Alabaster creates wonderful ambient lighting when lit from inside by either candles or bulbs.
The good news is that they can also be used very effectively as vases, plant holders or as table decorations.
An extensive new range of products, including lighting and dining ware, will be available in May.
This material has been used for carving for thousands of years. Especially loved by the Ancient Egyptians, sculptures have been found dating back to 1300BC.
Many beautiful vessels and carvings were discovered in the Pharoahs' tombs, and were found to have contained precious perfumes and oils.
It is the Alabaster found in Egypt which is particularly beautiful once carved. Colours vary from yellows to creams with the distinctive banding giving each piece a unique appearance.
Rough stone, as seen below, is mined throughout Egypt and worked using mainly traditional methods in small workshops.
Sadly, many of these workshops have been affected by the reduced numbers of people visiting the country since 2011 due to political unrest.
There are two references to flasks made from Alabaster in the New Testament. Both vessels were used to contain precious perfume or oils to anoint Christ in the days before his death.
"Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to Him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head, as He sat at table."
"But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for a large sum, and given to the poor."
"But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial. Truly, I say to you, wherever this Gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her." (Matthew 26:1-13 RSV)
Our new order for 2014 is now under way and being produced in Egypt. As each item is hand-made, we hope to have delivery in 6-8 weeks.
The time will be well spent putting dates in the diary for the coming year, very exciting !!