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Blue John Closed Urn

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Blue John Closed Urn

- Item No.

Item Details

  • Height:
    11 5/8 Inches
  • Period:
    19th Century
  • Origin:
This beautiful ornamental urn is carved of rare Blue John Derbyshire spar, taken from the now-extinct Blue John Cavern in Derbyshire, England. Crafted in a classically-inspired shape, this closed urn evokes the classical elegance of the Georgian period. Since the Roman era, Blue John was used to create fine decorative wares. This intriguing stone demands a great deal of skill in its handling and was the material most favored by silversmith Matthew Boulton, especially for the creation of his stoneware vases. A soft and brittle stone, it responds very quickly to heat, and must be carefully dried in order to retain its original color. This urn is wonderful example of Blue John artistry.

Circa 1810

11 5/8" high

Discovered by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, Blue John stone is found only among the caverns of Treak Cliff Hill near Castleton in Derbyshire, England. Celebrated for its unique bands of blues, purples, and violets, Blue John was in great demand during the 18th and early 19th centuries. The colorful and decorative stone was even worked into columns in some of the finest houses in Great Britain, most notably Chatsworth, home of the Duchess of Devonshire. The name 'Blue John' is thought to originate from the French term bleu et jaune, meaning blue and yellow. The largest veins of Blue John had disappeared by the early 19th century and today only two working Blue John Stone mines remain, producing only a miniscule amount of the precious stone. The small amount that remains is buried in the veins of limestone which reside deep within Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Cavern. Only 0.25 tons of the stone is extracted annually, and is sparingly reserved for small objects and jewelry.

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Price: $24,500
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