Why Beeswax?  What is Bloom? "Hugging" Beeswax Pillar Candles!

9inchtapersWhy Beeswax? Bloom?    Beeswax Candles, one of the earliest sources of light, have played a crucial role in history. Without the precious flame to extend the daylight hours well into the night and to illuminate the halls of humanity, doctrines might not have been written, physicists on the brink of discovery might have befuddled their formulas in the dark and entertainment would have stopped at sunset. Evidence of candles, or a similar illuminating devices like torches and fire baskets, dates back to as early as 3000 BC.

Over the centuries, candles have adorned the walls of rulers, played integral roles in religious ceremonies and lit streets and shops. Candles have even been used to keep time: In coal mines, less than half a century ago, candles marked with 12 lines---one for each hour---burned steadily to record work shifts.

Beeswax was one of the first ingredients used for making candles; recognized since ancient Roman times---and subsequently by many other civilizations--for its effective aromatic burning properties. (Beeswax burns very slowly and smells deliciously sweet.) The prohibitive cost of beeswax, though, greatly limited its use and availability; it became exclusively reserved for the wealthy and the Church. In thirteenth century England, beeswax became such a valuable and negotiable commodity that The English Tallow Chandlers and The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers were charted to regulate and control the beeswax trade. Laws preventing the adulteration of the wax were passed and the penalties for breaking them quite stiff.(Catherine Bardey, Making Candles & Potpourri)

Other waxes were tried as an alternative to beeswax. Tallow, the fat rendered from cattle or sheep were messy, didn't burn long and had an offensive odor. Waxes from sperm whales & vegetables were tried and were somewhat better. In the mid 1800's paraffin, a by-product of crude oil was discovered. Most paraffin waxes burn at a lower temperature than beeswax and are used for most mass produced candles that are sold today.

Beeswax is made from the nectar of flowers! The honeybees produce beeswax from wax glands on the sides of their body and use it to create "cells" to store their honey in. Its color may vary from white to yellow or brown. It possesses a subtle aroma, the fragrance of honey ingrained with the other scents present in a bee hive. The demand for beeswax exceeds the supply in most years. For this reason, it is expensive. On the average, eight pounds of honey are consumed by the bees for each pound of wax made by the colony. A large amount of the available beeswax is used in cosmetics and in many waxes and polishes.

We use only beeswax on our farm to produce candles! Our candles are made from raw, unprocessed wax produced from our bees at our farm. The wax is cleaned by lightly straining it & letting it "settle" in a large tank where the heavier impurities settle to the bottom, this will ensure that the fragrance and quality of the wax will not be damaged by being overprocessed. We guarantee that our candles are handmade products and each one will be unique. In keeping with this natural theme we use large old fashioned "square braid" wicks in most of our candles, which makes the candles absorb the wax better, allowing them to burn brighter and drip less.

 


 Bloom on Beeswax Taper Candles Hugging a Beeswax Pillar Candle Hugging a Beeswax Pillar Candle
 Bloom on
Beeswax Taper Candles
 Hugging a
Beeswax Pillar Candle
  Hugging a Beeswax Pillar
(closeup)

 

What is the dusty substance of the surface of many beeswax candles?

 The dusty looking substance on the surface of the candles in this picture is called "bloom". It is a naturally occuring substance on all beeswax candles after they have been aged for a period of time. It is desired by many people as it gives the candle a very "antique" look and only beeswax will develop it. If desired, it may be rubbed off with a soft cloth.

 

Burning Beeswax Pillar Candles & Tapers - "Hugging" Pillars

The candlewick in a candle is constantly feeding fuel (the wax) to the flame and a pool of wax is created around it due to the heat. The size of this wax pool can vary due to wick size, ambient air temperature, thickness of candle, how long it has been burning and other variables.While a taper will rarely leak on the sides, pillar candles need more attention. Some will burn forever, some need to be "hugged" (folding some of the wax along the edge in closer to the wick), and some can only be burned for a few hours or they may leak over the side causing a mess and impairing the looks of a decorative candle.

Here is a good link to a hugging video...

Some decorative candles should only be burned for a short period of time since they are designed more for artistic reasons than to produce light for an extended period of time. Always use caution when burning candles to prevent fires!

All candles must have proper holders. Candles that are not held vertical and stable may burn on one side only or drip wax. All pillars should be in a container to prevent wax damage.

Ocasionally when extinguishing a candle, the wick will burn down slightly making it more difficult when you wish to re-light it. Scraping the wax slightly around the base of the wick (digging a small 1/4 inch hole) will make re-lighting the candle easier if there is a problem.