Friday, February 8, 2013
Not Even for Marvelous Blue John
So what is Blue John, you might ask? It sounds as if it’s the title of a child’s nursery rhyme or maybe the horse that won at Ascot in 1815, doesn’t it? It’s actually a unique type of fluorspar or fluorite, found only a particular area of Derbyshire. The name is thought to be a corruption of the French words for blue and yellow, bleu and jaune. Bands of purple, blue, gray, and yellow run through the semiprecious stone in swirls, making each stone also unique. And when fired to a certain temperature, the stone can turn red or pink.
Blue John is mined from limestone caverns in the hillsides. It’s relatively easy to dig out and shape it into vases, candlesticks, jewelry, and cups or bowls. Beginning in the 1750s, it was very popular with aristocratic families.
So what did I do with such a wonderful stone in my current work in progress? Fashion it into a ring for my hero to present to my heroine? Create a set of goblets with which they could toast their love? Light a romantic dinner with Blue John candlesticks?
Nah. I sent my couple tramping through the cavern, where my hero was promptly pushed over a cliff. But not by the heroine. Though she did help rescue him.
Yes, I know. I’m hopeless. My agent keeps telling me I need to write a straight romance, no evil villains, no mystery or suspense. I can’t do it. Not even with all that lovely Blue John to tempt me.