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GRADING


Ha’LEVONAH’s frankincense
is Omani Boswellia sacra.


BOSWELLIA SPECIES

There are only 4 main Boswellia (Frankincense) species of trees which produce true frankincense resin:

Boswellia sacra Native to Oman.
The frankincense trees in Oman produce the finest resin in the world, favored for their aromatic and medicinal properties, and considered to be the source of the Biblical frankincense.

Boswellia carterii Found in Somalia, Africa, and Yemen.

Boswellia freraena Native to northern Somalia, Africa.
B. freraena, being inferior quality to B. sacra, is less expensive, and does not contain boswellic acid or incensole acetate.

Boswellia serrata or thurifera Native to India.
Aroma considered far inferior quality to B. sacra
and B. freraena; distinct orange citrus aroma; probably Olibanum.



HARVESTING

Only 2 tribes are permitted to harvest frankincense in Oman: the Bait Kathir and al-Mahra tribes, who “inherit” their trees from one generation to the next, and are experts in the skill required not to harm the tree in the harvesting process. Harvesting occurs January through March, when darker resin is collected, and after the Indian monsoon season in August through October, when whiter resin is collected (closer to Autumn).

Our supplier indicates that its
Boswellia sacra source trees are wild, and
frankincense resins are organic.


Only when a frankincense tree has reached maturity of 8-10 years can its resin be harvested. Frankincense harvesters cut a half-dozen shallow cuts in the bark away from the wind, from which a milky white sap seeps call luban or shahaz. The 1st cut is to open the pours of the tree and release impurities in the wood. The 1st resins are left to dry for about 10 days, but not collected. The harvesters then return and make a 2nd cut, which is also left to dry on the tree. The harvesters return, collect the resin from the 2nd cut, and make a 3rd cut. Each cut yields more resin than the last, being more potent and aromatic. The highest grades of resin are those which do not run down the tree, as that which does becomes more contaminated picking up debris. After the frankincense has dried, the resins are transported via camel caravans, then vehicles to market. Each tree produces only about 2.2 lbs (1 kilo) of frankincense resin per year.










Age of Tree Resin Quality Resin Appearance
Young Best Bone white, also with blue, green, yellow and/or light amber tints.
Mature Good Translucent
Old Low Almost clear-glutinous liquid of low quality, darker amber, or reddish in color. These resins have high oil content and are sought out for incense oil production.


Once harvested, the frankincense resin is stored for about 12 weeks to harden.


GRADING THE RESINS

The harvesters then loosely grade the resin and set aside the highest grade of Royal Hojari (frankincense) to be purchased by his Majesty Sultan Quaboos of Oman.

Frankincense grading and checking for impurities is performed by holding the resin up to white light. Store frankincense at room temperature (59°F - 86°F) keeping it away from heat, light, and moisture.

The following table lists various grades of frankincense. You will find them at our SHOPPING tab as they become available to us.



<!—Table - Grades of Resin -->








Royal (“Fosos”) Hojari Solid bone white resin with bluish or greenish tint. Also bone white. Bone white resin with bluish tint commands the highest price (reserved for his Majesty Sultan Quaboos of Oman); next, that with a greenish tint, then with yellow/light amber tints. Royal Hojari is harvested from the Najd region close to the Samhan mountains in the east, and is prized for its rare and ancient scent. The further away from sea the trees are, the higher the quality frankincense.
Superior (“Fusoos”) Hojari Green and pale lemon Beautiful hints of lemon to lemony-lime citrus aromas. Superior Hojari is the choice of grades for those who use frankincense for homeopathic purposes.
Shazri Hojari Mixed ambers, yellow, green and white. Used for incense only.
Najd Hojari Beautiful opalescent hints of rose, green, or amber. Used for incense only.
Sha’abi Hojari Black and brown. Black and brown resins, often clumped and sticking together. Sha’abi is harvested from trees close to the sea, and is considered of inferior quality for use as incense, however, it is the preferred resin for oil production due to high concentration of incense oils.