White Gypsum Alabaster


White Gypsum Alabaster from Southern Gloucestershire

Size, 19cm x 9cm x 2.8cm

Weight, 649gm.     Ref No 2060



White Gypsum Alabaster from Southern Gloucestershire, Size, 19cm x 9cm x 2.8cm Weight, 649gm

This large piece of White Gypsum Alabaster, (calcium sulphate) is a fine grained variety from Aust, Southern Gloucestershire. This lovely specimen has contrasting veins running through it and is translucent when held up to the light. Like most specimens that come from this beach, the sea has gently softened some of the edges. This makes it both tactile and a fine display piece or alternatively if used for its healing properties. Alabaster is a crystalline form of Gypsum, a hydrous sulphate of calcium. It is classified as an evaporite mineral, which is millions of years old. It was created by the evaporation of saline lakes, leaving the gypsum behind to solidify. The nodular pink alabaster from Somerset together with other forms found further up the Severn estuary in Gloucestershire make this a fascinating area for both minerals and also fossils. Pieces of Alabaster have traditionally been popular with sculptors, because of its fine grains the gypsum is easy to polish. It is a softer and also more easily workable alternative and substitute for marble.

Alabaster gets its name from the Greek word ‘alabaster’s‘. The ancient Greeks and Romans also regarded this as an important mineral for carving and used it for making storage and drinking vessels. When relatively thin, alabaster is sufficiently translucent enough to let the light through. These days the largest workable deposits of Alabaster are in the Ebro Valley in Aragon, Spain.

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