Friday, December 17, 2010


Several reasons to like Whitby in North Yorkshire, England:

Whitby Abbey The ruins of a 7th c. monastery (1st image, in undated antique postcard) that inspired Bram Stoker's gothic masterpiece Dracula and some spooky photographs by Simon Marsden (2nd image).

Fossils Whitby is known for its fossils, which you can dig out of the cliffs yourself. The ammonites (4th image) were known as snakestones because it was believed that the shells were actually coiled snakes that St. Hilda (c. 614-680) had turned to stone and cast out to sea.

Jet This black stone has been worked since the bronze age. Whitby is known for it (5th image, antique Whitby jet broach), and imitations just didn't stand up. Commercial mining for jet in Whitby dates back to the early 19th c., and it is widely associated with Victorian mourning jewelry.

The bonus today is the 3rd image that unites all 3 themes: a model of (a complete) Whitby Abbey carved from Whitby jet, which is in fact the fossilized wood of the monkey puzzle tree. And thanks to follower Carrie I now have my own raw sample straight from the source!

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