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What is a Spice Besamin and How is it Crafted?

Jun 26, 2008
Havdalah is accompanied by the Spice Besamim or spice box. Spice Besamim have always been in various forms of sizes and shapes. The original materials for crafting spice boxes varies from wood, to glass, brass, gold and silver. The well known world auctions of Christi's and Sotheby's are two of several ways for purchasing antique Spice Besamim. The price of rare antique Spice Besamim can vary greatly in the asking price. If desiring a less rare, but yet just as uniquely designed Spice Besamim, there are many websites that sell very beautifully crafted and high in quality Spice Besamim items.

The Jewish religion and culture is rich with many traditions, ritual practices and celebratory items that directly express the uniqueness of the yearly rituals. One of the many ritual acts of the Jewish religious practice of Havdalah. Havdalah is accompanied by the Spice Besamim or spice box. Inside the Synagogue, the Spice Besamim contains sweet-smelling herbs and spices of cinnamon sticks, cloves and anise, all mixed for passing around during the ceremony. The aroma is a reminder of the sweetness of Shabbat that is to be remembered throughout that week of Havdalah.

Spice Besamim have always been in various forms of sizes and shapes. The original materials for crafting spice boxes varies from wood, to glass, brass, gold and silver. The many designs have ranged from flowers to miniature trains and onto one of the most popular that began around the 16th century, which was the representation of a tower. There are several variations of tower formations, but they all were of the same representation and purpose. The tower-shaped Spice Besamim of this time period originated for the representation of showing the strength, security, military force and was of religious honors by the Jewish people. These original Spice Besamim towers carried directly strong associations between the tower representing the Holy Temple, remembrance of salvation and the Messiah.

The few antique Spice Besamim that have existed even today after surviving Jewish peoples' turbulent history were made of silver, gold and brass. While they come in variations of different designs made of Faberge, filigree and precious jewels. Although most of the antique Spice Besamim are preserved throughout museums around the world, there are some still accessible for purchasing in today's market. The well known world auctions of Christi's and Sotheby's are two of several ways for purchasing antique Spice Besamim. The price of rare antique Spice Besamim can vary greatly in the asking price. The ranges can be from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars, all depending on the specific materials the spice box is made of and the antique rarity and age of each individual item offered.

If desiring a less rare, but yet just as uniquely designed Spice Besamim, there are many websites that sell very beautifully crafted and high in quality Spice Besamim items. For new authentic spice boxes, it is best to search for those sites that deal only in spice boxes made in Israel. The prices will be reasonably priced with the high quality of the craftsmanship, which will make the few extra dollars worth letting go of in the end.
About the Author
Anita Satin Choudhary writes for Ivory and Art Gallery. Browse the gallery for unique collection of artifacts ranging from Silver Judaica to Mammoth ivory netsukes and Silver Art
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