Jet

Black as coal and warm as amber, I personally love Jet and am never without a piece on my altar and in my shop.

There are other jets available, but the Whitby Jet is the best quality and the rest simply don’t come close, especially the shine when polished. One of the witch’s must have’s like amber, Jet is a fossil that was living centuries ago living in a world we know little about. A type of fossilised wood and not always readily available because of its limited deposits, it is a mix of earth, air and water. As a type of wood, it would have been swallowed and buried by sea mud and left to become a sort of coal which has then fossilised into Jet. The centuries of invaders have all been attracted to, mined and used the Whitby Jet, from the Vikings to the Romans. Nuns at Whitby Abbey, beginning with Abbess Saint Hilda, had quite a cottage industry going making crucifixes and rosaries for themselves, but any extras were sold to pilgrims and visitors! It has been used since ancient times, alongside amber, to guard the bones of the deceased and wish them luck in the next life. Back then, Jet was referred to as “Black Amber” However, it gained notoriety for mourning when Queen Victoria wore it constantly after the death of her Prince Albert. Once she wore it, it became the thing to have, and every home had something made from this material, whether a simple crucifix or an intricately carved brooch!

From organic beginnings, Jet began life as buried rotten wood which, over millions of years, was compressed into a type of ‘coal’. As mentioned above, Whitby Jet was not only easily worked to carve into intricate designs, it had a beautiful sheen too when polished. Like coal, it sometimes contains Pyrite inclusions and, here’s a tip: to check if it’s real Jet or amber, rub it on your clothes to charge it with static and it will pick up a small bit of paper/tissue!

Magickally, as the Witches stone, we use it for luck and protection; I have a piece that I can never sell, hidden with amber, to ensure the protection of my business. Because of its deep past, it is used to ease depression which, like the mud, can swallow and consume you. It also protects from negativity, illness and violence and stabilises your finances – well it certainly has helped my business along, and in these days, any protection from violence will be useful thank you. Wives of fishermen burnt it in their fire to ensure the safe return of their men, protecting them whilst at sea, and I gave some to Mike to place on the tummy of his newborn son straight after the birth for protection and luck (and it still hangs with a rose quartz heart in his room). I also like to wear it when travelling into the unknown. When I ventured to the Arctic Circle, I wore Jet earrings, but lost one by accident on Svalbard, so provided some secretive magickal protection for the Polar bears! When I returned home, I replaced my Whitby Jet earrings with another pair of identical ones…to ensure my luck and protection continue! Nowadays, the best place to buy Whitby Jet in jewellery or carvings is Whitby itself, still collected and sold by locals as their business. I obtained a bag of it some years ago and am still using it but when it has gone,
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