Although I've been a member here for quite sometime, and frequently
read postings, I've never responded to or posted a question to
Orchid. It's nice to "meet you" :)
I'm really hoping that someone with more Gemology experience than
what I have, specific to Jet, can help me out....
I recently purchased some new, round unfacetted beads advertised as
on Etsy as Lignite/Jet from a seller in Hong Kong who wholesales a
variety of gemstone beads. I was very excited about this find as I am
a collector of antique/vintage Jet and had hoped to incorporate a
source of new Jet into some of my designs.
The beads are extremely black and SUPER shiny (no evidence of grain
under magnification or fracture/chips) and somewhat soft when
inconspicuously scratched with needle, but they have a clink-y sound
that is uncharacteristic of antique Jet. They are somewhat heftier,
do not have that "glow" of genuine Jet and also do not emit a smell
of burning coal when touched with a hot needle.
When I wrote to the seller to ask for a refund for these beads as
they do not appear to be Jet, or react as it in simple tests, the
seller told me that these beads are indeed Jet, but that it has been
coated with resin and/or stabilized as the rough product is "dirty"
without this type of treatment. Obviously I wouldn't have purchased
these beads had this type of extensive treatment been disclosed
I know that this is a common treatment for other porous gems such as
Turquoise and Opal, but this is the first time that I've encountered
it with Jet (if indeed that is what it really is at the core of this
I'm returning the beads to the seller for a refund as they were
quite expensive, but am curious if anyone else has specific
experience/knowledge of this type of treatment with Jet (or any
modern Jet treatments), or knows of any tests that can determine the
material without destroying the beads?
Your experience has been your guide, to question wether its real jet
Here in the UK we have jet from Whitby on or east coast and it was
very popular in the 19th cent.
From your description and that the seller offers predominately stone
beads, your purchase sounds like hematite.
Thanks for your response, Ted.
The beads are for sure not Hematite or any other hard black stone
like Agate. I have a feeling that they are perhaps coal dust bound
with a resin.
I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to my question.
Excellent reference guide to tell if jet is fake-
Google "whitby jet" for even more info. That's the originating source
in England for Queen Victoria's mourning jet jewellery.
Thank you for the response :)
I am very familiar with Jet (at least the antique stuff), so I'm
positive that these beads are not Jet in the sense that I am used to.
But they could be heavily treated/coated Jet as the seller
suggested, or be some sort of weak "half truth" in the sense that
they are made of Jet dust bound together with resin (in which case,
they wouldn't test as Jet as my testing confirmed).
Whatever the material is, it does leave a scratch when scraped with
But I don't think it's straight-up plastic either.
I've never purchased "new" Jet before, so I don't know what is
common place in the industry pertaining to Jet at this time.
I'm interested in finding out whether these beads are indeed heavily
treated (stabilized with a resin) and if this is a new thing that
has become common, or if someone can tell me of any known Jet
treatments on new material, or if there's a new Jet simulant--This
can help me avoid buying whatever I purchased on-line this time :)