This material, known as Galalith is a historic synthetic plastic material produced by the interaction of casein (a milk protein) and formaldehyde. Invented in 1893 and first commercially produced in 1900, its trade name is derived from the Greek words gala (milk) and lithos (stone). It is odourless, insoluble in water, biodegradable, non-allergenic, antistatic and virtually nonflammable. Talk about environmentally friendly and sustainable. It also is a joy to work with and polishes up to a lovely transparent deep sheen. What’s not to like? And, true to its heritage and composition, Galalith’s tone is slightly mellower and rounded than that produced by its more recent brethren Kirinite, Juma, and epoxy resin, but offers great clarity and definition.
Galalith comes in many colours and patterns. The modern manufacture of Galalith is still very much alive, in the jewellery and hobby segment, and in the manufacture of Rosary beads. NOS (New Old Stock) material can also occasionally still be found. Mechanically the new and old manufacture Galaliths are 100% similar, whereas visually the NOS material tends to be more subtle and refined in its patterning.
This strikingly pebbled Galalith is of modern manufacture.
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