A new vein of Blue John discovered in a Derbyshire cavern has been named after the miner who found it.
Gary Ridley, mine manager at the Treak Cliff Cavern in Castleton, ‘couldn’t believe his eyes’ after uncovering the first new vein of the rock in 150 years.
The cavern is the only place still actively mining the rare stone and Mr Ridley has been given the honour of having his discovery named after him.
He said: “We were trying out a new method of mining using a stone chainsaw when we discovered the new vein.
“I decided to try the new saw in an area of the cavern we’ve never dug in before.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes when within a few minutes I had uncovered a substantial deposit of Blue John unlike any other vein I had ever seen before.”
Vicky Turner, whose family have owned and managed Treak Cliff Cavern since the 1940s, said: “The discovery of the Ridley Vein is a major new chapter in the story of Blue John Stone.
“It seems fitting to name the new vein after the man who discovered it.
“The new stone type is expected to be a hit with the cavern gift shop visitors.
“The Ridley Vein has beautiful swirling patterns of purple and blue.
“Our stone craftsmen have already started working the new stone into decorative bowls and other pieces which I’m sure will be of great interest.”
The new discovery, which is the 15th type, has excited rock enthusiast Dr Trevor Ford, a retired senior lecturer in geology at Leicester University.
He said: “This is a major new development in the history of Blue John stone.
“Some of the earliest recorded names for Blue John veins go back as far as the 18th century and by Victorian times and the 14 names were well established.”