Holy Land Oil Lamps and Gifts – The Ancient Clay Style A Must Have

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You might not have considered replicas of ancient items as gifts, but come along with me. and let’s take a look.  

For the last few weeks I’ve been shopping around for a unique holyland gift for a family member.  I didn’t know when I started that it would be the clay oil lamp. There was so much to choose from but I chisled away and narrowed it down to three replicas I felt the recipient would most like. The gift is for one of the elder members of our family who I believe can relate to and appreciate the value of ancient replicas and holyland gifts. 

Now I just needed to choose between the three items left on my list.  I looked at a lot of alabaster gifts and found an alabaster vase to die for.  Jewelry was also considered but the pieces I liked the most were way out of my price range.  There were also replicas of the ancient oil lamps.  Some were made of stone, some with shell, others made from clay, and still others made of glass and metal.  I became lost in the land of ancient oil lamps.  There were just so many styles, it was actually becoming overwhelming

Many of the replicas I viewed were really very interesting and suddenly I realized I was going in so many different directions.  Finally I hit a wall, threw up my hands and narrowed it down to the ancient oil lamps. Still there was quite a variety of oil lamps to be considered.  I reduced that number to three styles that were more in line with my price range for this particular gift.  There were ancient oil lamps carved out of stone, some were made with beautiful sea shells, and still others made from clay.

  Ancient Stone Oil Lamp

Stone Oil Lamps

As I researched the different oil lamps the stone oil lamps came into play.  Most of the really ancient stone lamps were rather crudely carved pieces of stone with various degrees of depressions for the oil.  Even though still crude, over time the stone carvings changed shape to at least have a larger bowl like center and a handle for easier moving around. It appeared that many of the most ancient stone pieces are preserved in museums, as they should be in my humble opinion.  My taste for a gift item turned my attention to the polished alabaster stone that wasn’t quite so ancient.  Ultimately the idea of an ancient stone oil lamp was interesting but did not have the appeal I was looking for on this very special occasion of my grandmother’s 80th birthday.  So my search continued. 


Oil Lamps Made With Shells

This category was a bit of a surprise when it comes to the ancient oil lamps.  My research showed that ancient lamps were made of naturally occurring objects such as sea shells like conch and oyster, coconut shells, and even egg shells. Some lamps referred to as shell oil lamps was only because they had been hand molded with clay into the plain simple shape of a shell.  The oil lamps, crafted from natural shells, have certainly evolved over time to a thing of beauty in my eyes.  They’re being made in all shapes and sizes some making very nice home decor pieces.  I placed a pin here and said I would have a second look at the shell lamps before the final decision is made.

Clay Oil Lamps

I never imagined there were so many ancient oil lamps. It really gave me a lot to choose from, maybe too many. . I was all over the place searching for the perfect gift for this special occasion. It had become more like work and less like fun.  A weary feeling had come over me and I knew I had to make a decision.  The clay oil lamp was now at the top of my list.  For one thing they appealed to me and I knew my grandmother would like it as well.  The second  deciding factor was they were more along the lines of what i could afford for this particular occasion. There were others like the shell oil lamps that I would definitely revisit in the future.  Still there was quite a variety of clay ones to be considered.  Some were hand made, some were made from a mold, and still others where made with a wheel.  



By now finding the perfect gift for my grandmother’s 80th birthday celebration is feeling like finding a needle in a haystack. I spent a bit of additional time looking at what was available online in a nice hand made clay oil lamp replica. 

The ancient look of some of the hand crafted oil lamps intrigued me.  I like the simplicity yet funtionality of that style, but the gift wasn’t for me but for my grandmother.  Immediately I adjusted my thinking to what would be the prefect gift for my Grammy Olivia’s 80th birthday. Sometimes you just have to walk away, clear your head and get a new perspective.  After thinking about it for a few days the light bulb came on.  I remembered my grandmother loved to tell Bible stories to children and anyone else who would listen.  She always said teaching the Bible to the children in story form kept them interested and made them curious for more.   So I came up with one of her favorite Bible stories that revolved around lamps of that time in history. The following is a quote from MATTHEW 25:1-13 NIV where the story came from.

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep“ (vs.1-5).

“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No, ‘they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut“ (vs.6-10). 

“Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘ I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour wherein the Son of man comes“ (vs.11-13).

So now I’m feeling happy and good again about my search for the right lamp. Now things were shaping up.  I would have this Bible quote framed and present it with a nice replica that bears some resemblance, in polished form, to the clay oil lamps the ten virgins used.

Clay Oil Lamp With Oil

So my quest to find a holy land gift for my grandmother was finally accomplished.  I found a pretty polished version of the clay lamp for now for my grammy.  

I remembered I placed a pin in the lamps made from natural shells,  The shell idea is good for me for another time so the pin stays for now. The stone lamps, glass lamps, medal lamps and clay oil lamps all have appeal in one way or another.  From that point everything flowed very smoothly. We had the oil lamp and matching bottled oil beautifully gift wrapped.  The plaque with the Bible story of the 10 virgins was gift wrapped separately but presented togather with the polished oil lamp.  When grammy opened it and smiled that big hearted smile like no one else can, I knew she loved the gift and it made me feel happy that I invested in the time to find it.. Mission accomplished..

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