Mason Jars: The Hidden Killer!

While my plans for dressing up the dinner tables are slowly coming together (thanks to you guys! :) ), I have a solid idea of how I want to decorate the tops of the tables. Like a lot of you, I swoon over aqua-blue mason jars. via twobrides

Since our venue doesn’t allow open flames, I plan on filling our mason jars with pretty vegetables and flowers. I’d love to have that glow-y effect of the flickering candlelight behind aqua glass, but it’s just not in the cards. I need the aqua jars, though. Need them.

Seeing as how I’m a whole hemisphere away from my venue (and my family), I can’t exactly troll through antique stores and Goodwill at my leisure.

(And collecting 40+ quart size mason jars locally and bringing them with me on the plane is rather impractical.) So, I did what any tech-savvy bride (on a budget) did – I started looking on my favorite site, eBay, I scoured the classifieds here on the ‘bee, and I looked in the Portland Craigslist (my super awesome future step-MIL (FSMIL) has been the best with helping me locally!).

The result? Aqua mason jars are expensive. Like, really expensive. Unless you find them wholesale somewhere, you should expect to pay around $5 – $8 each, after shipping. I don’t buy that, though. I’m of the mindset that the value of an object is set by the buyer. I think these things should cost around $1.50 – $2 each, after shipping. Call me stingy, but it’s just old glass.

I must have been right, because I found my preciouses for $1.50 each on Craigslist, and in Portland. The seller has a lot of canning equipment. I told him I wanted to buy around 50 quart-sized aqua mason jars, and he said he had more than enough! via Bliss’d

This was great! Fantastic! I’d get my deal, and it’d be local!

But then the seller “educated” me on a few legalities of mason jars. He asked me if I was planning on using these for a wedding (let’s call it a “family reunion”, shall we?). He told me that if I planned on putting candles in the jars, he absolutely wouldn’t sell them to me. And if I was planning on drinking from the jars (I wanted to also buy around 80 normal jars to use as glasses), he also wouldn’t sell them to me. Um. WEIRD.

They don’t make mason jars like they used to. Apparently there’s a high probability that your beautiful antique blue mason jar will EXPLODE if you put a candle in it! The guy selling the jars said he was sued recently because a jar exploded at a wedding, injuring a guest! Also, he informed me that it’s illegal (at least in the state of Oregon) to sell canning jars for the purpose of drinking beverages. He recommended I buy these “drinking” mason jars from a supermarket – these organizations are too large to prosecute feasibly.

As much as I’d love to have beautiful mood setters like this:


… I don’t want my guests to risk injury! If you’re planning on using mason jars for candle holders, be careful! I recommend using newer jars (but don’t quote me on this – I’m not the expert!). via JenaD Events

This seller also helpfully informed me that certain types of flower food can dissolve the old aqua glass. I told him I was planning on using the jars for flower vases (this, apparently, was acceptable to him).

I thought I had all my ducks in a row (no candles! no drinking from the jars! no flower food!), so I asked my awesome FSMIL to coordinate locally with the seller. Turns out, he’s a complete kook. He yelled at her on the phone, proclaiming about how these aqua-blue mason jars are special, antique… they weren’t meant to be used at weddings! And he wasn’t going to sell them! And how dare she suggest that! Did she know that they could EXPLODE at any minute?? (Aqua-blue floral grenades!)

So- whatever. We washed our hands of this potential bargain; the red flags were definitely going off. But I’m still looking for aqua-blue quart sized mason jars. :(

I really don’t know where to look now. Do you know of someone who wants to sell their aqua-blue quart-sized mason jars to me? :) Or do you know of someplace to find them for relatively cheap?


Mrs. Bear Cub

Wedding Date:
September 2009
Making the Trip
My Dream Wedding

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  1. Guest Icon Guest
    Dee, Guest @ 9:47 pm

    Hi, I am a wedding coordinator and know that many theming companies can provide manson jars or get them outsourced.
    Also you are allowed to use battery operated candles that use LED lights to create the flicker as a normal candle does. These look amazing and create the same effect as a normal candle.

  2. Guest Icon Guest
    wendy, Guest @ 7:42 am

    you can use flickering battery operated tealights…same ambiance but with no safety issues!

  3. Member
    buddrbal 2 posts, Wannabee @ 9:06 pm

    That’s true that certain types of glass can’t handle heat. Basically the imperfections in the glass start to expand, and you risk the jar just cracking.
    It’s easy enough to make your own blue mason jars with modern jars though. I did a blog post about this recently. Get tips here:

  4. Guest Icon Guest
    Melani Guith, Guest @ 7:17 am

    How about you have one of your friends contact him get the jars and just keep quite about the use and then use battery candles that happen to me ( the no open flame) Sorry

  5. Guest Icon Guest
    Austin Ballard, Guest @ 4:49 am

    I enjoyed your post here about looking to buy these jars for use at your wedding—I see people use these jars for various purposes, though they are much sought after by collectors as well—hence the rather high prices for some of them, especially blue/aqua ones.
    I have about 30, mostly of the blue or aqua variety, small to medium size which I actually use in the pantry to store food in (pickles, preserves, flour)—-The blue/aqua Ball jars are in excess of 80 years old, many over 100 so they tend to be somewhat pricey as a result.
    There is a restaurant near me which the proprietor procured about 100 quart sized blue Ball jars and he made a wall of sorts out of them: he put them on shelves and secured them to it so they could not be knocked out or removed…it makes a very nice translucent screen separating the kitchen from the entry. He told me he had to pay upwards of $2000 for them and it took months to find enough around the area for the project!
    Good luck anyway…ebay can sometimes produce good results for these, as well as flea markets and junk shops.

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Mary O, Guest @ 3:18 pm

    We just purchased 108 blue Ball Heritage Collection mason jars for $1.55 each from Sears! That included free shipping! Ordered them on Sunday night and they arrived on Tuesday!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    Lawana Stewart, Guest @ 7:10 pm

    I use the battery operated candles that you can pick up at Hobby Lobby, Walmart, Or better yet The Dollar Tree Store. They are beautiful and no mess to clean out candle wax from the jars!!!

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