J is for Jet. A beautiful black gemstone frequently found in Whitby and the surrounding area. There are several jewellery boutiques dotted about the town, dedicated to the crafting of intricate items, all made using the black stone of Whitby Jet, the fossilised driftwood of the Monkey Puzzle tree from the Jurassic period, approximately 182 million years ago.
Whitby jet was a popular material for jewellery in Roman Britain from the third century onward. It was used in rings, hair pins, beads, bracelets, bangles, necklaces and pendants. It was later popularised by Queen Victoria, when she introduced the wearing of Jet into court circles, as she had searched for appropriate black mourning jewellery after the death of her husband, Albert, in 1861.
I couldn’t set a book in Whitby and not include Jet somewhere in there. It is, of course, also the same colour as Dylan’s eyes.
Here is an excerpt:
I let him take the lead and ambled along beside him. He spent a long time looking into the shop windows.
“Whitby Jet,” he mused, leaning in to take a look at the intricate jewellery through the glass.
I looked at what he was admiring. It was a set of delicate rings, each with a differently-shaped black jet stone.
“It reminds me of your eyes,” I said.
He looked down at my hand and saw that I was still wearing the butterfly ring that he had won for me in the arcades.
“It would be nice to replace that one with something like this,” he said, pointing to a pretty silver ring with an oval stone.