Lapis Lazuli has always mesmerized me. Looking at the gold matrix that runs through the deepness of the stone’s blue hue, I love the way it gleams with richness, history and majesty. Lapis has weight, presence, and speaks of the ages. It’s a stone of history and tradition, treasured and adored — how could one not be in love? Holding a Lapis stone in my hand, I’m drawn into it.
Lapis Through the Ages
As I caress my stone and I wonder about its distant relatives that date back to more than 6500 years, to the ancient times of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Greece and Rome. The family of the Lapis Lazuli is absolutely eye catching. It takes my breath away, as if it walked into a room and announced, “I am here”. Not surprisingly this extraordinary blue rock has been prized through the ages for its fierce color. Going back as far to the 7th millennium BC, the stone was mined in the regions of northeast Afghanistan. The name is derived from the Persian word, lazhward, meaning “blue.”
Naturally, the love of Lapis expanded beyond Afghanistan, and was exported as far as South Asia and Europe at the end of the middle ages. One incredible idea was to ground Lapis into a fine powder, turning it into an intense blue color of ultramarine, the most expensive of all blue pigments, second only to gold. Ultramarine was highly sought as a pigment by renowned artists, using the intensity of this magnificent hue to paint their model’s robes and clothing. In 1665, ultramarine was used to paint the turban for the icon image, “The Girl with a Pearl Earring”.
Trust a Queen…
The beautiful Cleopatra ground the Lapis to use it as eye shadow, on her upper eyelids, the gold flecks of pyrite found in the Lapis stone was a not only practical, but stunning. Just imagine how the color would catch the light. Both she and the ancient Egyptians used the strong blue of the Lapis to help protect them from the burning haze of the bright dessert sun.
Not only was Lapis used for cosmetics, the Egyptians prized the stone, using it to craft jewelry, amulets, pendants and beads. Lapis was believed to hold strong powers, protecting the wearer from the evil eye. Lapis is ageless, timeless and has a contemporary feel that can be used in any century. The saturation of the concentrated blue color plays well with gold or silver. Lapis is a regal stone, with an incredible history, and timeless for today’s fashion wardrobe.