Friday, July 31, 2009


Demijohns have made the rounds through the blogsphere lately and I thought I would educate myself a bit more on where they came from. I’m glad I did. I am eager to use these in some of my room designs.

The word demijohn was taken from the French, Dame Jeanne, meaning Lady Jane.

In Britain, demijohn refers to a one-gallon glass brewing vessel.

In Southeast U.S. slang, a demijohn jug, of any size, is referred to as a jimmyjohn.

The shape of the demijohn can be ovoid, kidney, cylindrical, round, teardrop, apple and heart shaped. The sizes vary from a few ounces to twenty gallons or more. The very large containers are called carboys.

The original purpose of the demijohn was for transport and storage of bulk liquids.

The demijohns were usually wrapped in wicker to protect them from breakage during shipping. Today, however, most demijohns have had their wicker removed to better reveal their color and shape.

Three color variations of the demijohn.

From the European Antique Market's website. These demijohn’s have been used for candles and the wax has dropped down the sides. Lovely!


Jayson Home and Garden has an antique green demijohn that sells for $125.00.

Fill one up and put your favorite branches or flowers in it.

Hommage A Pluton by Églantine.


19th Century Demijohn



Set of three antique demijohns from Alhambra Antiques


25” tall demijohn! $300 from

Portfolio Image

Here, designer Steven Gambrel uses a demijohn on the coffee table in this Dunes house. Although they kind of get lost because of the clear glass. I think a colored (perhaps blue like the lamp behind the sofa) would stand out much better.


A shop in Paris with demijohns hanging. From the blog A Brooklyn Limestone in Progress.


Demijohns shown on a furniture project from the blog Design Sponge.

Now for the fun part….

I was just at Homegoods near my home doing some shopping for a client when whaddayaknow… Demijohns in all shapes, sizes and colors…. I couldn’t resist. They are very good quality and at $19.99 a piece, I had to pick up a few.

My digital camera is on loan this week, so I can’t show you my great find… but I will soon!

Note…. I’m off to Catalina Island for a few days, so I won’t have an updated post for you for about 10 days! Hang in there with me, as I have an incredible interview and giveaway coming up! Here’s a hint… it’s all about junk!


Blushing hostess said...

I come across them in books every now and then and meant to dig around, thank you for doing so on our collective behalf!

Blushing hostess said...

I come across them in books every now and then and meant to dig around, thank you for doing so on our collective behalf!

Blushing hostess said...

I come across them in books every now and then and meant to dig around, thank you for doing so on our collective behalf!

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Interesting and illuminating post on the cool design trend! Have a great trip!

alice said...

Oh, I love these. So interesting to know their history now... thanks for sharing!

for the love of a house said...

I love demi-johns! Have decorated with them for years- both the wicker wrapped and the plain glass. Have a large one as a lamp in my living room. Thanks for the history on them!

LindsB said...

love those- they are so pretty and I just love how big some of them are.

Have fun in Catalina Island and I cant wait to see your pics when you get back :)

Tracy @ comfortandluxury said...

Thanks for the education! I knew I liked them but had no real idea of their origins. I picked up two fairly large bottle green demijohns in different shapes at HomeGoods for a client last spring. She uses them on the sideboard in her dining room and is filling one with wine corks. She says visitors always comment on them and if I say so myself, they do look pretty fantastic!

Slices of Beauty... said...

Demijohns beauty!
Lovely post.

The Consummate Hostess said...

How wonderful to learn the history behind these delightful pieces. Thank you!

Renae said...

You taught me something new....thanks! I do like these and the ones with the drippings, very unusual and pretty. Great post.

Mrs. Limestone said...

I had no idea thats what these are called. They are really cool to look at but what does one do with them?

maureen @ The Inglenook Decor said...

Clueless me , I didn't even know these are called demijohns, I simply called them glass vases. I guess in the same way I didn't know that jars with a faucet are called samovars. Thanks for enlightening me!

SamiG said...

I love demijohns too. I am so sad we don't have a Homegoods nearby. :(

Thank you for adding me to your blog roll and you are now on mine. I love your blog by the way!


marina said...

I ask that you kindly acknowledge the source of your images out of courtesy to the many dealers and collectors who haven taken the time to photograph these images!

You have three images that you have borrowed from me.

Marina Anderson

DesignTies said...

I LOVE these bottles! The hunt is on now to find one (or more!) for my home!!
Victoria @ DesignTies

Mamie said...


I see this post is from last year, but I'm hoping you will get this. I have been looking for a large green demijohn much like this one
for about ten years now. My parents had one that made it through 4 kids until I came along and broke it as a child. I have been looking for one similar to purchase as a gift for my father, but cannot find one I can afford. They have recently had some in pottery barn, and but you cannot choose the size and color, and I have not had much luck there. I am hoping you will know where I can find one like this. It doesn't have to be a 19th Century French one, I would be happy with a replica. I just hope to find one that resembles the one my parents had. Do you happen to know of anywhere I could find one for a reasonable price?

Rebecca@Harmony and Home said...


Thank you for your comment. I have a few links on this post, such as Jayson Home and Garden and Rubylane where you may be able to find what you are looking for. Of course, I'm sure you googled "demijohn bottles". You can try to get more specific in your google search, such as "demijohn, blue, 19"" and see if that results in anything. I would also try, ebay and craigslist. Good luck!