Evidence of candles, or a similar illuminating devices like torches and fire baskets, dates back to as early as 3000 BC.
Beeswax was one of the first ingredients used for making candles; recognised 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 high cost of beeswax, though, greatly limited in its use and availability; it became exclusively reserved for the wealthy and the Church.
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 colour is white when first made. It will vary from white to yellow, by the flower and pollen sources that the bees make their honey from. It possesses a delicate 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, 3.64 kilo of honey are consumed by the bees for each 500g of wax made by the colony. A large amount of the available beeswax is used in cosmetics and many waxes and polishes.
Beeswax is the only fuel to emit (Negative Ions) when burning. Dust, hair, odours and other things floating in the air are doing so because the particles are positively charged. Allergens and toxins become positively charged through static electricity created by heating systems and friction caused by normal activity (such as when you walk across the carpet). Pure beeswax candles help rid your home of toxins by emitting negatively, charged ions, as well as, burning away positively charged particles that float toward the burning halo flame. This process cleans the air of positive ions such as dust, odours, toxins, pollen, mould, dust mites faeces, and viruses. This is beneficial for people who have allergies, and environmental sensitivities. Negative ions also invigorate the body by stimulating the pituitary gland which increases creativity, intuition and dream activity.
In our search for sustainable alternatives, the past decade has seen a huge increase in new candle waxes for the first time in over a century, with renewable agricultural-based materials such as soy leading the way.
Soy wax is a biodegradable vegetable wax made from the oil of soy beans. The oil is hydrogenated to solidify the wax at room temperature, with about 60 kg of soy beans required to produce 10 kg of soy bean.
However, there are concerns over the pressure soy bean production places on our rainforests. Brazil’s cultivated soy bean area has nearly doubled in recent years, rising from 11.7 million hectares in 1994 to 21.0 million in 2003. Deforestation is set to continue in the Amazon to keep up with our healthy appetite for soy beans, which rose by 70 million tonnes (52 per cent) during the same decade.
Soy candles are made of hydrogenated soybean oil (think margarine) and are commonly combined with paraffin or beeswax in candle making. Soy candles work best in a jar as their low melting point causes them to deform easily in the sun or warm environments. They produce less soot than paraffin and their main draw is that they are natural and vegan.
When candles made from paraffin are burnt, the carbon they contain is released into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. About 10.7 g of CO2 is released by a paraffin candle lit for one hour.
A study reported by the American Chemical Society found regularly burning paraffin wax candles indoors to be a source of indoor air pollution, including known human carcinogens.
Wax derived from renewable plant resources doesn’t have the same environmental impact when burnt. It’s also important to note the effect burning candles have on our health, with many studies suggesting frequent home use of soot-producing paraffin candles can lead to poor air quality.
Sneaky Labelling – In the U.S., the term “pure” on a label means only 51% of an ingredient (and that goes for food, too). Companies sell both “pure” beeswax candles and “pure” soy candle, which contain a combination of 51% beeswax/soy wax and 49% toxic paraffin. Look for the key phrase “100% Pure Beeswax” or “100% Soy” on candles.
Interestingly, even a 100% soy wax candle must be processed with a small amount of paraffin. Potentially, burning a 100% soy candle will release small amounts of the carcinogens and toxins found in paraffin. Again, most soy candles on the market are not 100% soy, and contain a high percentage of poisonous paraffin.
Fragrances are another thing to watch for. Most fragrances we are used to smelling in household air fresheners contain formaldehyde and all kinds of toxins. Essential oils provide a more natural scent without chemicals. Use essential oils to brighten your home by adding them to burning candles, or heat them up in a jar above a candle. The scented oils will disperse when heated filling the room with that beautiful smell.
And whilst some may like the strong fragrances, they are scented in the most part with synthetic, petro-chemical fragrant oils. While you may think that they are fragrancing your home in a pleasing way, they are doing so in a manner that is toxic to you and your loved ones. What’s more, most of them come with elaborate, tree-felling packaging made in China or Hong Kong. And when the candle is finished, their customers typically throw the jar (and residual wax) into the bin to join the mountains of landfill we’re already trying to cope with.
The worker bees deserve a green star, with beeswax candles coming out on top of the eco-ledger. They’re sourced from a natural process that doesn’t encourage deforestation or harm eco-systems, generates minimal carbon emissions when burned and is even said to purify the air we breathe.
They may cost a little more than their more plentiful counterparts, but they’ll burn for longer and make your home smell sweet like honey. Our wax is locally sourced helping our local farmers.
Our candles are free from: petroleum by products, hardening agents, bleaches, synthetic fragrances, artificial colourings, mould release, carcinogens, zinc cored wicks and toxic black soot.