Jet is not a gemstone in a traditional sense, but of organic origin as it once carried life, and is the product of fossilized wood. Much like coal, Jet was formed from the remains of wood that had been immersed in water for millions of years, after which it had been compacted and then fossilized. When burned or touched with a hot implement, Jet often exudes the characteristic smell of coal.
Jet has been said to have been used since 1400 BC. Carved and crafted pieces of Jet have been found in prehistoric burial mounds. Legend tells us that the Greeks believed that wearing Jet would ensure 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. So in 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.
Due to it’s somber coloring and modest appearance, Jet was often chosen for jewelry during mourning periods during the Victorian times.