Featured Whitby Jet, Vulcanite, Bog Oak, Gutta Percha, French Jet, etc

Discussion in 'Jewelry' started by bluumz, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. bluumz

    bluumz Quite Busy

    I'm interested in acquiring a Whitby jet cameo and believe it's likely that some/many sellers may misidentify their items. I have a small Whitby jet mourning pin, have read up on the subject via google, and feel somewhat confident that I can identify WJ when it's in hand. Any hints on how to identify it and distinguish it from other similar materials simply from photos? Is that even possible? :nailbiting: (It's my understanding that "French" jet is a glass?)
  2. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  3. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

  4. patd8643

    patd8643 Well-Known Member

    AJ, those are wonderful references.
  5. bluumz

    bluumz Quite Busy

    Thanks so much @Any Jewelry! I had found the SpruceCrafts guide and it was helpful. Nevertheless, I was still having difficulty determining true Whitby jet pieces from other materials simply by photos, not having them in hand. I hadn't seen the gem-a site, more good info!
  6. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    It is very difficult, you really need them in hand. But these guides are the next best thing.
  7. Jivvy

    Jivvy the research is my favorite

    I have a piece of Whitby Jet that I know is Whitby Jet and sometimes I look at it and can barely stop myself from once again dragging out an unglazed tile to test it. :bored::hilarious:

    Looking online is hard. I just searched "whitby jet brooch" on ebay (all categories) and I'm certain one of the first results is bog oak and I KNOW another is glass (oh, Headband Girl, you ARE everywhere).

    In case it's not covered elsewhere: if any of the findings are screwed to the piece, it's not whitby jet. Whitby jet brooches tend to have relatively substantial metal plates on the back (big surface area to glue to the jet).

    Whitby Jet has a conchoidal fracture pattern much like glass.

    If it would be of any help, I can upload some random pictures of my piece.
    scoutshouse, judy, kyratango and 4 others like this.
  8. bluumz

    bluumz Quite Busy

    @Jivvy I'm glad I'm not the only one that sees some obvious misclassifications by sellers. I have a simple Whitby jet bar pin with a seed pearl and love it. When browsing online, I'm having most trouble distinguishing between true Whitby jet and "bakelite", "plastic", or even "onyx" just by seller photos. I'm trying to look for actual indications of hand carving as opposed to molding but sometimes... ugh!
    I like to think that most sellers who mid-identify are doing so due to ignorance rather than a deliberate effort to deceive but I know that's not always the case.
    scoutshouse, judy, kyratango and 3 others like this.
  9. Jivvy

    Jivvy the research is my favorite

    I've no doubt some of it's due to ignorance.

    I've no doubt of the other, either.:bored:
    scoutshouse, judy, kyratango and 4 others like this.
  10. KSW

    KSW Well-Known Member

    If I'm not sure I will always say so and leave it to the buyer to decide.
    scoutshouse, judy, kyratango and 3 others like this.
  11. bluumz

    bluumz Quite Busy

  12. Marie Forjan

    Marie Forjan Well-Known Member

    One caveat, black bakelite does not always test positive with 409, baking soda or Simichrome :oops:
  13. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Can't tell you how many times I have half screamed I HATE BLACK STUFF! Let's not forget black lava while we're at it. Another clue can be what the black material is being used for. If I see a conch shell cameo mounted in a shiny black surround, I can be reasonably sure it is jet, unless there are contraindications. If I see an all black cameo with a shiny surround & a matte appearing figure, often I am unable to come to a firm conclusion: is it a single piece of jet?; is it a premade jet fame with a hand cut jet cameo mounted in it?; is it a cameo molded in Vulcanite or similar, in a genuine jet mount? I look for signs of carved v. molded. I look for browning, especially in crevices; gutta percha type materials oxidize over time. Bottom line is that I buy very few items of black jewellery, just for this reason.
  14. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    Isn't she just? :hilarious::hilarious:
    scoutshouse, bluumz and Jivvy like this.
  15. scoutshouse

    scoutshouse Well-Known Member

    I've looked these up many times, and am guessing they're jet - true jet because of the carving and shine... But if anyone can volunteer whats up with the findings, I'd love that - I think it's the most interesting thing about them. Plus: a PAIR!!!

    Mourning Catch.JPG

    Any Jewelry likes this.
  16. Hollyblue

    Hollyblue Well-Known Member

    What do you mean "what's up with the findings"? I see 2 tongues for box clasp,safety chains that would attach to the jump ring opposite end of the tongue.Is the other half of the box clasp at the far end?
  17. Jivvy

    Jivvy the research is my favorite

    This doesn't look like damage I would expect to see to Whitby jet... would expect more conchoidal fracture . This is rather scooped and smooth.

    Also, I would expects lots more little nibbles from all the links.

    Mourning Catch.jpg
  18. scoutshouse

    scoutshouse Well-Known Member

    I really just meant the style,

    I haven't seen jewelry like it before. It tested sterling.

    The catches are functional.
    Any Jewelry likes this.
  19. scoutshouse

    scoutshouse Well-Known Member

    I'm giving myself eyestrain trying to photograph in some harsh light. I'll try again in daylight.

    And when I'm not so HOT!
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2019
    Jivvy likes this.
  20. Bronwen

    Bronwen Well-Known Member

    I say jet. I see none of the discoloration or wear on the links I would expect from a gutta perch type material & it is clearly not glass of any sort. To take exception with my dear friend Jivvy, I think the way the chip is rounded rather than more like a shard does qualify as conchoidal.

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