Mineral Guide > Precious Stones > Ornamental gem stones > Alabaster gem stone

Alabaster gem stone

The term alabaster is derived from a kind of ointment vases called alabastra which the Egyptians and peoples of a later period were accustomed to carve out of stone. This stone was largely a stalagmitic calcite obtained at Thebes, but it is probable that gypsum was also used to some extent. At the present time the term is used loosely for either of these minerals when employed for the manufacture of ornamental objects, although stalagmitic calcite is now more generally designated as onyx.