Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Queen B Candles

Queen B Zebra rolled beeswax candles

Top left - Poured solid pillar candles with Queen B's distinctive stamp at the base, top right - gorgeous glass votives, bottom - 9-hr tealights - individually hand-poured from a teapot! (truly!)

You learn a new thing everyday. Last week I learnt that over 95% of candles are made from paraffin - a petroleum by-product. Clearly, I am no expert, but essentially, what this means, is that burning paraffin candles in your home actually emits a teeny tiny toxic emission, much like the emissions that come from a car exhaust! Inside your home!? Shocking!

Sydney-based company Queen B use 100% pure Australian beeswax to make their handmade candles - the highest quality beeswax in the world. Natural beeswax burns completely cleanly - (ie drip-free), and emits no toxic 'black' smoke which can stain walls and surfaces, and pollute your home. In fact, burning natural beeswax candles actually purifies the air within your home, through a seemingly magical process of natural ionisation. Amazing!

Queen B makes an amazing variety of beeswax candles... plain or painted, hand-poured or hand-rolled. I am coveting their gorgeous little votive candles... and am also feeling awfully guilty about having a bottom drawer full of IKEA tealights, which I should probably replace quick-smart with Queen B's 9-hr tealight set!

Of course natural beeswax is a lot more expensive than paraffin, so it can be really difficult to find candle manufacturers who choose to make their candles this way. Queen B is certainly in the minority! Although they're more expensive, beeswax candles do burn up to ten times longer than their petro-chemical counter parts... and they emit a deliciously subtle honey scent which no amount of artificial perfume could ever match!

Queen B's best value candles are their simple hand-rolled honeycomb candles. Beautiful.

Oh, and if you're crafty, Queen B also do lovely candle making supplies... an option which appears to be a lot more cost effective than buying the pre-made variety...? (Assuming you already own an enamel teapot!)

Hmmm... I am now seriously considering making myself 100 x 9-hr tealight candles. Is that crazy? Do I have TIME for another side-project??


  1. I sure would like to have the honeycumb candles!

  2. I adore these candles. I was given one a year or so ago and had forgotten all about them! Thanks for the reminder Lucy.

  3. How cool is that chevronesque hand painted number! Still I'm not sure I could ever burn it.

  4. Yeah, I have drooled over their site.. the cost so far has been a hurdle.. and also, I have been wondering about the whole bees declining thing.. if there are massively declining bee populations left on earth, are we making that worse by consuming beeswax in the form of candles and other non essentials? I would love to see this question addressed on their site, as deep down, I would really like to buy some of these gorgeous candles.

  5. great write up Lucy, another good alternative that is environmentally friendly and burns clean is soy wax, which a lot of candles are being made out of these days

  6. Hi Kelly,

    Cate here - Queen Bee at Queen B!

    I just wanted to address your question about the declining bee numbers and whether our using pure beeswax to make our candles would affect the bees...

    Actually the Australian beekeeping industry is in remarkably good shape (particularly when you consider that we have been in drought for over 9 years).

    There are two problems affecting bees globally (not in Australia). The first is the varroa mite - which is a mite that kills the 'European honeybee'. It is decimating bee populations globally and at this stage Australia is the only country free from the varroa mite.

    The second problem is 'Colony Collapse Disorder' or 'Disappearing Bee Syndrome' whereby entire colonies of bees (up to 90% of hives) are just disappearing. This is a huge issue in the US and Europe and Australia is now exporting millions of bees to these countries.

    We should be really proud of our Australian beekeepers. Whilst I could import NZ beeswax and save around 30% on the price that I pay for Australian beeswax, I choose to pay more to support Australian beekeepers.

    Beeswax is a by-product of harvesting honey. It can be used to make candles and is bought in large volumes by pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic companies. Removing it from the hive doesn't harm the bees. In fact my personal theory on why the Australian industry is in such good shape is because our beekeepers realise that if they don't look after their bees, they won't have a business. In the US, beekeepers will take all the honey from a hive and feed the bees corn syrup or sugar water. They also feed them 'pollen cakes' rather than leaving pollen for them or putting them on a pollen flow to stock up.

    Thanks for your suggestion to put some of this on my website - I'll do just that. It is something I have thought long and hard about and I am very comfortable that ethically we produce a product which is completely uncompromised.



  7. Oh, and just another quick word on Imogen's comment that soy is 'environmentally friendly and burns clean'... actually not true. Sorry - that's just their marketing.

    There is more in-depth information and links to research on this subject in the Living Wisdom article on the Queen B home page.