alabaster

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alabaster,

fine-grained, massive, translucent variety of gypsumgypsum
, mineral composed of calcium sulfate (calcium, sulfur, and oxygen) with two molecules of water, CaSO4·2H2O. It is the most common sulfate mineral, occurring in many places in a variety of forms. A transparent crystalline variety is selenite.
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, a hydrous calcium sulfate. It is pure white or streaked with reddish brown. Alabaster, like all other forms of gypsum, forms by the evaporation of bedded deposits that are precipitated mainly from evaporating seawater. It is soft enough to be scratched with a fingernail and hence it is easily broken, soiled, and weathered. Because of its softness, alabaster is often carved for statuary and other decorative purposes. It is quarried in England and also in Italy. Vases and statuettes of Italian alabaster are sold as "Florentine marbles." The term "Oriental alabaster" is a misnomer and actually refers to marblemarble,
metamorphic rock composed wholly or in large part of calcite or dolomite crystals, the crystalline texture being the result of metamorphism of limestone by heat and pressure.
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, a calcium carbonate; whereas gypsum is a calcium sulfate. Important sources of alabaster are Algeria, Egypt, Iran, and Mexico (from which it is exported under the name Mexican onyx); in the United States there are important sources in Utah and Arizona. Oriental alabaster (marble) was extensively used by the Egyptians in sarcophagi, in the linings of tombs, in the walls and ceilings of temples, and in vases and sacrificial vessels. The Romans worked the Algerian and Egyptian quarries and used the stone for similar purposes. In modern times it was used by Muhammad Ali for his mosque in Cairo. The French make extensive use of alabaster in interior decoration.

alabaster

A fine-grained, translucent variety of very pure gypsum, white or delicately shaded, and used for ornamental work.
See also: Stone

alabaster

[′al·ə‚bas·tər]
(mineralogy)
CaSO4·2H2O A fine-grained, colorless gypsum.

alabaster

Fine-grained, translucent variety of very pure gypsum, generally white or delicately shaded.

alabaster

1. a fine-grained usually white, opaque, or translucent variety of gypsum used for statues, vases, etc.
2. a variety of hard semitranslucent calcite, often banded like marble
References in periodicals archive ?
Starbird's book The Woman with the Alabaster Jar was a significant influence on his novel.
Some believe the conflation of Mary of Bethany and Mary of Magdala results not just from their shared name but also from the presence of the alabaster jar of perfumed oil.
He emptied himself like the contents of some precious alabaster jar and poured out his life.
In broken bread are also the shards of an alabaster jar.
She's an art historian, and it turned out she had given him a copy of my book The Woman with the Alabaster Jar.
The accompanying reference to the "septuple copa de Kai Josru" (1: 627) takes us back further still, to the alabaster jars and the Ka of the hieroglyphic pyramid texts.
Still unknown is whose mummies are in the five wooden sarcophagi with painted funeral masks, surrounded by alabaster jars inside the undecorated single-chamber tomb.
When King Tut's tomb was opened in 1922, there were 350 liters of oils found in alabaster jars.
Bearing their ministerial tools -- alabaster jars of spices -- they sidestep the sleeping watchmen and learn of the Resurrection from an angel.