Jet - the new little black in the jewelry world

Jewelry has fascinated humanity for thousands of years. Not only gold and diamonds where processed, but also materials of which the material value was less significant but allowed for magnificent craftsmanship.

Jet or Gagat is a form of fossilised coal which, due to its good carvability, silky sheen and, above all, low density, was formerly often used for lavish jewelry purposes.


(The carved Jet peacocks are available at STEINLIN ZURICH at Kuttelgasse 15 in Zurich)

Even the ancient Romans made jewelry, spinning equipment and amulets from jet. The material was also credited with a lot of healing properties. For example, jet is supposed to protect against evil looks and is considered a protective stone against grief. From the Middle Ages, Jet was mainly used in Europe as mourning jewelry and flourished in Victorian times.

Mourning jewelry became incredibly popular when Queen Victoria in 1861 - after the death of her beloved Prince Albert - decided to only wear mourning jewelry with the accompanying accessories. At the English court, she even forbade to wear  colourful pieces of jewelry. Only allowed was black jewelry, which was then mainly made of jet.

Today, one would say that Queen Victoria was an influencer for a whole time epoch and helped the jet jewelry to a veritable hype.

In England, a whole industry developed around jet. The main occurrence of a particularly high-quality jet was on the English north coast, near the fishing village at Whitby. From there, fine pieces of jet jewellery made their way to Europe and America, until demand started fell again at the turn of the century.

In the 1920s, with the Art Deco, the color black came back into fashion. And when in 1926 Coco Chanel designed the famous "little black", black was once again the epitome of good taste. This trend also helped the jet jewelery to a new image. 

The use of jet as a gemstone is anything but new. But we are happy to be inspired by old materials to create something unique and surprising. And perhaps to bring back a new heyday of this mystical material. 

Jet, Jett or Gagat, in my opinion, deserves to be given a special place in the world of fashion and jewelry.

Combine our Lilly collection with the simple Navette ear hangers and let yourself be surprised by the lightness of the material.

Now available at

Author: Nicole Braun, Goldsmith from the Steinlin team 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published