Published May 2014  •  Updated July 2022  •  Read Time: 7 minutes
Jet is a rare organic gem created by a combination of biological and geological processes.  It was originally an evergreen tree that lived millions of years ago, that decomposed under high pressures.  While Petrified Wood literally crystalizes, Jet does not.  Instead, it becomes a mineraloid, a mineral-like substance, but not an actual mineral.  Jet is a type of low-ranking coal, similar to the ligmite coal that fuels electric power plants.  But unlike other varieties of coal, it can take a beautiful polish and is easy to carve making it one of the earliest stones used in jewelry.  Jet is a soothing stone for anyone who is grieving.  Its energy helps us to be kinder to our broken heart and to find stability again.


Jet Meaning

Spiritual Healing Properties

Jet is a stone for Old Souls, those individuals who are born with an innate wisdom and common sense that transcends their actual age. However, it also helps cultivate these traits in the Young Souls, those who are still at the beginning of their spiritual journey. Jet offers protection during psychic travel and spiritual rituals, and can be used to keep the Dark Forces at bay. It awakens the Kundalini serpent and Shakti energy, and encourages this fiery power to move upward towards the crown and lead us to Enlightenment. It helps us to recognize our own unique brand of magic and to use it for the benefit of both our spiritual and earthly life.

Metaphysical Properties Jet
Chakra Root
Element Earth
Numerology 8
Zodiac Capricorn

Emotional Healing Properties

Jet is an exceptional grounding stone which also lifts us up emotionally. It draws out negative energy that has gotten stuck in our emotional body and also helps us to work through any confusing emotions we are struggling with. Jet helps us to look calmly at our own fears and to assess whether or not those fears have any basis in reality. If they are deemed “real” fears, then Jet helps us to see a clear path forward, so we know can plan our response if the worst comes to pass. Jet is traditionally used for mourning and can offer comfort after the death of a loved one. It encourages us to see what lessons we can learn from every experience, both those which are happy and those which are less than ideal.

Mental Healing Properties

Jet encourages us to step into our personal power and take control of our own life. It helps us to honestly assess ourselves and our actions, and to acknowledge our shortcomings and celebrate our gifts. Jet encourages us to stop trying to cultivate “self-esteem” which requires constant successes in order to be maintained, and instead cultivate “self-kindness” which imbues us with grace and dignity, regardless of life’s ups and downs. Jet stabilizes finances and reminds us to save more money, for rainy days as well as for sunny ones!

Physical Healing Properties

Jet is recommended when we are feeling physically ill partially due to emotional situations.  For example, if we are sick and weak from grief or if our immune system is overstimulated because of stress.  Jet helps us to work through the emotional issues gently and thoroughly so that our physical body can return to its normal state of wellbeing. If we frequently suffer from headaches or stomach cramping, Jet helps us to explore our emotional and physical habits and see if there are reasonable adjustments that we can make.  It offers sweet grounding so that we don’t let our fears run away with us, imagining worst case scenarios or believing that pain is permanent.  Jet helps us to be sensible and to take good care of ourselves on all levels.

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Jet Mineralogy

Where does Jet come from?

The most important Jet deposit is located in Whitby, England. Additional deposits are located in France, Germany, India, Poland, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the United States.

Mining and Treatments

Typically mined from the primary deposits which still have their original relationship with the host rock. The mines at Whitney have all been closed, but Jet is still harvested on the beaches by dedicated rock-hounds.

There is a great deal of imitation Jet on the market, most of it plastic or glass. Plastic Jet is usually apparent from a close visual examination. Glass can be more tricky, but the easiest way to check is that glass is slightly cool to the touch, while natural Jet is warm. Furthermore, Jet is exceptionally lightweight, far lighter than glass.

Jet Placeholder

Mineral Family

Jet is one of the few “organic gems” created by biological processes, rather than geological ones. Other Organic Gems include Amber, Coral, Petrified Wood, Shell, Shungite and Pearl. Jet is technically a “mineraloid” a mineral-like substance that does demonstrate crystallinity.

Jet’s energy works well with its family – other organic minerals. Try it in combination with Amber, Coral, ShellShungite, and Pearl

Jet Formation and Crystal Associates

Jet is a type of lignite, or coal, which was formed when ancient evergreen trees that decomposed under high pressure.  A variety of different tree species have been identified.  The tree responsible for creating Whitby Jet was a member of the Araucaria family, similar to the modern Monkey Puzzle Tree (also known as the Chilean Pine).  This same tree is one of the species that is responsible for creating Amber in several locations around the world.  Jet is the lowest form of coal and much softer than the Anthracite coal that is mined in Appalachia. There are two main types of Jet. The hard varieties, like those found in Whitby, England, were formed by carbon pressure and salt water.  The soft variety, by contrast, is more common and was formed by carbon pressure and fresh water.

