We present optical UBVRI photometric and spectroscopic data of the Type Ibn supernova SN 2006jc, until the onset of the dust-forming phase. The optical spectrum shows a blue continuum and is dominated by the presence of moderately narrow (velocity ∼2500 km s-1) He i emission lines superimposed over a relatively weak supernova spectrum. The helium lines are produced in a pre-existing He-rich circumstellar shell. The observed helium line fluxes indicate the circumstellar shell is dense, with a density of ∼10 9-1010 cm-3. The helium mass in this shell is estimated to be ≲0.07 M⊙. The optical light curves show a clear signature of dust formation, indicated by a sharp decrease in the magnitudes around day 50, accompanied by a reddening of the colours. The evolution of the optical light curves during the early phase and that of the uvoir bolometric light curve at all phases is reasonably similar to normal Ib/c supernovae.
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