Whitby Jet, perhaps unsurprisingly, is found in Whitby – North Yorkshire, UK. It is a form of petrified wood specific to the area, coming from buried Monkey Puzzle trees. Jet has been used by jewellers for centuries – including some finds of Anglo Saxon / Anglo Scandinavian origins. It soared into popularity during the reign of Queen Victoria, particularly as mourning jewellery.

It is a relatively soft stone, which is perfect for jewellery making, and takes a fine polish.

There are still numerous excellent jet works in Whitby today producing jewellery, and many beach combers hunt the beaches around the area looking for small pieces. It is worth noting, however, there are two distinct ‘types’ of Jet, usually referred to as ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ – one being more crumbly and less useful than the other.

There are other locales for Jet around the world, including pieces being sold as French Jet, or Anthracite Jet.

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Information about Jet (Lignite)

Jet is a type of Lignite, otherwise known as Brown Coal.

It is usually either a very dark brown or black, and is formed by decomposing wood from millions of years ago.

As trees naturally fell, they washed down rivers into the sea, where they sank. They were buried under layers of sediment, sand, stone and other materials over the years, and slowly compressed into Jet – similar to the formation of Coal.



Jet is pretty much exclusively used as a gemstone, or as a mineral sample for collectors.

The main use is for jewellery, as it has been throughout history. It is also sold carved and polished, as it is very easy to work with.


History and Name

This material has been used for ornamentation since antiquity.

The name ‘Jet’ comes from the French ‘Jaiet’, which came from Latin – which came from Ancient Greek!

The term ‘jet black’ derives from this lovely black material, too.

It was widely used for decorative jewellery by the Romans and the Vikings. It later came back into popularity with the Victorian age, when it was used for mourning jewellery. Jet has been carved for at least 10000 years; so this certainly isn’t a complete list!

In the modern day, Jet is primarily used for jewellery, and is popular with the gothic subculture – a large Gothic festival happens in Whitby every year.



Jet is found in several places around the world. By far and away the most famous is Whitby, UK. It can also be found in Mongolia, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Tibet, and Turkey. I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list!


Mineralogy and testing

Jet is quite a soft ‘stone’, measuring between 2.5 and 4 on the Mohs scale. The specific gravity is around 1.30 to 1.34.

There are a few pretty easy tests for Jet, thankfully. They won’t be able to distinguish from Anthracite easily, but you can tell they aren’t Obsidian, or glass, or plastic…

The easiest test is to heat a pin up to a decent temperature – ideally red hot or hotter. When you touch the hot needle to the piece, true Jet will give off a smell similar to burning coal.

The streak of these pieces should, ideally, be a deep chocolate brown. Obviously, make sure to use white ceramic streak plates.

If you have a decent microscope with over 150x zoom magnification, you may be able to see the wood grain. I have only tried this on polished pieces and did not have much success, though.


Hazards and warnings

The only hazard we have found from Lignite is that burning it as fuel causes pollution.


Varieties and Colours

There are two varieties of Jet, hard and soft. Hard occurs due to saltwater, soft due to freshwater. Only hard Jet is suitable for using in jewellery, really.


Other common names, which may be used incorrectly, may be archaic or regional, or be ‘marketing’ names:

Black Amber, Lignite, Oltu Stone


Common Treatments

Jet is rarely treated, other than cutting and polishing. Some pieces may be stabilised, but there is no great shortage of jewellery quality material worldwide.


Other info

Similar to Amber, Jet can become electrically charged when rubbed. This has contributed to the name ‘Black Amber’, which is unfortunate as there are darker coloured Ambers typically referred to as black Amber.


Spirituality and crystal healing with Jet

We offer some collated information on crystal healing and metaphysical uses of crystals below.

However, we believe crystals and crystal healing should be used alongside medicine and treatment options, not instead of them. Crystal healing is a great way to keep a positive mindset during hard times, and it may complement any other medical treatments you are undergoing.

With the exception of an allergy to a stone, or mishandling a toxic or poisonous stone, there should be no reason reiki or crystal healing can’t be done alongside traditional medical procedures.

In Roman times Jet was believed to have magical properties, and was made into ‘protective amulets’. Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and philosopher said 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.”



Healing Properties

This material is thought to be good for purification of the soul, and for drawing out negative energies which may be affecting you.

You can think of Jet like a filter – helpful for those who are experiencing negative energies or emotions. Jet can be used to cleanse other stones and crystals, too.

People who are especially empathetic may want to consider carrying a piece of Jet with them, in order to ‘desensitize’ themselves.



We do not recommend making ‘gemstone elixirs’ in general – whether you’re using a gemstone, mineral, crystal, or glass. If you do choose to make elixirs we would recommend an indirect method.

As mentioned in the information above, this mineral can dissolve in water. It isn’t likely to happen, but why risk it?

You could use an indirect method to make your elixirs, either by placing a glass full of stones into your elixir container, or by placing the stones around the outside of your elixir container. Some people suggest using Quartz points alongside these stones in order to amplify and direct the energy into the water.

Elixirs containing Jet are thought to help ease anxiety, increase your self awareness, and help you to increase your psychic abilities or clairvoyance.



Typically, this is used with the Root chakra, as it has a deep connection with the Earth.


Zodiac Sign

Typically, this stone is associated with the Zodiac sign ‘Capricorn’.


Combining with other stones

Jet can be combined with Lepidolite in order to fight stress and anxiety. It can also be combined nicely with Amber or Petrified Wood, due to the nature of both of these stones. Some people suggest combining Jet with Black Tourmaline or Smoky Quartz to aid in psychic protection.



Arabic  ليجنيت (حجر كريم) Hausa Russian  гагата
Bengali Hungarian Spanish Azabache
Burmese Italian Giaietto Swahili
Chinese 煤精 Japanese 黒玉
Swedish Gagat
Czech Javanese Tamil
Dutch  git Korean  흑옥 Telugu
Esperanto Malay Thai
Farsi Marathi Ukrainian
French Jaiet Polish Gagat
German Gagat Portuguese Azeviche Vietnamese
Greek Γαγάτης Punjabi
Gujurati Romanian

External links and further reading

Wikipedia page:

Mindat page: