Swazi Candles, situated in the Malkerns Valley in the Kingdom of Swaziland, has been producing fine handmade candles since 1981.
The artists and craftsmen produce unique candle designs which are reknowned throughout the world. Their Philosophy is to create unique handmade candles of exceptional quality in a happy working environment. Today the candles are world famous, and each is still made and finished by hand and no two are the same!
Tony Marshak, the founder of the innovative craft shop, says that although there are Chinese imitations of Swazi Candles made cheaper by machines, there is no substitute for the human touch. With pride, everything is handmade and hand finished. "If you've got a good product, and you treat your staff well, you can't go wrong," says Tony.
Abraham Mnzebele started working for Swazi Candles in April 1989. He began as pattern maker but after two years he showed promise and developed great skills shaping the wax into many different forms and today is regarded as a Master Candle maker. He has been invited to Europe three times to various craft exhibitions to demonstrate his skills.
Dudu Mabuza was born in Swaziland and started working for Swazi Candles in 1990. She specializes in making geometric shapes and smaller animal candles.
The highly decorative Swazi Candles are hand-made in the small African Kingdom of Swaziland using the age-old technique "millefiore".
Millefiore, or "thousand flowers", first surfaced in ancient 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 and valuable artifacts.
On the African 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 today 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. Hence the rich, romantic glow of the illuminated exterior as the candle burns, and the burn-again quality when refitted with the votive or tea candle. (Mini sizes do not burn in this manner, yet retain their intrinsic value as works of Swazi craft.)
Swazi Candles are reburnable. Candles remain beautifully intact during countless burnings. The hard outer pattern wax allows reburning simply by inserting a votive or Tea light candle in the well created by the melting soft inner wax after it has burned down to a depth greater than the height of a tea light or votive.
The Swazi Artisans are able to create these long lasting hand crafted works of art in wax by using a soft wax interior of the finest imported paraffin, covered by a hard wax veneer through which the burning flame from within lights the intricate designs.
During each burning a well is formed providing a place to put a scented tea or votive candle. Now your Swazi Candle is ready to be reburned.
Swazi Handmade Candles take advantage of the finest braided lead-free cotton wicks so your candles will burn evenly, cleanly and brightly. The wick of your new candle will arrive trimmed to the proper height. Trim your decorative candle wicks to between 1/4" and 1/2" before each lighting. A short candle wick produces a smaller more controlled smoke free flame. Snip the excess after each use to get rid of black buildup on the tip, which causes the wick to bend and the wax to melt unevenly. Never leave wick trimmings in the candle.