A large pedestal bowl made in Italy of carved white, gray, and cream veined alabaster. The bowl measures 10 5/8" across the rim, 4 1/2" across the square pedestal base, 7 1/2" high, and over 7 pounds. These decorative baths traditionally have three little marble birds around the rim, but they are no longer with this piece and the little holes have been closed. The condition is good, with some little dings to the alabaster, indicative of age and handling, but otherwise has no cracks, chips, or repairs.
Alabaster is a word often used to describe both gypsum (hydrous sulfate of calcium) and calcite (carbonate of calcium). Gypsum alabaster is a light, nearly white-colored stone so soft that you can scratch it with your fingernail whereas calcite is much harder. The calcite variety is also known as onyx, which is a banded variety of the oxide mineral chalcedony, a member of the quartz family. Agate and onyx are both varieties of layered chalcedony but differ in the form of the layered bands embedded in the stone. Agate has ringlike, circular, asymmetrical bands and onyx has parallel bands.