Corsican Stones: tradition and passion perpetuated with ‘Les Pierres de Corse’

1526578_233045703533912_1710805225_n(1)There lies an ongoing fascination where stones are concerned, the reason could spring from the fact that their inertia and endurance surprise, reassure and yet we remain aware that they are belonging to non-living material, although existing in our world, without the need to breathe or manifest a reality. I decided it was high time I looked into this.

Direction: Corsican Stones – ‘Les Pierres de Corse’

A spot in town I have very often viewed, where tones and shapes catch your eye. Intrigued, I decided to find out more.

With twenty years of experience behind him, Jean-Paul Castelli runs two premises, one being in the centre of Ajaccio and the other up in Bastia. It was in 1999 he opened here in Ajaccio, beforehand he had been occupied with fairs, having initially started creating jewellery as of 1978, which was very soon to became a passion. He explained how each region has its own type of granite; granite being the most common, and how it is so important nowadays to purchase in the right places, for imitations are literally everywhere, being imported from Asia. In particular, this concerns the Eyes of St Lucie, which are found only in the Mediterranean and can often be mistaken with Buddha/Shiva eyes; the public must remain on the alert for this ongoing problem.

So, what types of natural stones can we expect to discover ?   10299078_267547576750391_4855902287324966402_n(1)

black diorite (from the Sanguinaires Islands):
this rock forms the mountain range of the islands (100 items in stock)
Orezza green:
a rare, semi-precious stone, also known as ‘Verdi di Corsica’ (400 items)
Porto red:
the granite from Porto is famous mainly because of the ‘calanques’; the red deriving from a strong concentration of potassium feldspar (around 200 items)
Orbicular diorite:
also known as ‘Corsite’ or ‘Napoléonite’; unique, due to the presence of orbicules, and sought after by collectors (just a few, rarer, and chosen items)
Green Stella Serpentine (from the north point of Corsica):
also ‘Verde Stella’ with scattered bursts of green/yellow sparkles (50 items)
Argentella Ryolite:
this rock is magmatic – a mixture of silicates; and apart from  possessing silicates and oxygen, also possesses a number of other components, particularly metals (calcium, sodium, iron and potassium; 50 items)
The Eyes of St Lucie:
mother of pearl named ‘Turbo Rugueux’; very often found on certain beaches, especially after a storm. The white side represents St Lucie’s eyes, whereas the more orange side symbolises the Virgin Mary (500 items)
mineral, plant and animal, the red coral in Greek mythology is considered as Medusa’s blood, after Perseus beheaded her – as she had the power to petrify in the past, red coral was therefore considered to have the medical capacity of coagulating blood (250 items) – added to the above, another green frosted glass stone found on the beaches, therefore more common and forms of olive wood too.
Which sells the best ?

– the Eyes of St Lucie obviously, for this sought after mother of pearl capping of a shell, is reputed to keep the evil eye away – and bring good luck, happiness and prosperity to the wearer.

And the rarest of them all ?

– Orbicular diorite, which is now also protected. The story goes, St Lucie from Tallano used to use it as a magical healer for various types of ailments. It was not a surprise to hear that coral is, of course, the most expensive; 3000e/kilo when bought in its natural state.

Each year, around 50-100 new models are introduced for public appreciation, and note that it takes anything from 10mins to 2h to actually produce an item, with each setting designed by ‘Pierres de Corse’.

Upon request, they do produce pieces from stones at times found by people, here again, using their own settings.  1897751_244525629052586_2008364059_n(1)

In answer to my question: ‘which stone do you yourself prefer ?‘ Mr Castelli personally chooses the Orezza green stone, which is indeed very attractive, and where green is concerned, I always reflect upon the power of serenity and well-being it enables. However, when you are standing in front of and around, various tones and forms, it turns out to be more difficult than expected – which of course is not a complaint. I imagine one item of each would be the best bid !

They cater for international sending by post, and I invite you to check out their site for further details.

1559892_232930126878803_1114001878_n(1)There’s an overpowering sentiment of endurance and capacity of adaptation involved here, and when you are in presence of these noble elements, their influence and purposefulness do not go without being experienced.                  1480495_252597414912074_238699585_n(1)

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