Jacqueline Cullen

Today’s post results from a research we were doing on Victorian jewellery and its use of the Whitby stone. The Whitby or Jet stone is a very interesting black mineraloid of organic origin that derives from the decomposition of wood that was immersed in stagnant waters millions of years ago. Light and easily polished, it found its natural way into jewellery and ornaments being popularized in the 19th century due to Queen Victoria’s particular predilection for mourning jewellery made from a material that presented a sombre color and associations with modesty.

Searching for contemporary interpretations of the Whitby stone we came across the work of Jacqueline Cullen, British designer whose jewellery project started precisely – in her own words – as a way to “liberate jet from the historical pigeonhole it had been consigned about death, grief and sentimentality”.

The rough fractures and fissures that are naturally present in the stone are left to contemplation in Cullen’s work, referring maybe to the the extreme pressure conditions that bring the jet stone into existence. The dramatic touch that those irregularities reinforce in the solid black material compositions can maybe also be referring to a certain interpretation of  existence as fragile, delicate and asperous perhaps, sparkled often by graceful moments of gold and diamond glitter. At least, how we see it.

Shown below, a guide to contemporary elegance.

Ring – Hand Carved Whitby Jet.

Ring – Hand Carved Whitby Jet Stone, 18 Ct. Gold Granulation.

Bracelet – Hand Carved Whitby Jet, 18ct. Gold Catch.

Bracelet – Hand Carved Whitby Jet, 18 Ct. Gold Granulation.

Ring – Hand Carved Whitby Jet Stone, Black Diamonds.

Bracelet – Hand Carved Whitby Jet, 18 Ct. Gold Catch, Black Diamonds.



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