Jet Talismanic Heirloom Beads Antique from Afghanistan C
Jet Talismanic Heirloom Beads Antique from Afghanistan
Size Approx. (25mm x 14mm x 13mm)
These particular shapes were popular in the mid 20th century, and were worn "as is" with their beautiful, blocky angular shapes and clean linear geometry. Added to Tasbih Prayer Bead Malas, or strung on a cord as a Protective Amulet, these rare and important beads would have been an Heirloom and Prized Possession believed to dispel and defeat negative energy, both from inside the wearer, and attacks by others.
Significant deposits of Jet were found in Turkey, as well as Siberia in the Ural Mountain areas, and were likely two of the most important gateways for Jet entering the Middle East. These pendants have circulated throughout the Middle East as a Talismanic Gemstone, and were used as a luxury material in Prayer Beads and Heirloom Jewelry.
Jet, an opaque black, organic gem is usually described as a form of fossilized wood, but not in the sense of "petrified" wood, where the original cellular structure has been replaced by minerals and preserved. Jet is essentially a form of lignite coal, having its origin in buried wood from ancient forests, but much modified over millions of years by compression and heating deep underground. Occasionally you find the term "Black Amber" applied to Jet, but this is considered a misnomer. Perhaps the name arose due to the fact that, like amber, jet will develop a pleasant static electrical charge when rubbed.
Jet is soft hardness ranging from 2.5 to 4) and somewhat brittle. Jet jewelry shouldn't be cleaned in an ultrasonic or with steam. It can be washed with warm soapy water and a soft brush, and a small amount of mineral oil applied to the surface will revive the shine.
Jet is very easy to carve, but it is difficult to create fine details without breaking so it takes an experienced lapidary to execute more elaborate carvings.
One of the earliest of mankind's ornaments, Jet beads have been unearthed from burial sites dating to the Bronze Age. The extension of the Roman Empire into the British Isles resulted in this black gem's use in the jewelry and art objects of wealthy Romans. Besides ornamental use, there are written records showing that powdered Jet was used as a medication by the physicians of the 17th Century.
The height of Jet popularity was during the Victorian era. Upon her widowhood, Queen Victoria began wearing "mourning jewelry", primarily of Jet, and continued to do so throughout her long life. The public emulated their Monarch, so that earrings, brooches and pendants were produced in large quantities and varying qualities and worn by everyone who could afford them.
Recently, signs of renewed popularity have been seen, perhaps as part of the general revival of interest in Victorian jewelry, or maybe due to its credentials as a gem with "metaphysical" attributes and uses.
Although there are known deposits of Jet in many parts of the world, such as the USA (Utah, Colorado, New Mexico), Spain and the Middle East, historically, the premier site is along the Yorkshire coast, near the town of Whitby in England. Deposits there occur in shale beds which form cliffs along the beach and which extend under the sea. During the height of its popularity it was mined, but both before and after that period, a sufficient supply is picked from "land slides" and collected from material washed up on the beaches.
Jet also has been traditionally fashioned into rosaries for monks. Historically, and even in modern stone lore, Jet is a powerful protective stone, that wards off all types of evil and absorbs negative energy, keeping the wearer safe.
Jet has been used in Britain since the Neolithic period, but the earliest known object is a 10,000 BC model of a botfly larva, from Baden-Württemberg, Germany, found among the Venuses of Petersfels. It continued in use in Britain through the Bronze Age where it was used for necklace beads. During the Iron Age, Jet went out of fashion until the early-3rd century AD in Roman Britain. The end of Roman Britain marked the end of Jet's ancient popularity, despite sporadic use in the Anglo-Saxon and Viking periods and the later Medieval period.
Whitby Jet was a popular material for jewelry in Roman Britain from the 3rd century onward. It was used in rings, hair pins, beads, bracelets, bangles, necklaces, and pendants, many of which are visible in the Yorkshire Museum. There is no evidence for Roman jet working in Whitby itself, rather it was transferred to Eboracum (modern York) where considerable evidence for Jet production has been found. The collection of jet at this time was based on beachcombing rather than quarrying.
In the Roman period it saw use as a magical material, frequently used in amulets and pendants because of its supposed protective qualities and ability to deflect the gaze of the Evil Eye. Pliny the Elder suggests that "the kindling of jet drives off snakes and relieves suffocation of the uterus. Its fumes detect attempts to simulate a disabling illness or a state of virginity." and has been referenced by other ancient writers including Solinus and Galen.
At one time, Jet was used in powdered form and mixed with beeswax as an ointment to treat tumors. The Jet stone was used in Talismans and Amulets throughout the ancient world. Its alleged amuletic properties include dispelling depression and fearful thoughts, and protection from thunderstorms.
Legend tells us that the Greeks believed that wearing Jet would bring the favor of the Gods. Medieval healers believed that burning Jet around a patient was a cure not only for fevers, but for all manner of illnesses. It was said that Jet would invoke favor of God. As early as the 16th century, Jet was often the component most used to create rosary bead for monks. Pueblo Indians were found to have buried Jet with their dead, believing it would protect their souls in the afterlife.
Amber and Jet are considered magically matched, and both gemstones have been found in many a prehistoric grave site. It is said that to ensure a restful night’s sleep void of nightmares, wear Jet, place it under the pillow, or hang it on the bed post for protection in the night.