Traditionally, the raw material for the plasterwork decorations at the Alhambra was obtained near Granada at the quarries in Gabia la Grande. This was an excellent source of algeb or gypsum stone, of which there was a particular abundance of the alabaster variety, a very pure, white type of gypsum which offers excellent results for carved plaster work. The first decorative works in plaster were made by carving directly on a wall that had been coated with plaster.
The plasterwork technique using moulds appeared in the Nasrid period. This saved the craftsmen a lot of time as they were able to repeat the decorations and make them more complex with smaller, more varied motifs.