What’s jet black anyway?

By , Sep 28, 2016

iPhone 7 plus back side

Apple’s new jet black iPhone 7 is what I believe to be the flagship finish for this year’s iPhone. This is the one that Apple features in most of its promo materials, and I assume this is the one Jony Ive is carrying right now in his man purse, along with early prototypes of the iPhone 8.

Getting that gorgeous glossy finish isn’t exactly an easy process. According to Apple, “the new jet black finish is accomplished through an innovative nine-step process of anodization and polish for a uniform, glossy finish, achieving its beautiful, high-gloss black finish even required a new process.”

But what is jet black anyway?

Surprisingly, jet black isn’t some sort of marketing gimmick made up by Apple. It also has nothing to do with jets/airplanes, as I’ve seen it alluded to before.

According to Wikipedia:

Jet is a type of lignite, a precursor to coal, and is considered to be a minor gemstone. Jet is not considered a true mineral, but rather a mineraloid as it has an organic origin, being derived from decaying wood under extreme pressure. […]

Jet is either black or dark brown, but may contain pyrite inclusions, which are of brassy colour and metallic lustre. The adjective “jet-black”, meaning as dark a black as possible, derives from this material. […]

Jet is a product of high pressure decomposition of wood from millions of years ago, commonly the wood of trees of the family Araucariaceae. Jet is found in two forms, hard and soft. Hard jet is the result of the carbon compression and salt water; soft jet is the result of the carbon compression and fresh water.

In short, jet is a minor gemstone made of decaying wood that has been subjected to extreme pressure. The color “jet black” gets its name from this material and generally means the darkest possible black, which the iPhone 7 seems to live up to.

Over the centuries, jet has mostly been used to make jewelry, as seen on this brooch from the 19th century.

black brooch

The more you know…

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  • Favna

    Very interesting article. Thanks for enlightening us Sébastien!

  • Ds

    and in the case of it being on a iPhone… it scratches very easily. I put a screen protector alignment tool for the 6+ on my Jet black 7+ and actually ended up scuffing the edges very slightly. Not enough that anyone will notice but enough that I know they are there. Oh well still a great looking color and phone.

  • Stefano


  • techfreak23

    Can’t believe an article was written about the color… smdh

    • Soory if you felt it was a waste of your time reading it, i found it interesting too that it’s based off of a real color to begin with.

      • techfreak23

        Well you must not have been all that interested if it took until just now for you to realize what the color was based off of.

      • Julio Hernandez

        Not all of us research the origins or history of a color. I knew none of this info until now. I mean not to be a dick but if you don’t find an article interesting then don’t read it y’know? It’s kind of stupid to waste your time.

      • You’re right, sometimes things aren’t important or interesting until someone else brings it to your attention… Isn’t that what this blog is for anyway? It’s full of toturials and articles that don’t pertain to everyone but someone will be interested and read it anyway…

      • edwilk55

        Wrong reply

    • edwilk55

      I enjoyed the read. And why not? It’s a blog. Start your own and post the articles you deem fit for reading. Problem solved.

  • AMB_07

    Jet Black: Gorgeous to look at, a nightmare to actually use.

    • Rowan09


  • Jamessmooth

    I will now share this article with my friends on iMessage and say “the more you know” with the shooting star effect (screen). Kudos Sebastian!

  • Agneev Mukherjee
    • You are such a downer. Man, do you ever have something positive or at least not sarcastic to say?

      Every one of your comment is nitpicking, mocking, doubting, disagreeing, or just about anything without one bit of positivity. It’s getting old fast.

      My advice going forward is that if you don’t have anything interesting to say, just don’t write a comment.

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        That means a lot coming from you, I’m sorry if I’ve done something wrong.

      • Fyouchubbykid

        I agree with Sebastien here. I’ve been noticing your comments here which is pure trolling to say the least. You lousy sack of crap go make your own blog instead of commenting bull. Disgusting filthy kid, you need to grow up really fast or you’ll remain the lump of lard that you are. Go screw yourself.

      • Agneev Mukherjee


      • Fyouchubbykid

        Anything wrong with what I wrote you stupid moron?

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        Yes, you prick

      • Fyouchubbykid

        Go fcuk yourself you lousy chubby piece of shiit. You deserve to be beaten with a broom because your lousy parents taught you to be a lousy lardass troll like them. They empty garbage cans into their mouths and it’s no surprise that a product like you were born.

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        This is what your parents taught you.

      • Fyouchubbykid

        Why’d you stop trolling, is it time to scavenge more garbage trucks?