A collection of china made from a rare semi-precious mineral is to be sold at auction today.
The rare pieces are believed to be part of the largest collection of Blue John items in Britain, with 250 pieces in total. Included in the collection is an 18th century urn, which has connections to Matthew Boulton, a Birmingham industrialist.
The mineral was discovered by the Romans over 2,000 years ago, and since the 18th century has been mined and used to make precious pieces. Blue John became fashionable during the 18th century and was used to craft a variety of items, from jewellery to urns and bowls, which were highly sought after.
The collection contains various pieces, including cups, vases and small bowls, with the estimated value starting at £30 and reaching £30,000. Examples of items made from the mineral can be found in various stately homes, which includes Chatsworth, which is in Derbyshire. This is also where a new vein of Blue John has been discovered, at Treak Cliff in Castleton.
According to an expert in fine art from Fellows Auctioneers, Mark Huddleston, there are a number of legends, which surround the mineral, including one that originates from the Romans. The Romans believed that a person who drank wine from a chalice made from Blue John, could not become intoxicated. Items that are bought at the auction would look particularly attractive displayed in an antique cabinet, perhaps in a room that is adorned with 18th century antique furniture.
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