I recently fell madly in love with antique French olive jars. They’re gorgeous and expensive, but I’ve found some dupes that will give you the look for much less!
I’m sure if you’ve been a reader for awhile now, you know I love French country style. But I would say in the last couple of years, I’ve been heading toward a cleaner, more modern version of French country. Gone are my red toiles, roosters, and dark wood furniture. And in their stead, I’ve moved towards neutral walls, creamy linens, and painted pieces.
One of my absolute favorite designers, Pamela Pierce, does what I consider “pared down” French country perfectly! She’s been a large influence on my style (though I’ve definitely got a ways to go before I’m there yet!) And while looking through photos of her work, I kept seeing these amazing antique-looking jars, but I had no idea what they were!
I absolutely fell in love with them, so I set about trying to find out what they were. I did a little research and found out they are actually called French Biot jars, or French olive jars. These jars have been around since the 16th century and are still used for storing olives. And I am smitten!
They make such a great statement in a room…
See the jars on the mantel and by the French doors at the back? So gorgeous! Via Pamela Pierce Designs.
Another gorgeous living room shows one at the back of the room. One of my all-time favorite rooms! Design by Jane Moore via Veranda.
At this point, I’ve fallen in love with yet another expensive antique, so what to do? Normally when this happens, I try to find a decent reproduction, if there is one. But in the case of antique French olive jars, I had yet to find one…. until recently!
I was looking through the Pottery Barn catalog and I saw a vase that I thought might work….
When I spied the one on the left, I had a feeling it might work as a suitable stand-in. And at a cost of around $100, it was a splurge, but definitely a whole lot more affordable than the antique versions which are $3000 or more!!
And while it’s not exactly the same, it does give the look. Really, it’s the strong design statement that those vases make that creates the drama.
And I don’t think it needs to be an antique to do that. Simply finding a vase that is large and has a bit of an antique feel can easily give you that same look!
It’s not authentic, I know, but I love it anyway. It is beautiful, and makes a substantial statement no matter where I put it. So until I can afford a real one (never), this one will be the stand in!
I love it so much in fact, I really wish I would have thought to buy two! I would love to see two of them on the back patio, or on the porch. Sadly, I’m never quite that prepared and/or organized!
Gorgeous outdoor space via Pam Pierce Designs.
So the good news is, I found a pretty decent reproduction. But the bad news is, it is no longer available. However, I have now found a few others. Keep in mind, none will be quite the same as the real thing.
But regardless of whether these look exactly like a French olive jar, they are all pretty! And the statement a large vase makes in a room can’t be beat!
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And if you are in the mood to be a little spendy (or just want to ogle the real thing!) you can find some gorgeous antiques here. Also, there is a company that makes real reproductions – made by hand, in France. You can find those here.
If you enjoyed this post, you might want to check out more French inspiration below:
How to Find French Farmhouse Antiques for Less!
10 Fabulous French Farmhouse Style Mirrors
50+ French Farmhouse Finds at Amazon
Karyn O'Miller says
When renovating a kitchen and using a wood countertop in a French country style, what type of finish should be used on the countertop to mimic a true French country design?
Matte vs Satin for example.
Hi Karyn, I would say that matte is much more of a traditional French farmhouse or French country style as satin/shiny/high gloss anything would have been fancier and as such, not true ‘country’ style. I think matte or honed finishes in wood or marble are the most traditional/true French country. Hope that helps!
Thanks for stopping by!
Lydia Sottile says
I love your taste ! could you please tell me the paint color on your walls. thank you!
Hi there Lydia and thank you for your kind words! My LR and entry are Muslin, then DR is Shaker Beige at 50%, and the kitchen/family room walls are Edgecomb Grey at 50%, all Benjamin Moore paints. You might want to check out my post all about my favorite neutral paint colors here: https://maisondecinq.com/my-favorite-paint-colors/
Thanks for stopping by!
Such a great post. Now, I will have to keep my eyes for a biot jar or two. I’m also checking out Pam Pierce. Thanks for the tip.
Blessings to you.
Oh she’s amazing!! And the real ones are uber expensive but definitely inspiring to look at and to try to emulate!
Glad you loved the post and thanks for stopping by!
I have variations of those jars, but not exact. I just saw some on sale on Ballard Designs, reproductions, but beautiful.
I had only discovered you recently and am unfamiliar with your prior preferences in the style, but am loving what you’re featuring now. My problem is my style has evolved over the years – country – traditional – now love french country in your clean styles, but the cost of reupholstering is ridiculous and I have a couch with a classic pattern but dark maroon, forest green, deep gold, etc., that was expensive in its day, rarely used because we have a separate TV room, but high quality frame, very comfy, and I don’t want to replace it. I have many family heirloom pieces of furniture that are antiques, etc. So not sure how to convert any of it without replacing. Fads come and go, but I don’t see this one ever leaving. I love the jar and would have no problem finding a place for one.
Hi Linda! I’m so glad you found me and glad to hear you love the jars, too! I know many of us have older/darker pieces of furniture and find it hard to incorporate into a new, cleaner style but my feeling is if you’re not enjoying the rooms as they are and those pieces don’t make you happy, it’s better to sell or paint the furniture and look for things that will make your heart sing!
Thanks for your comment and I hope you’re enjoying the blog!
Mary L Stevens says
Several years ago I found a small one in an antique store. I didn’t know what it was but really liked the look of it!! I got it for $20.00!!! I forget now how I found out what it was but at that time you really didn’t read about them!! Mine is on my mantle in my family room. I would love to have a big one but like you said not in this life time unless I won the mega millions ha ha!!!!
Oh you are so lucky Mary – I would be ecstatic to find one for a price like that (my repro was even more!)
Thanks so much for stopping by!
Lucy Beliveau says
Aren’t you the lucky one to own such a gorgeous jar! It certainly doesn’t matter to me what it is officially called, I think it is utterly beautiful and I wish I could afford one! You’ve used it well! You are blessed!
That is such a nice thing to say – thank you so much!
And thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment, I appreciate it:)
These olive jars are beautiful! I loved the post, which I reached through an E&E post. I subscribed. Now tell me about those beautiful candlelebra beside the jar. What is it made of?
Hi Connie! Thanks so much for visiting, and for subscribing! The candle holders beside the jar are older and made of plaster of some kind – they were actually a grey/blue color and I recently chalk painted them. I did link some similar (and even prettier) options at the bottom of the post. But I don’t have a brand or anything as I’ve had these for about 10 years!
Welcome to Maison de Cinq – I’m so glad you’re here!
Shelia, I love this piece. I don’t worry about having the real thing. As you said, 3,000 not realistic for most. If you don’t say it wasn’t authentic people don’t always know. Thanks for sharing options since the piece is no longer available
Enjoy your weekend
Thank you Cindy! I must admit, I was pretty happy when I found it! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, thanks so much for stopping by!
Melissa Rosen says
Thank you – that’s so kind!!
Susannah Cameron says
What a beautiful article! I am also very passionate about French Biot jars – they are fabulous.
Thank you kindly for linking to our website – our artisan-made pots have found homes all over the world and our clients love them!
Bisous from Provence!
Chez Pluie Provence
Your jars are gorgeous! Thank you so much for stopping by!