Victorian Carved Jet & Painted Portrait Earrings
Jet is a black fossilized wood (other theories believe it to be a form of coal or sap similar to amber) found in may countries including France, Spain, the United States, Turkey, China, Germany, India, Poland and Russia. It is formed when wood would fall into stagnant water and then fossilize, similar to the way that coal was made. There is generally two recognized types: soft and hard Jet. It is believed that the soft Jet was formed in fresh water and the hard in salt water. When her beloved Albert died, Queen Victoria bought and wore masses of Jet. As a result, the Jet trade received much publicity and entered a boom period moving far beyond simple mourning.
An impressive pair of jet earrings from the Victorian (ca1880) era! These unusual earrings are quite substantial in size, and bear an artistic hand-crafted design. Each earring dangles a large teardrop link at the base, which hangs from a jet ring at teh top. The hand carved detail includes a heavily textured border, adding further dimension to the design. Painted on the surface of each link is a wonderful portrait of a young girl. The color and detail of the image is incredibly fine, including blue ribbon tied around a head of blonde ringlets, soft facial features, and a charming pink dress. The girl rests above a metallic gold background, and holds a sweet bird in her arms that resembles a dove. A gold earring wire is attached to the top of each earring, completing the striking design. Despite their size, the earrings are quite lightweight and comfortable to wear. A wonderful example of artisan Victorian jewelry, these earrings would make a striking addition to any antique collection!
Measurements: Each earring hangs 2 1/2" long, including the wires at the top. The teardrop-shaped links measure 1 1/2" long, 7/8" wide, and 3/8" thick. The open rings at the top measure 1/2" in diameter.
Condition: The overall condition of the earrings is excellent. Besides normal surface wear, there are no significant chips or scratches to the carved jet design. There is some light fading to the painted portraits, which is normal and commensurate with age. However, it does not detract from the beauty of the design. The earring wires are secure at the top.