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Inferior Jet Imports

As the 19th century progressed, the call for Whitby jet jewellery and ornaments continued to be strong, however, there was a worry amongst some jet manufacturers that there was not enough material to meet demands. The eventual result of this was the introduction of foreign jets being imported into England from about the year 1870, most of this foreign jet coming from France and Spain.

The importation of foreign materials was a disastrous move for the jet trade, who naively assumed the public were happy to buy any black jet jewellery. However, only the high-quality jet of Whitby would suffice for the paying customer and this ill-fated move led to a mistrust of what the public were actually buying.

In response, on the 24th June 1890 a meeting was held in Whitby’s Assembly Rooms, which was presided over by E.W. Beckett M.P. The meeting discussed the decline of the industry and a decision was made to form a syndicate whose aim was to protect the jobs of jet workers.

Soon, it was decided that a registered trademark or classification system would be put into place to help restore the jet trade, with an eventual decision on classifications as follows: -

No. A1 Quality, genuine Whitby hard jet.

No. 1 Foreign hard jet.

No. 2 Soft jet.

A trade mark was also set up in the form of a six-pointed star. It is unclear why this symbol was chosen by the jet workers, but it was only applied to qualities No. A1 and No. 1, where the stamp would be visible on brooch pins and other metal fittings.

Additional guarantees were also used in the form of mounting cards and labels, where the words ‘Genuine Whitby Jet’ were written in prime position and/or the registered trademark.

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