Apis Cera, Latin for beeswax, lists a singular ambition of restoring candles to their former glory. You may recall a round up of paraffin alternatives in our eco-friendly guide to candle burning. Founder Charles van Valkenburg will happily wax lyrical on why you should opt for keeping bees in business, ‘Did you know you could eat beeswax? It’s a food additive (E901) check on the back of candy packages.’ His selection of candles and soaps are handmade, ideal for uplifting your room and your soul.
Tell us a little about Apis Cera!
– I created Apis Cera in 2012 in Paris, France. I always adored bees and honey. Beeswax is also an incredible material; it’s natural, pure and can be used for many, many things. I like to say that I’m my first customer! Recently I moved to Provence, south of France, but I’m not a beekeeper yet. I buy my beeswax from my many beekeeper friends and I am planning to start having hives in 2019.
How does beeswax compare to other paraffin alternatives, such as soy wax, rapeseed wax or coconut wax?
– Beeswax is basically the best wax there is – it’s pure, it cleanses the air (by releasing negative ions in the air) and there is no harm done to anyone when extracting it since you have to uncap the honey cells to extract the honey already.
– Paraffin on the other hand is a petroleum based wax and I wouldn’t recommend anyone burning petroleum in their home. As for the other waxes, they are less harmful, but it’s the way they are planted (lots of GMO’s and water needed) and all the energy necessary to create this [so called] ‘clean’ wax. I prefer to choose nature’s readymade wax, beeswax!
It’s wonderful to see a spotlight on beekeepers.
– One of my best friends from university, Audric de Campeau, is a beekeeper in Paris, France. He has his hives on top of Paris most famous buildings; Musée d’Orsay, École Militaire, Académie Française, Ministère de l’Intérieur, Place Vendôme and soon Versailles and Notre Dame!
– His honey is very clean because Paris only use organic products in their gardens and parks (since 1990) plus it’s also an ‘exotic’ product due to the density and variety of ‘non-native’ flower species, including the ‘pagoda tree’, the ‘tree of heaven’, the silver lime (Tilia Tomentosa), the Crimean lime (Tilia Euchlora), Mahonias, Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum). His brand Le Miel de Paris is sold in very limited quantities all around the world. We will soon collaborate and make a candle with beeswax extracted from his Parisian beehives!
What do you wish more people knew or understood better about bees and beeswax?
– I wish people knew that paraffin wax is very toxic for your home. Yes it costs next to nothing but it’s highly dangerous for your health. On the other hand beeswax is pricier but you really get what you pay for – quality and a healthy candle.
– And again, the beeswax used in my candles is, as it’s straight from the beehive, no colors added, no fragrances, not cut with other waxes, it’s 100% pure and that should be your main concern when buying a good candle.
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