Whitby Jet is known the world over and has a peculiar fascination for visitors. Here's why. . .
If you would like a souvenir that won't be eaten, how about some local Whitby Jet, hand-worked and set in silver or gold in the back of an old-fashioned jewelers? A walk along Sandgate and Church Street will turn up several such jewelers, and a visit to the Whitby Jet Heritage Center at the end of Church Street (opposite the excellent Duke of York pub) provides the unique opportunity of seeing an original Victorian jet workshop which has been restored and preserved.
Jet is one of the oldest gemstones known to man, and its use can be traced all the way back to the Stone Age. Although it became particularly popular in Victorian times, due to its compatibility with ladies’ mourning fashions, in truth this probably only exaggerated the popularity of an already well-regarded stone.
Whitby Jet is formed from the remains of fossilised trees from the Jurassic Period (around 150 million years ago) and is only found along a 7.5 mile stretch of the North Yorkshire coastline. An inferior variety of jet is also found in certain parts of Spain, but it lacks the hardness and depth of colour of Whitby Jet.
Today, the notoriously dangerous jet mines of the Victorian era are long since gone, and Whitby Jet is only found in the traditional manner: by beachcombing. Local jet craftsmen and fisherman all have their favourite spots for finding jet, and as time and tide continues to reshape the area's cliffs, new deposits of jet are occasionally found.
Why not visit Whitby for a holiday? Maybe YOU could find a piece of this black beauty! I'm sure Dracula would have loved this gemstone!
http://www.Dracula-in-Whitby.com provides a unique tourist guide to the real Dracula story and his connection to Whitby, Yorkshire's unique vampire town.
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