Many years ago I lived on the Channel Island of Guernsey with my parents. Whilst there I came across an amazingly beautiful stone which we all called Sark Stone. I remember one jeweller in town who had a massive piece in the window surrounded by a vast quantity of sark stone jewellery. Sark stone is the colloquial name given to a form of quartz, similar to amethyst that used to be found on the island of Sark. Due to over zealous collectors the resource is now completely exhausted.
The island is one of the last bastions of feudalism. It is most famous for its enchanting and relaxed pace of life. Sark enables you to step back in time – a visit here is like no other. Sark is the smallest of the four main islands that make up the Channel Islands which are situated some 80 miles of the coast of southern England. No cars are allowed only a tractor to haul goods up the steep incline from the harbour. Bicycles are readily for hire on the island otherwise you have to use your legs to get around! The current Monseigneur of the Island has to be able to provide to the crown a total of 40 able bodied men to serve the monarchy. The Channel Islands have belonged to the Crown since the time of William the Conqueror when they formed part of the Duchy of Normandy. In the 13th Century, they were retained by King John when the rest of Normandy was lost to the French. In 1565, Queen Elizabeth I granted Sark to Helier de Carteret as a 'fief haubert' and the island's unique status has remained the same ever since. Today, Sark holds the last remaining feudal constitution in the Western world; neither part of the United Kingdom nor European Union, yet not a sovereign state either. The Seigneur holds the island from the Monarch in perpetuity, and governs in conjunction with Chief Pleas, the island's parliament.
Sark, with no airstrip, no motor cars or tarmac roads and with personal transport limited to foot or bicycle remains the least affected by modern life amongst all the Channel Islands. Oh, you can use the horse drawn carriages which travel between the harbour and the little town. So, yes, as I said you are stepping back in time when you visit.
Anyway back to the Sark stone. I knew that the stone was now scarce if impossible to source on the island. However, once I did a little research on the Internet I found that this stone could be found in Brazil. So, that was that.
Now, we come to the exciting bit, for me anyway! You may remember we were on holiday in Spain a little while ago? Well, on arrival at the property my eyes nearly fell out of their sockets, as they say. Everywhere, on the steps leading up to the front door, around the swimming pool and even incorporated in as a feature in a wall, I saw Sark stone!
This was just amazing! I had not seen this stone since, oh must have been, mid 1970s.
So, you can imagine, I had to find out where on earth the owner of the property had been able to find this stone and, so much of it too!
Turns out that he had been involved in some construction work and whilst organising some transportation of pallets to Brazil he had approached his boss to ask if he could fill up the empty pallets which were being returned to Spain? It was agreed and soon after a large amount of 'Sark ' stone was uplifted and brought to this guys house in Spain. He soon realised how excited I was. I explained how I knew about it and then he very kindly offered to cut some for me to take home as a souvenir of our stay in Mijas. After deciding the size and the practicalities of carrying a piece on Easyjet on our flight home I simply asked for a small piece the size of which would fit into the palm of my hand.
Isn't it amazing what can happen when you least expect it and also the generosity of folk.