Alabaster is very high on the list of my
favorite things. That includes everything from the simple pieces to the elaborate alabaster perfume jar above from the tomb of Tutankhamen, d.1323 BC. Perfume jar or not, it is the artistic painstakingly intricate carvings and design that fascinates me to no end. I can’t imagine such art as this buried in a tomb never to be viewed and enjoyed again. Also, click the link below to view the video of a beautiful Translucent Utah Orange Carving from the alabaster stone mines of Utah, USA at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lnc61XK8MY and creations borrowed from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAOaSjlcRuw.
Alabaster carvings that has been one of my favorite things has now become one of my favorite gifts to give. I especially like pieces carved from stones with natural color. My interest started with the Alabaster box story in the Bible. Carvers like alabaster stone because it has beautiful patterns and is a relatively soft stone making it more desirable for carving. One artist called it the “Queen of Stones”. having color and myriad patterns laid down by Earth’s mineral and geologic changes.
Through my Bible study, I discovered that alabaster was
referred to in I Chronicles 29:2 as colored stones and/or precious stones and
marble. As a child I remember wondering and wanting to know more about that
alabaster box of expensive perfume that two different women brought to anoint Jesus during the period leading up to his crucifixion.
The alabaster box was
the first items I bought for my own collection. There is just something special and a little romantic about having alabaster boxes in my home.
And of course I have bought them as gifts on more than one occasion. My collection of the beautiful stone has grown
over the years to include many more pieces.
For now, I will talk a little about the Alabaster boxes, candle holders,
and jewelry trays.
something about the story of the two very different women using expensive oil to anoint Jesus that was really emotionally touching. On different days they went to minister care and anointing to Jesus. Both of them used expensive fine perfume oil, the best they had, contained
in a precious alabaster stone box. It seemed somewhat romantic then,
and I still think of it that way in a sense but more as their spiritual love for Jesus.
I am referring to this
story because of its significance in my attraction to the natural perfume
essential oils and the alabaster stone.
As the story goes, the
first woman who came to Jesus was Mary.
Mary came to Him on Saturday, six days before the Passover in an unnamed
home in Bethany. She believed what Jesus
told them when he said he would be crucified and chose to anoint the feet of Jesus
with the expensive perfume oil and her long hair as befitting to her King.
The second woman was still a sinner, possibly a prostitute, and is not named in the Bible. She came to Jesus on
Wednesday of Holy week, two days before Passover while He was having a meal in the home of Simon. The Bible says this woman poured expensive oil on Jesus’ head as an anointing and was criticized by others for wasting expensive oil. So to avoid making this article a prolonged Bible story, I’ll end by saying Jesus was moved by this act of love and both women were blessed. The nameless woman was forgiven of her sins. As for Mary, Jesus said, “wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she had done will be told in memory or her”.
My use of candles began when I became an adult and started living in my first apartment. The attraction and interest I have for alabaster naturally leads me to alabaster candle holders. Since I enjoy being creative with my own gifts and talents, it influences my attraction to the creative natural patterns and beauty seen in alabaster stone carvings. I am still pretty picky though about what I choose for myself to display in my home. Therefore, I am just as picky about the alabaster gifts I choose for others. These beautiful candle holders are examples of ones I’ve chosen in the past. I favor them because they have a marbled look with brown veins and some with white veins. Yet they are still translucent and takes on the color and warm glow from the light inside.
The marble stone is nice to have also, but my first preference is the beauty and translucence of the softer alabaster carvings. You might appreciate that the alabaster stone can be dyed as well into many colors and shades because it is porous. When dyed properly the stone maintains its beauty but with more color and dimension than the natural stone.
Bowls became a part of my personal alabaster collection when I began to see pieces like these beauties made from the alabaster stones with natural color. I prefer the polished look of the alabaster stone pieces and it’s light catching translucent qualities over the opaque finished look.
Click here for more artistically designed bowls. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAOaSjlcRuw&t=19s
Wood turners across the country are now rediscovering the beauty of turned stone objects such as bowls. Many unique bowls are displayed in some of the finest art galleries in the country.
Turning stone on the lathe is making a comeback. A lathe is a tool that rotates the work piece about an axis of rotation to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, deformation, facing, and turning, with tools that are applied to the work piece to create an object with symmetry about that axis.
There are alabaster quarries in many states but Colorado alabaster has a long history with lathe turners. During the Great Depression, there were as many as 25 different businesses in northern Colorado making items from the local alabaster on lathes of every description. Some typical items of the day included vases for dry flowers, lamps, ash trays, candy dishes and bookends.
Utah Alabaster is yellow and in the United States as well. It can be used in many areas for construction stone and ornamental stone. Some spectacular pieces made from the Utah Alabaster are also on display in art galleries. Additional names of Utah Alabaster include: Translucent Peach Alabaster. and Orange Alabaster. The Utah Alabaster is more expensive because it is said to be much harder to mine and get loose without damanging it.
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