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Bronze Age Jet Jewellery

Throughout the Bronze Age there was no large-scale jet production, but rather a small ornament and jewellery trade taken up by individual craftsmen working either alone or in small numbers. The items being crafted were of small volume but sufficient enough for today’s archaeologists to occasionally find in graves, hillocks, or mounds of earth intended as repositories for the dead.

It is known that jet from the North Yorkshire coast did travel quite extensively around Britain. It was likely distributed by merchants selling items of jewellery or possibly used to barter, as jet was a highly prized material at that time.

The style and manner in which Bronze Age jet was worked followed designs which were fashionable during this period. Often items of jet jewellery found in various spread-out locations look so remarkably similar that it points to being the work of one or a small number of craftsman producing quantities of their signature design. 

In 1929, an important jet necklace was found in Poltalloch, Argyll in Scotland. It was discovered in a burial mound within a cist, which also contained a flint knife, fragments of partially incinerated human bones and teeth, a few small pieces of charcoal, and small lumps of ochre. The Poltalloch necklace and similar fine examples were made solely for the adornments of women and the ladies who owned these magnificent pieces would be revered as people of high rank and importance within their community.