| ABOUT ALABASTER |
Alabaster is a naturally translucent stone. It is not marble. Actually, it is hydrated calcium sulfate (CaSo42H2O), a crystalline form of gypsum. The largest deposits of the white translucent type of alabaster used in lighting fixtures are located near Zaragoza, Spain, where the Basic Source alabaster comes from.
Like many materials we assume are recent discoveries, alabaster has been around for a very long time. In fact, ancient Egyptian alabaster carvings are on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York as well as many others. Imagine! Cleopatra might have poured wine for Mark Antony from an alabaster vessel. The ancient Chinese and Greeks also carved alabaster; modern Greeks still use it for floor tiles.
Alabaster is a relatively soft stone which measures 2.5 on the Mohs scale, the international standard for measuring the relative hardness of stone (diamonds are a 10, granite 6.5). Like other stones it can be carved and sculpted, but the larger pieces of alabaster are usually worked in more of a woodworking than a lapidary process. It takes an expert stonecutter using a combination of centuries- old and cutting edge techniques to work the stones with the least amount of waste.
Alabaster is extremely heat sensitive. Once the stone reaches a temperature
of 187 degrees, the water (the H2O part) in the crystal begins to evaporate.
Basic Source is the only manufacturer that provides a proprietary lamp
shield in every incandescent and halogen fixture to disperse the heat
and protect the alabaster from heat discoloration.
The Basic Source,
Inc. 707-586-5483 Fax 707-586-5485
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