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Page last updated at 16:36 GMT, Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Stonehenge stones exported to Japan in large quantities

Stonehenge, Wiltshire
The Japanese believe that Stonehenge's bluestone hosts the spirit of Merlin

Large quantities of Stonehenge stone are being purchased by the Japanese market.

The Welsh bluestone which was used to build the ancient monument 5,000 years ago, is found in a remote area of Pembrokeshire.

The only company in the world licensed to extract and supply the stone is Preseli Bluestone Ltd.

"What I have is exclusivity to use the stone," said spokesman Colin Shearling.

"All the stone that's out there - all over the world - comes from us."

The small company secured the rights to legally quarry limited quantities of Preseli Bluestone 10 years ago.

Now it is the sole supplier of Bluestone jewellery and artefacts to the English Heritage gift shop at Stonehenge for tourists wanting to "own a piece of genuine Stonehenge."

"It's a beautiful stone but nobody knew or realised that it could be polished or was so pretty," said Mr Shearling.

Preseli Bluestone
The polished bluestone looks like "a starry night sky"

"When it's dressed and polished to reveal its beauty - it looks like a starry night sky."

For the Japanese the blue-grey, blue-green bluestone flecked with crystals is a revered stone.

"It's a very magical and healing thing to them," added Mr Shearling.

"Every single stone has a character and carries a spirit and the bluestone is believed to host the spirit of Merlin.

"The Japanese hold Stonehenge and our stones in great esteem."

With the help of the UK Trade and Industry (UKTI), Mr Shearling is now exporting his Stonehenge stone to the far east.

"They approached me and said we'd like to have some of your stone," continued Mr Shearling.

"They use it to make jewellery - power bracelets - and market it as part of crystal healings kits.

"The Japanese market has literally doubled our turnover and there's interest from South Korea, which is potentially a huge market.

"There is a finite amount [of stone] but I think we've got enough for the next 100 years."




SEE ALSO
Preseli Bluestones and Swansea
25 Jan 10 |  TV & Radio
Stonehenge 'older than believed'
09 Oct 08 |  Wiltshire
Proposals to recreate Stonehenge
09 May 06 |  Wiltshire
Stonehenge quarry site 'revealed'
24 Jun 05 |  South west
100-ton stone astounds academics
17 Apr 03 |  Wiltshire

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