Natural beeswax is an extraordinary material to work with. It naturally occurs in different colours - ranging from creamy white, through to pink, orange, bright yellow and dark brown depending on the flowers the bees have been foraging and, to some extent, how the beekeeper has handled the wax. It is also beautifully translucent.
Being a natural product, it is a little different to work with every day. To me, this is one of the delights of the being a beeswax candle-maker... no two days are the same! What does stay the same - due to years of research, development, trial and error - is:
- beeswax candles will always have a superior burn to a paraffin, soy or palm wax candle because beeswax has the highest melting point of any wax known to mankind and therefore when a beeswax candle is properly made (and not burned in a breeze), it will not drip everywhere or drown its wick
- a Queen B beeswax candle will always burn for longer than a comparably sized paraffin, soy or palm wax candle
- a Queen B beeswax candle will always have a more golden flame than a paraffin, soy or palm wax candle (because our wax is not bleached with chemicals)
A Queen B beeswax candle made with 100% pure Australian beeswax and pure cotton wick will also always be a natural alternative to paraffin (a petrochemical by-product) and soy or palm wax (which are both hydrogenated oils).
When burned correctly your Queen B candle will not smoke or drip, and our wicks, will not disintegrate or drown in their own wax. You can find out more by going to Tips for Better Burning.
A beeswax candle is also said to be a natural ioniser when it is burning, purifying your air of dust, pollen, odours, toxins, mould and mildew whilst leaving a light, natural honey scent.
By purchasing Queen B candles, not only are you getting a fabulous gift for yourself or someone special, but you are also giving on many other levels - to your health (by purifying the air you breath), to the environment (no toxic smoke), to regional Australia (supporting beekeepers and their communities) and to a talented community of artisans (who assist with the making of Queen B candles).
To produce one pound of beeswax, a worker bee eats about 10 pounds of honey, flies 240,000 kilometres and visit 33 million flower blossoms! Australian beeswax is reported (by industry sources) to command premium prices on the world market because of its freedom from adulteration and chemical residues (see the industry body website at http://www.honeybee.org.au/economics.htm).
Beeswax is a natural ioniser
Beeswax candles burn smoke free and purify the air when burned. How do they purify the air? Beeswax is a natural ioniser - emitting negative ions when burned.
Other natural ionisers include moving water (oceans, waterfalls, rain etc) and plants. Short of setting up a waterfall or rainforest in your living room, or buying an expensive electric ioniser, burning beeswax candles is the simplest and most effective way of purifying the air that you breathe.
It has been scientifically proven that the only fuel known to mankind to produce a balanced negative ion is pure beeswax… care of Mother Nature. And what is even more astonishing is that a pure beeswax candle burns the dust and toxic fumes drawing them closer to the candle through the force of convection - you will notice that the dustier your environment, the darker the pool of wax around the wick of your candle.
Scientists have proven that anything floating in the air, does so because it is 'positively charged' - this includes dusts, pollens, nasty odours, viruses, bacteria, germs and even toxic residues and emissions from household furnishings. Odours remain because they have a positive charge. All of these toxins present a potential health risk as they live in the air you breathe. Beeswax, when burned, emits negative ions which bind with the positive ions, creating a complete molecule, which is heavier than air and thus falls to the ground.
By burning Queen B 100% pure beeswax candles a few times a week, and vacuuming a couple of times a week, your home will be cleaner, smell sweeter and the air you breathe will be healthier.
Over time, and especially in colder weather, beeswax naturally produces a 'bloom' - which appears as a white film on the wax of your candle. This is a natural occurrence and will not affect the quality of the candle or the way in which it burns - in fact it is another sign that the candle you are burning is 100% beeswax. To get rid of the bloom, either handle your candle with warm hands, or use a hairdryer on a low setting.
Pure cotton wick
Queen B candles are all made with pure cotton wicks. We do not use any wick with a core - be that lead, zinc, copper, paper or any other type of core. Even then, limiting ourselves to pure cotton wicks, there are over 1000 wicks for us to choose from every time we want to launch a new candle. And because there is no real global know-how in beeswax candles (the laboratories of the wick companies all do their testing with paraffin), this can involve literally months of wick testing to ensure that we have the optimal wick for the candle.
It is this - our stringent commitment, at any cost, regardless of the time taken, to ensuring that a Queen B candle will burn properly - that is one of our primary differentiators from other beeswax candlemakers.
It has been known for many years the dangers of using lead-based wicks in candles. For this reason, many candle makers began using Zinc-based wicks. However a University of Michigan study has found that lead is still emitted from the zinc-based wick at levels that can exceed EPA air quality standards. Furthermore, many imported candles, particularly from China, still use fully leaden wicks.
So, where are the drawbacks? Why isn't everyone making pure beeswax candles?
The primary reason is the cost. Beeswax as a raw material costs around 50 times the price of paraffin and 20 times the price of soy or palm wax at a wholesale level. Unfortunately, because consumers don't realise that they are burning a petro-chemical or a bleached, hydrogenated oil in their living space, they are reluctant to pay the price of a beeswax candle.
Some basic economics... consider a candle that you currently pay $5 for. With beeswax costing 50 times the price, if we wanted to operate on similar margins, we would need to charge $250 for that candle. And that's before you taken into account that Queen B candles are all made by hand (so our labour costs are high) and are made in Australia (where our wages are somewhat higher than the 41c per hour paid in China). Given we are probably selling that candle for around $25 (and you'll get a burn time of about 10 times longer than the paraffin candles would have burned), you'll see that we work on really fine margins, and that actually a pure beeswax candle gives you pretty good bang for your buck!