Jet vs Anthracite

Incorrect mineral names are passed from miner to buyer to whole seller to you all the time. Many times, it is no ones fault as they are simply passing along the information they received. Let’s look at Jet versus Anthracite to set the record straight.

common misidentification anthracite
Anthracite, cut open

When I was owner of MoonCave Crystals (2002-2008) I frequently offered polished Jet. This matte finished, smooth piece was comforting and grounding in a way no other was. It was soothing and comforting and I cherished my jet palm piece.

When I discovered a new source for Jet, I ordered some right away. It was not easy to come by and I was excited to find it. But when it arrived, I was confused and upset.

What I received were tumbles that were super shiny, not the same matte finish I knew jet to be. They were light weight, much like Jet, but energetically and physically did not feel the same. And yes, I cut one open 🙂

But wait, they are both types of coal, right? Yes. But, if you know me, I am a purest and to be selling something that is not what I considered true Jet, was upsetting to me. So, I dug in and learned as much as I could.

After some research, I discovered that this was a type of coal, but NOT jet. Its true name was Anthracite, but the vendors and many vendors after, were selling it as Jet. Let’s look at both.

Jet

Jet is the product of high-pressure decomposition of wood from millions of years ago, commonly the wood of trees of the family Araucariaceae.

jet

It is amorphous, meaning, it has no crystalline structure. When polished, it has a smooth finish and matte, flat polished look.

Jet is found in two forms, hard and soft. Hard jet is the result of carbon compression and salt water; soft jet is the result of carbon compression and fresh water.

Jet is chemically related to brown coal, or lignite, but Jet is more solid and tough. Jet is a deep brown to dark black, dull/flat, opaque piece (meaning no light can be seen through the piece. 2.5-4 on the Moh’s hardness scale.

Jet is found in several locations around the world, but only the British and Spanish deposits have been worked commercially.
Gemdat.org

Anthracite

Anthracite is another variety of coal, but not the same. It is similar in appearance to the mineraloid jet and is sometimes used as a jet imitation.

anthracite

Often referred to as hard coal, Anthracite is a hard, compact variety of coal that has a sub metallic luster. It has the highest carbon content, the fewest impurities, and the highest energy density of all types of coal and is the highest ranking of coals.

Anthracite differs from ordinary bituminous coal by its greater hardness (2.75–3 on the Moh’s scale), its higher relative density of 1.3–1.4, and luster, which is often semi-metallic with a mildly brown reflection.

It contains a high percentage of fixed carbon and a low percentage of volatile matter. It is also free from included soft or fibrous notches and does not soil the fingers when rubbed.

Anthracite comes from China, France and the US.

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2 Comments

  1. I have a rock that’s shiny black, but is very light. Do you know what that might be? It leaves a very faint mark on white paper as well. I thought originally it was anthracite but it’s so light it leads me to think it’s something else. Any help is appreciated

  2. Hi Matthew, I think you are right. If you want to send a pic to kristihugs@crystalbasics.org that would help me confirm, but it sounds like Anthracite. It is super light!! Crazy light 🙂

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