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Blue John is a rare mineral found at only one location in the world. The name Blue John derives from the French Bleu Jaune meaning Blue Yellow. It is a form of fluor spar and was discovered as miners were exploring the cave systems of Castleton for lead.
Nowadays, the caves of Castleton are magnificent show caves and are some of the most popular tourist attractions in Derbyshire. Of the four show caves only Treak Cliff and, to a lesser extent, Blue John have veins of Blue John. Treak Cliff Cavern still mines about 500 kilograms of Blue John each year. The veins of Blue John are easy to see and many of the formations are well lit. Blue John is a semiprecious stone and give Castleton its nickname of'Gem of the Peaks'.
Fluorite (the old miners' name for which was Fluorspar) often forms in cubic crystals and is usually grey, yellow or purple in colour. It used to be mined mainly for iron smelting but now has many other uses including toothpaste. One form unique to Castleton is banded purple and yellow or grey and is known as Blue John.
Banded Blue John fluorite has be worked into ornaments since 1750 and there are about 14 categories of banding patterns. A goblet, made, by the craftsman Edward Leonard Fisher, sold at Christies of London in 1998 for £3,000.
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Should you decline to comply with this warning, a leather winged demon of the night will soar from the deep malevolent caverns of the white peak into the shadowy moonlit sky and, with a thirst for blood on its salivating fangs, search the very threads of time for the throbbing of your heartbeat. Just thought you'd want to know that.