Comments for Info on black cameo

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Rare Signed Jet
by: Anonymous

Hi Tabitha

if it were mine I would first be examining this piece back and front to see if it has been signed. The most valuable are signed jet pieces. In the private collection of Helen Muller is a jet piece that features the Madonna and an engraved motto, "Ecce Ancilla Domini" referring to the Annunciation. It is signed, "From John Harland, jet ornament, made in Whitby." Harland worked in New Quay, circa 1867, and signed his work, most likely to enter it into a competition.

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Godey's Lady Book, Mourning and Braided Hair
by: Anonymous

Greetings

To add to this interesting dark discussion, Jet mourning brooches, rings and bracelets often featured braided hair from the deceased relative as part of the design.

Apparently this unsualy practice dates back to the Middle Ages. Wills dictated that money would be set aside to buy mourning rings for family and friends; the rings would have a small receptacle for a lock of hair. The Godey's Lady's Book of May 1855 explained:

"Hair is at once the most delicate and lasting of our materials, and survives us, like love. It is so light, so gentle, so escaping from the idea of death, that with a lock of hair belonging to a child or friend, we may almost look up to heaven and compare notes with the angelic nature-may almost say, 'I have a piece of thee here, not unworthy of thy being now.'

Jo-anne

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Black Luck Talisman
by: Anonymous

Dark objects were often thought to convey "black luck," and according to historian Philip Brown, this was because "they resemble or can be used for fuel." Because Jet is fossilized wood, it had distinct talismanic value. A cross made of Whitby Jet is among the jewels of Whitby Abbey, founded as a monastery by King Oswy of Northumberland about 656 A.D. It is also said that because jet is capable of taking on a high mirror polish, it could also be used for crystal gazing.

Roos, Anna Marie, Antiques & Collecting Magazine113.8 (Oct 2008): 48-53.

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Genuine Whitby Jet Tests
by: Anonymous

Tabitha
There are ways to test if your cameo is made from jet that you can do at home; gently rubbing it against a piece of unglazed pottery produces a brownish-black streak if it is genuine. Jet rubbed on silk or wool develops static electricity very quickly, and a red-hot pin inserted into an inconspicuous area will result in smoke and a slight smell of coal.

On the other hand dyed horn smells unpleasant and like burning hair while glass and plastics will melt. Jet is also very lightweight and will normally float. Whitby Jet is fairly warm to the touch, whereas anthracite jet from other regions feels cold and prone to fractures and splitting.


Warm Regards
Yvonne

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Jet-set Victorians
by: Anonymous

Because jet can have a very similar appearance to glass and the term "jet" can often be used indiscriminately to refer to color, it is best to buy from a reputable dealer or get the piece appraised independently.

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Black Mourning Jewelry Material
by: Yvonne

Good Morning!
Victorian Mourning Jewelry carved from reknowned Whitby jet is the prize. There are a number of black and black/brown materials that were also used during this era to mimic the popular Whitby jet.

I will be adding more shortly on the different black materials used for Mourning Jewelry and how to test shortly.

Kindest Regards
Yvonne

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Is most likely Victorian mourning jewelry
by: Fox

Hi there,
Your cameo appears to be part of a piece of Victorian era jewelry. During this era, if an individual lost a loved one it was tradition for adults to wear only black. This goes for clothing, hats, gloves, jewelry, etc. A common mourning jewelry item is a brooch of a black hand offering flowers.

Sometimes mourning jewelry is made with gold plated - braided - hair from the lost loved one. Your cameo could possibly be an attempt at reproducing the image of the lost person. Later mourning jewelry would feature a picture of the lost.

Based on the image you provided, I would say it is in exceptional condition for it's age.

Trust this helps!

Kind Regards,
Fox

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