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Friday, 10 December 2010

Bluestone fever hits Japan

















Those good ol' healin' bluestones.... what would we do without 'em?

A company that makes silver jewellery containing pieces of "bluestone" (for which read "dolerite") is making rather lavish predictions that it will sell £10 million-worth of its products in Japan next year, on the basis that the rock has healing or sacred properties.  Well, best of luck to Colin Shearing and his colleagues, and all credit to them for as fine a piece of marketing hype as you are ever likely to see.  It's a tough old business world out there........

But I wish we could have a bit less of the pseudo-science.  Quote: "A  huge demand for “healing” stones from the Welsh mountains that provided the rocks for Stonehenge......"  Hmmm.  For that read "some of the rocks for some of Stonehenge..."
 Quote:  "...cut from the same hills as the rocks of the ancient Wiltshire monument."   Hmmm.  Repeat something often enough and somebody might think it's actually true.
Quote: "... pieces of the local Welsh bluestone – the same as was used to make Stonehenge 5,000 years ago –...."   Hmmm......What was I just saying?
Quote from Colin Shearing: "....they see the stones in the same way as the ancient druids did."  Pardon me, but where did that piece of codswallop come from?  Never mind -- I suppose nobody can prove you wrong!
Quote:  "Mr Shearing heard that the last remaining working quarry for the stone was being closed – and bought the exclusive rights to extract the remaining rocks."  It looks as if the marketing effort is directed at SPOTTED dolerite -- but as far as I know there  never was a working spotted dolerite quarry in North Pembs, and to talk about "exclusive rights" and "the remaining rocks" to maintain the pretence that dolerite is a rare and disappearing asset is truly wonderful!

Quote from Geoff Wainwright:  ".....the so-called healing quality attributed to Preseli bluestone can be traced as far back as the Stone Age. The bluestones came from a crag of rock called Carn Menyn. That rock is surrounded by spring water which has been recognised as a medicinal spring for centuries. We found that they were venerated in prehistoric times and clearly, in our opinion, thought medicinal even then.”  Sorry folks.  Total garbled nonsense from beginning to end, as I have laboriously explained before.

"But we don't want the truth to get in the way of a good marketing opportunity, do we?" as the man from English Heritage probably said.


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‘Healing’ gems from Wales a hit in Japan
 

Dec 10 2010 by Sion Morgan, Western Mail

A HUGE demand for “healing” stones from the Welsh mountains that provided the rocks for Stonehenge could generate millions of pounds thanks to a deal struck with the superstitious Japanese market.

Jewellery business Preseli Bluestone International has seen sales rocket thanks to new distribution arrangements in Asia for their products, which are cut from the same hills as the rocks of the ancient Wiltshire monument.

“At the moment the stones are the fastest selling product of their kind in Japan,” company founder Colin Shearing said.


“The people are going crazy for them and I think it is because they see the stones in the same was as the ancient druids did.

“The Japanese are obsessed with lucky numbers, lucky colours, lucky charms. To them these stone hold a mystical power – we are not just seeing people out there wearing them as a fashion item, we are seeing businessmen wearing them to bring them luck in the running of their companies.”

Mr Shearing began trading after a chance meeting with an elderly sculptor he met while living in Preseli 10 years ago.

The landscape artist and former theatre director set up Preseli Bluestone International after seeing the sculptor carving pieces of the local Welsh bluestone – the same as was used to make Stonehenge 5,000 years ago – and wondering what else could be done with the stone.

Mr Shearing heard that the last remaining working quarry for the stone was being closed – and bought the exclusive rights to extract the remaining rocks. Since then the business, now based in Oxfordshire, has operated as “more or less a cottage industry”, selling its jewellery online and through the English Heritage shop at Stonehenge.

But a recent approach from a Japanese distributor has changed all that.

According to archaeologist Geoffrey Wainwright, president of the Society of Antiquaries, the so-called healing quality attributed to Preseli bluestone can be traced as far back as the Stone Age. “The bluestones came from a crag of rock called Carn Menyn,” he said. “That rock is surrounded by spring water which has been recognised as a medicinal spring for centuries.

“We found that they were venerated in prehistoric times and clearly, in our opinion, thought medicinal even then.”

After a meeting in Tokyo, Mr Shearing has agreed a contract to supply more products made from the stone every month for the next three years at least. The range has also attracted interest from South Korea, a potentially huge market, which will be handled by the company’s Japanese partner. The partner predicts it will do £10m worth of business with the products in Japan alone next year, meaning a potential 40% increase in business.

Designer Rhiannon Evans owner of the jewellery business Rhiannon, based in Tregaron, produces a number of pieces for Preseli Bluestone International.

“It is another example, like Welsh gold, of a product which is made in Wales, by Welsh designers, using a Welsh product,” she said. “That is the thing that makes it so special.”

Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2010/12/10/healing-gems-from-wales-a-hit-in-japan-91466-27800788/#ixzz17iSKdjbb

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

ugh.
I had 80 kilos of Stonehenge rock two metres from my disabled wife and my bed for many months and we are still as bad physically if not slightly worse.

GCU In two minds

BRIAN JOHN said...

Well, in fairness to our jeweller friend he never did claim himself that the stones do anything for you! he just sort of suggested it through his PR hyperbole.........

People are wonderfully gullible. In the Middle Ages there was a roaring trade in healing stones of all sorts, and some charlatans made a very good living out of selling them. Nothing much changes....

Anonymous said...

As Designer Rhiannon Evans of Tregaron says (end of original post) about bluestone: "It is another example, like Welsh gold, of a Welsh product, made by Welsh designers, using a Welsh product. That is the thing that makes it so special."

Bit like Sir Tom Jones of Pontypridd, I suppose. Hewn out of the Welsh mines, what a hero!

BRIAN JOHN said...

It's all part of a good long tradition. Sir Tom has no doubt healed a few troubled souls in his time........