The Source of Salt Lamps
Salt crystal products can come from various sources around the globe, but the finest quality salt comes from certain areas and mines within the Himalayan foothills of Pakistan. Discovery of this salt was made around 327 B.C., in the time of Alexander the Great and this material has a long and storied history ranging from a source of bitter warfare to a form of currency and much more. In 1872, the British Empire began industrial mining following the excavation of a main arterial tunnel, directed by Dr. H Warth, a respected British mining engineer. The tunnel allowed direct, easy access to salt deposits and increased production.
- Khewra Salt Mines
The oldest and largest salt mine in the entire region, Khewra is also a popular tourist attraction. There are over 25 miles of developed length, combining all 18 working levels and divergent tunnels. The salt crystal in this mine varies from dark red, reddish, pink, white, and even transparent. There are places within the mine with stunning bands of alternating colors that, of course, only Nature can create. The thickness of the whole salt layer is cumulatively 150m, between seven individual strata of salt crystal layered in an asymmetrical dome-type of structure. While mining, half of the salt is left as pillars within the many chambers; known as "room-and-pillar" method. Unfortunately, the Khewra mining process involves using explosives, which both causes numerous accidents and safety issues; also destroys the crystalline integrity of the crystal and disrespects the environment. Even more, working and living conditions for miners and their families here are notoriously awful.
- Kalabagh Salt Mines
The Kalabagh mines are found along the Indus River, near the village known as Wanda Kukranwala. One will find 13 different types of salt strata, all colors in various shades. Room-and-pillar method mining is still manually done here with some individual chambers more than than 260 feet in depth! This also happens to be our primary source mine.
- Warcha Salt Mines
The salt deposit in this mine is very crystalline and transparent, making it very popular for fine, edible, flowing salt used for cooking and dining. This occurs as another dome-like structure, although broken, and the salt crystal is white and pink for the most part. Room-and-pillar mining method used here too.
- Jatta/Bahadurkheil Salt Mines
The Jatta salt mines are the youngest of our quartet. According to the geological horizon, it dates to the Tertiary period (26 to 66 million years ago), however there is still some debate to it's exact time of formation. The salt of this mine ranges from white to light/dark gray. These are often considered blue in color; and as lamps, these emit less light due to density and color; appearing in varied shades of blue, green, white, and yellow.
Coloring of salt crystal is allopathic and determined by mineral content. Red is created by iron, yellow is from magnesium. It is the mixture of these which creates our lamps' orange, fiery colors; as well as pale yellows, soft peach, and apricot shades with inclusion of more white/transparent crystal. Our salt crystal has excellent transparency, something very few sellers offer - though claim otherwise. Increased transparency makes for vibrant, rich color in a salt lamp, whether on or off.
The Origin of Salt Lamps: The Mines
The mine workers and craftspeople are all masters in their trade, and all receive the top-notch salaries and health benefits. Children and under-age workers are never hired to cut costs. In fact, under Pakistani labor laws, child labor is illegal; with wage enforcement, working conditions, and safety regulations also covered under national law. All salt mines are regulated, whether a listed Fair Trade commodity or not.
Mining by hand is both painstaking and expensive, but such natural power should be intact for optimal energy levels, rather than using dynamite and what seems remarkably like "labor camps" for higher production output; output levels reached at the expense of product quality and human safety.
The miners who daily make the journey of up to 1500 meters into the earth to bring forth this planet's most potent mineral, are as healthy as can be. It is indeed their livelihood that also keeps them very healthy and youthful, and many continue the back-breaking hand-mining work well into their sixties. Most of these people have never been ill and have never visited a doctor. Salt mining in this region is often a family-oriented business, having been passed down through the generations for hundreds of years..possibly longer.
Prices vary with these lamps on the Internet. This is based on quality of the salt mine and reputation of the manufacturer. Cheaper import prices are usually available for rock salt crystal originating from areas of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. These lamps are quite appealing as well; but, in our opinion, do not compare in quality.
It was great fortune for us to partner with a smaller mining/manufacturing company that has a superior level of quality salt crystal rock; because we're now aware of exporters who do not differentiate with salt quality and focus on the "good price", instead of using an electrical switch that works beyond a month or so... using brass or galvanized screws since salt attracts moisture which corrodes untreated hardware.
We keep high standards on what is placed in our cargo containers, our friends and suppliers overseas know this. There is no compromising with quality, which is why every lamp and electical cord is inspected and tested prior to being bagged, boxed, and sailing the ocean blue; and again fully tested before shipping an order from our warehouse.
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