Jet’s energy works well with its “friends” – crystal associates formed in the same geological environment.  Try it in combination with Pyrite

Mineralogy Jet
Chemical Formula Various
Cleavage None
Color Black
Crystal System None
Form/Habit Amorphous
Fracture Conchoidal
Hardness – Mohs Scale 2.5
Luminescence None
Luster Velvety to waxy
Mineral Family Organic Gem
Specific Gravity 1.34
Streak Black, brown-black
Transparency Opaque

History of Jet

Jet is one of the oldest gemstones used by mankind, with traditions dating back to far-reaches of prehistory. It was included in many ancient, medieval, and modern lapidaries, texts which describe gemstones and their powers.  Jet has been found in many prehistoric sites, from Switzerland to the American Southwest, carved into talismans, such as the Venus of Monruz, or carved and drilled as beads. Because Jet, like Amber, is very soft, it is particularly easy to carve and shape. As a result, both these Organic Gemstones were very popular among prehistoric man wherever they were found, often washing up on beaches after a storm.

It is an Organic Gemstone, created from highly pressurized evergreen wood, and will occasionally have wood-like markings running across its surface. While younger than most mineral gemstones, it is the oldest of the Organic gems, and has been dated as far back as the mid-Jurassic Period (201-145 million years ago).  Jet is synonymous with the color black, but it can also be dark brown and may even include Pyrite inclusions which give it a metallic luster.  In the oldest lapidaries, this gem is called Gagates, which is the Greek name for a fabled river which the black gem supposed originated from. The name evolved over time from Gagates, to the French Jaiet, and finally to the English Jet.

Jet was well known to Greek and Roman writers. The Greek physician and poet Nicander (2nd century BCE) claimed that burning Jet inside a home would cleanse it from the plague. Two centuries later, the Roman historian and naturalist, Pliny the Elder (CE 23-79) listed numerous medicinal uses for this black mineral. He stated that it could be used to cure epilepsy and toothaches, and also made a vague reference that Jet could be used to determine whether or not a person was a virgin. Galen (CE 129-216), another Greek philosopher and physician, took his study of Jet a step further. He attempted to find the mythical river of Gagates without success. He did however, find a small Jet deposit near the Dead Sea and used it to cure his swollen knees.

While Jet is found in numerous locations worldwide, the most famous deposit is the one just offshore of Whitby, England. Evidence of gem mining in the region dates as far back as 1500 BCE, and the English gemstone was an important export during the Roman Era as well as during the Viking Period. Since the Victorian Era, Jet has been closely linked to death and grieving. Queen Victoria (1819-1901) spent almost 40 years in mourning after losing her husband, and during that time period wore black exclusively, including a tremendous amount of Jet jewelry. Today the Whitby mines are closed, but Jet can still be gathered legally by scouring the beaches. The actual deposit is on a shelf below the water, approximately a mile away from shore. Storms violently knock against the shelf, breaking up the stone and washing pieces onto the beach, sometimes already polished and tumbled by the waves.

One of the more intriguing stories about this gemstone is it’s possible link to the Anatolian Mother-Goddess Cybele. This complex and demanding deity was an Earth Goddess and Mother Goddess, linked to ecstatic rites and wild public rituals. She was also represented by a variety of black stones, including Jet, which was widely worn by her devoted followers. Cybele was worshiped throughout the Mediterranean, and eventually her reach extended across the entire Roman Empire, including Britain.

Cybele’s male priesthood proved their devotion to the Goddess by castrating themselves, and wearing women’s clothing. This sacrifice mimicked the castration of Cybele’s husband/son Attis, who was so ashamed at having betrayed Cybele with a mortal woman that he cut off his own genitals. In another myth, Attis died in an accident, but was later resurrected, a situation that allowed Cybele to play the role of the grieving mother/wife. In 2002, archaeologists working in Yorkshire, England announced they had found the skeleton of one of Cybele’s priests. Known as Skeleton 952, he was buried wearing a decadent three-strand necklace of Jet. The skeleton also carried two round pieces of Jet in his mouth, which theoretically symbolized his lost manhood which might be returned to him in the afterlife!