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What on Earth Is Jet?

The jet gemstone is classified as a mineraloid, and the stone itself is a type of lignite that can be polished to perfection. This stone is actually a variety of coal, and it is formed from carbonized or fossilized wood. Keep reading to learn more about this gorgeous black gemstone:

The Physical Properties of Jet

The chemical composition of the jet gemstone is an interesting one because it varies, but it is usually rich in carbon thanks to the way it's formed. When wood decays and is put in conditions of extreme heat and pressure, it fossilizes and turns into a compact black material that we know as the jet gemstone.

Jet's assigned a 2.5 to 4 value on the Mohs hardness scale, which makes it a relatively tough or brittle gemstone. It has an amorphous crystal system and a gorgeous black color. Its transparency is opaque, and at its highest level of quality, it is jet black, to which it owes its name. Jet has a refractive index of 1.66 and a specific gravity of 1.3 to 1.34.

The History of Jet

Jet's ancient name comes from the Greek word Gagates, which is the river in Lycia where the Greeks first found it. The etymology of the name jet takes it through a few different languages, namely the Latin gagete, which eventually evolved into the old French jaiet.

The evidence of mining jet was found as early as 1500 B.C. in England, and there have been ornaments made from jet found in the Paleolithic caves in Switzerland and France. Its uses were both ornamental and medicinal, but it has been present in human cultures since ancient times. Queen Victoria of England wore it as a mourning ornament, turning it into a jewel of widows.

The Lore of Jet

Jet has always been believed to have healing or magical properties. The ancient Greek physician Galen used fragments of jet to cure swelling of the knees. Nicander used the smoke from burning jet as a cure for the Black Death plague, and in Ancient Rome, Pliny the Elder had a similar idea. However, he used jet smoke for curing epilepsy and hysteria. In powdered form, jet was mixed with wine and used to relieve toothaches.

Jet was a popular stone of choice for rosaries during the early days of the Catholic Church, and it was believed then that jet can drive away hallucinations and nightmares. During the Middle Ages, it was used in powder form mixed with wax for treatment of delusions, depression, hallucinations, and as a salve for scrofula.

The Metaphysical Properties of Jet

Jet is a powerful protection stone used by modern practitioners to heal many physical, emotional, and spiritual maladies. It is believed that jet can help treat altitude sickness, bacterial and viral infections, as well as a wide array of stomach issues including menstrual cramps. Emotionally, jet is best used in the treatment of irrational fears. Jet is also believed to provide strong psychic and spiritual protection and to possess the ability to remove attachments and release unwanted entities.

In conclusion, jet is an amazing stone deserving of its place in any crystal enthusiast's collection, much like it has been since ancient times.