Alabaster is the stone of art par excellence, a much-appreciated resource for sculptors and architects who have been able to take advantage of its characteristic features, above all the ease with which it can be worked and polished and its translucency, a property as rare among rocks as effective in magnifying their natural beauty.
“Alabastron” was the name of a village in Old Egypt, located near the city of Thebes, in which a calcareous-type translucent stone was extracted. It seems that the term also referred to objects originating from that place, which, originally, were made with this material. Eventually, the term began to refer only to the white translucent rock used in art and in the manufacturing of muchappreciated vessels.
Today, the term alabaster refers to a massive, competent, translucent gypsum variety, with very low porosity and displaying very light colours. It consists of microcrystalline gypsum aggregates, with sizes ranging from 10 to 80 micrometres, which form an irregular mosaic. Aggregates of finest grain size are the best quality and most translucent. Impurities among the aggregates are common and can colour and pattern the set.
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