the annual turnover in 1872 ranged from œ88,000 to œ100,000. The largest firms had branches in London and Birmingham as well as Whitby. The success of jet jewellery was founded on the growth in tourism, on royal patronage and on the change in fashion in the 1850s and 1860s to heavier fabrics, which were well suited to relatively large items of jewellery.

Collection
Accession number
M.65-1974

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

Record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest