There are several reasons why alabaster has become a popular trend in home décor: the organic nature of the stone, the uniqueness of each pattern, and the translucent quality that allows light to shine through.
While not as expensive as marble, alabaster is a medium-hard natural material (calcite) that is durable, but “softer” and lighter in weight than marble. Both can be carved, but only marble can hold up to outdoor elements, so you’ll never see any outdoor statues made of alabaster.
Because alabaster is translucent, that is why it is used on lighting fixtures and table lamps. The light from the bulb is diffused by the stone, providing a soft, romantic glow. Alabaster features beautiful, unique patterns of veining, so no two pieces are ever alike. This makes alabaster lighting perfect for people who are attracted to the perfect imperfection of nature.
Alabaster lighting is also becoming more popular because of LED lights. Incandescent lights give off a lot of heat and that heat could scorch the soft alabaster over time. By comparison, LED lights give off very little heat, allowing the alabaster to shine at its best for years to come.
The global trend for natural materials in home décor makes alabaster a good choice for those who want a more upscale, luxurious look. Because most lighting with natural materials features grasses, rope, wicker, and rattan, and those materials are more “tropical” in feel than elegant, alabaster serves people looking for something a little different.
With its more sophisticated appearance, alabaster lighting is an ideal fit for décor that runs the gamut from traditional to contemporary — in other words, anything but casual.
Alabaster is also different from marble in that it can be dyed in a vibrant color for a whimsical effect, or it can be selected in natural (but rarer) variations of gray and yellow. Most often, alabaster is used in its universally flattering white color.
Like marble and crystal – two other icons of luxury in home décor – alabaster is timeless in its look and appeal. While its popularity might be on trend right now, alabaster will never go out of style and will maintain its enduring beauty for many years.
Here are some of our favorite alabaster lighting looks:
Modern Forms Acropolis pendant
Savoy House Amani linear pendant
Hudson Valley Croton ceiling light
Hudson Valley Skylar wall sconce
Modern Forms Quarry bath vanity light
Hudson Valley Budnick bath vanity light
Frederick Cooper The Ambassador table lamp