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Alabastro di Volterra
The art of carving alabaster began during the Etruscan Era. The extraordinary skill and creativity of this mysterious civilisation has been handed down through the centuries...
The use and care of Alabaster
We realize complete maintenance and restoration of antique alabaster objects. Alabaster artefacts require a little attention and care in their placement and cleaning...
Buy Alabaster
  The purchase by us is simple, sure and guaranteed

Mining and quarryng

Alabaster is formed in blocks or ovules, which are irregularly distributed in layers of chalky rock deposits. Each layer, sandwiched between clay deposits, is made up of a mass of crystallised gypsum, commonly known as “Panchino” or “Mamma”, in which the white blocks of alabaster nestle. Alabaster is mined at a depth of 200/300 metres. Depending on the chemical structure of the terrain the alabaster blocks vary in colour. They also vary in weight , size and form and some blocks are more translucent then others. No one is alike (even if they come from the same mine). It is difficult to have a clear idea of what alabaster is for there are so many different varieties. Alabaster generally weighs 2200 – 3000 Kg. per cubic metre depending on the water content. The blocks, which are usually, purchased by alabaster workshops weigh from 100 to 150 Kg. Alabaster measures 2,5 on the Mohs scale, so that it is a soft stone (talcum measures 1 while diamonds measure 10).

estrazione alabastro 1
estrazione alabastro 2
Alabaster Scaglione Mine
estrazione alabastro 3
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Under the microscope alabaster reveals elongated prismatic crystals of granular or fibrous masses. Once the site has been tested for the presence of alabaster, the depth of the mine is decided upon. There is also a risk of finding strata of water, which have to be channelled off. If this is not possible the mine is abandoned. The shafts and tunnels, dug out at a depth of 280 metres, are often more than ten kilometres long. The alabaster ovules nestling in the rocks are extracted with a pneumatic drill, brought to the surface and then cleaned from its outer “shell”.

Piazza Martiri della Liberta 5/9 56048 Volterra (Pi) - Italy
Tel. +39 0588 86078 - Fax +39 0588 86521 - e-mail: info@alialabastro.it