Classic Style Using Authentic Treasures

It's all about living an AUTHENTIC life, being true to who we are and finding beauty and inspiration in our daily surroundings. Decorating our homes with found items and antique and vintage treasures, we create a personal ~ classic style ~ that defines who we are!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Atlanta Antique Porcelain Marbles

Atlanta, Georgia was an exciting place
to be during the planning stages of the 1996 Olympics.

So much construction went on around town,
it was hard to keep up with it all.

While removing masonry remnants 
of an early 19th Century building,
crews uncovered thousands 
of pre-civil war era marbles
from an old cistern 
located in what remained 
of the building's basement.

 After researching the location,
they found that the building had been a
marble factory from 1820-1837.


They are solid marble
 with a porcelain coat. 
Handmade from marble chunks, 
they were dropped down a brick column resembling a shot tower.
The action of rolling and bouncing 
against the sides of the tower 
 shaped them into rough symmetrical spheres.
They were covered in kaolin clay, 
painted,and then some 
were glazed, then fired.
No two are alike. 
Some have a glazed sheen
and many have a flat finish.

The green and cobalt blue
marbles are the rarest!
In fact, variation is part of their charm.

Remaining marble stock
 was stored in the basement
of the building after the business closed.

 The building was burned
just before Christmas, 1864
by Sherman's troops 
immediately following the battle of Atlanta, 
during the Civil War.

 A series of other buildings were
later erected over the basement and foundation
where the marbles were stored.

And stayed there ~ 
until they were discovered in 1995,
by a Mr. J. Kirkland of Harriman, Tennessee,
during Olympic construction
and sold to Georgians and tourists during
the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

Mr. Harriman sold batches
of marbles to several antique
shops in Atlanta and around Georgia.

My mother, at the time,
managed an antique
shop here in Dahlonega, Georgia
and was lucky enough to 
purchase several jars of the marbles
from the shop inventory.

She gave a jar to each one of her children.

Between 1996 and 1997, 
the remaining stock was sold 
in its entirety,
to Mr. Charles Stewart of
Attic Treasures Antiques 
of Watkinsville, Georgia.

In fact, Mr. Stewart traveled
around Georgia and purchased 
all of what was left from the
other antique shops.

He is now the only source
of what remains.

I had the pleasure of
speaking with Mr. Stewart
this morning and hearing his story!

He still has some in stock
and sells them 
if you are interested! 

The price is based on 
quantity purchased!

You may reach him at

He sends them all over the world! 

You never know what surprise 
you might find
on a picking excursion!

Keep your eyes open! 

There have been thousands of
Atlanta Marbles sold for years,
or you can just visit 
Attic Treasures 
and buy a piece of Atlanta history!!

Live Authentically! ~ Be the Real You!


LaPouyette said...

Love it Martha !!!!

Have not seen this kind of marbles before in my life, just wonderful!

Happy Sunday my Dear,

MEM said...

What an interesting story and what beautiful marbles! Whenever I have read about old buildings being torn down I wonder about the history that is lost. Thanks for sharing this story!

Anonymous said...

I also purchased 5 marbles from someone who found them from the attic treasures...Joann & Charles Stewart...I paid $100...I have now read alot about the whole olympic digging story is bogus... how can I tell if mine are real?

Anonymous said...

Well after further study the whole story is bogus it was made up by Kirkland just to be able to sell them to antique stores from W.Viginia, Georgia, Carolinas, etc... there never was a Alanna marble company in 1820 as a matter fact Indians lived on the land back then and Atlanta was barely a town...I also read where he told antique stores that he personally Dug them from the stern of a sunken ship... I've seen them a cheap as 2.50 a piece.

Most people who buy these are because they're new and ignorant about the marbles as like me.

Martha at Authentica said...

Dear Mr. Aune - please be aware that Atlanta was a bustling city even with a mojor rail road depot, known as Terminus. If you google images of Pre-Civil war Terminus you will be amazed at the size of the city! If you had done your research you would have found that Atlanta had over 3000 citizens, 500 slaves and was a well built metropolis with homes and multi-story buildings. Regarding the marbles - I know I was given mine in 1996 and do not discount the marbles do not look anything like the glazed swirled marbles that came out years later as reproductions. And had you also done your homework, you would have found that the marbles currently sold in Watkinsville, Georgia have been and are currently sold at $2.50 each (for years)! Just because you were duped does not mean the marbles are fake! I guess the only way to truly know, would be to have carbon dating done on one of the marbles sold in Watkinsville...I suggest you take a trip to Attic Antiques and see them for yourself...a huge jug sits in his shop with a sign that says $2.50 each....I would also go back to whomever you purchased yours from and ask for a refund....

Kit said...

It sure is funny that we find these same Marbles here in Missouri at every Antique shops that you go into.... Even back in the 2000s there was a Kansas City Rock Shop selling them also!
Having heard from several local Marble experts have told me the story was an Bogus one with Mr. J. Kirkland finding them in 1995 in Atlana!
But who I am! I am not an Expert, but to collect Marbles since 1999! Do find it odd that these Marbles are found in Missouri! A long way from Atlana!
Thanks for letting me comment.
Chris Cooper

Kit said...

P.S. I do believe Steve Anue story! It sounds more Real and true to me than anyone else I have ever heard about these Marbles... I do Research a lot on Historical subjects from around the USA! I am retired Archaeologist and I am thinking the fact of doing sometype of Testing would tell maybe the Truth! I don't think that an Carbon 14 testing would work for they would have to be really Old, thousands at least!

As now or before, please forgive me for my Spelling or sentences that may be writting wrong!

Thanks Again for letting me commenting here!
Chris Cooper

Kit said...

Please forgive me for spelling Atlanta wrong!

Martha at Authentica said...

Dear Chris,
Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. My blog is meant for reading enjoyment, I am not a scientist nor a historian. I choose to believe they are authentic aged marbles. As far as your comment about finding them elsewhere, I am sure Georgia was not the only location in the 1800's to produce marbles. This was just one location which made sense since Georgia has large marble veins and has quarried it for centuries. The photos I have seen of the fakes do look very different from the ones I own. Believe it or not, that is your opinion...we will have to agree to disagree.

Fla Gator Girl said...

My daughter bought me some of these about 18 years ago in an antique shop in Mississippi. They are a treasure.

Anonymous said...

Purchased a pretty purple one yesterday when we visited Mr. Stewart's Antique store during the Watkinsville Fall Festival.

I will carry it in my pocket for good luck and I'm proud as a peacock to hold a piece of history in my hand.


Unknown said...

My mother bought me a jar of them when she was passing through Atlanta in 1996. I still have them. I enjoy their antiquity.