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Curio Noir

Naturally scented candles in beautiful hand-blown glass

by Kelly O'Reilly in Design on 24 April 2012

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The aptly named line of candles, cloth and curiosities from New Zealand-based Curio Noir ranges from the vaguely sinister Lilith Doll candles in the shape of a baby's head to woven linen napkins with floral line art, but we were most captivated by the carefully scented biodegradable botanical wax candles in hand-blown glass.

Certainly some may see the candle as little more than the go-to generic gift item, or perhaps a collectible for others based on a favorite fragrance, but it's rare for the home staple's packaging—in this case gorgeously simple, thick, rounded glass jars handcrafted by a classically trained Venetian glass blower in Auckland—to get as much attention as the product within. "Meticulous hands and eyes are at the heart of Curio Noir," says founder Tiffany Jeans, who broke down the thoughtful process behind each piece.

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Can you explain how the glass containers are made?

I have had a fascination with glass for a long time. Until the 19th century glass blowing was the main technique of hot working glass. Air is blown through a hollow blow-pipe to inflate a mass of molten glass gathered at the end. In this nearly liquid state a blob of glass can be formed in to a bubble that can then be reshaped, layered or decorated by other means. Glass blowing requires speed, strength and dexterity. The classic technique of glass blowing is used for each piece from the Curio Glass range, one piece at a time, making them truly individual, unique objects of art. We use a mold and then once the glass is out we have another piece of glass added to the surface where the Curio Noir stamp is applied. To turn glass batch in to glass, it gets melted at 1300 degrees Celsius over the course of a day. Once it has cooled to 1100 degrees the glass is ready to be worked.

How do you get colored glass?

To make our colored glass, metal oxides are added in powdered form to the raw batch before it is heated. Luke, my glass blower, makes his own colors from scratch so to have maximum control over the end product. As these are also made in small batches there are slight variants in color tones within a range, which I love, as this shows these are not factory pieces. Once a piece of glass is finished it is left to cool for many hours.

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How are the candles scented?

The candles are scented with perfume which is made in small batches mixed in Grasse, France. We currently have Vetyver Bouquet with notes of cypress, jasmine, orange flower and vetyver; Black Spice with notes of aniseed, cinnamon, nutmeg and fresh tea leaves; Chypre Gardenia with notes of gardenia, violet, musks and iris; and Tubereuse Noir with notes of tuberose, violet, heliotrope and spices.

The entire Curio Noir collection is available at select boutiques in New Zealand, Australia and online.

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