Highest quality oils from Israel protected in a cobalt blue bottle.

In Biblical times, the ingredients for anointing oils were expensive. Many of them, such as spikenard, came from India and Nepal on the other side of the globe. An important consideration for anointing oils and perfumes in antiquity was the container to hold the precious liquid during transport and between uses.

Early on, the Egyptians pioneered making containers out of alabaster stone, known as alabastron. These bottles spread throughout the Mediterranean and the world. According to the Bible, an alabastron was what held the spikenard that Mary poured on Jesus’ head in Bethany.

The alabastron were handmade and valuable works of art in many cases. This makes Mary’s decision to break it even more surprising and powerful. The bottle was broken, just as Jesus’ body would be broken shortly thereafter. The fragrance was poured out, just as Jesus’ blood would soon be shed on Calvary.

Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; ( James 5:14)

Later on, the containers began to also be made from glass. Indeed, many beautiful examples of fragile, colored glass anointing oil containers have survived from antiquity. The knowledge of how to make bottles of stone, and then later colored glass, revolutionized the making and shipment of anointing oils and perfumes.

Unlike vessels of pottery, the stone and glass bottles would not react chemically with the liquids inside them and alter their scent. In addition, the stone and colored glass containers would keep the precious liquids cool and sheltered from the light, which can damage them.

In modern times, anointing oils are frequently sold in cobalt blue bottles. While the production of cobalt glass did exist in antiquity, the arduous process was not refined until the Middle Ages. It is the modern equivalent of the ancient alabastron. These blue bottles act just as the ancient alabaster bottles did and protect the valuable liquids from damaging light and UV rays.

Sunlight and UV rays can degrade perfumes and oils quite quickly by breaking down the chemical bonds that causes scent. However, cobalt blue bottles shield their contents from these dangers. It is for this reason that Zak’s Jerusalem Gifts offers various Biblical anointing oils in cobalt blue bottles. These cobalt blue bottles allow the anointing oils they contain to be safely stored for extended periods of time.