ancient art form candles

Swazi Candles is a founding member of SWIFT (Swaziland Fair Trade Association) and are passionate about providing quality of life in the workplace for their employees. 

They were started in an old cowshed of a former dairy in 1982 by 2 South African art graduates, and the little workshop soon gained a reputation for producing unique candles and started attracting visitors.

The vibrancy of the workshop, uniqueness of the product and the skill of the artisans resulted in Swazi Candles becoming one of Swaziland’s premier tourist attractions.

By the mid-nineties, the humble cowshed workshop had burgeoned into an industry that employed over 200 local people and exported candles all over the world. 

green-leaf shaped candle

The Art of Millefiore: 

The beautifully intricate designs of Swazi Candles use the ancient technique known as “millefiore” or, “thousand flowers” which first surfaced in Alexandria, but was perfected in the great glassmaking cities of Murano and Venice. Glass beads and other objects created there were of such beauty and finesse that they became much sought-after, valuable artefacts.

On the Africa coast, these Venetian trade beads were used as a form of currency to barter for gold and ivory. So popular did they prove that the North and West Africans came to make their own variation. Thus was born the African trade bead, rare and sought after by collectors to this day.

The art of millefiore continues in Swazi Candles. But instead of glass, the gifted candle makers of Swaziland use a special hard wax to create their colourful designs. The hard wax veneer forms the outer shell of the candle, which hardly melts when the candle is lit.

Unique candle

Hence the rich, romantic glow of the illuminated exterior as the candle burns deeper into the container lighting up the casing. The shells of the larger can still be used even after the original inside wax is gone when refitted with a votive or tea candle.

You can find more information about Swazi Candles and their UK stockists at the Karakorum on Instagram at Karakorum_ethical_decor

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