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 to announce: “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, transforming it into the intense blue ultramarine, the most expensive of all blue pigments, second only to gold.
Ultramarine was highly sought as a pigment by renowned artists, who used the intensity of this magnificent blue to paint their model’s robes and clothing.
In 1665, ultramarine was used to paint the turban for the iconic image, “The Girl with a Pearl Earring”.
Trust a Queen…
The beautiful Cleopatra even ground the Lapis for use as her royal eye shadow. On her upper eyelids, the gold flecks of pyrite found in the Lapis stone added to her allure. Both she and the ancient Egyptians used the intense blue of the lapis stone to help protect them from the burning haze of the bright desert sun.
Not only was Lapis used for cosmetics, but it was also prized by the Egyptians who used it to craft intricate jewelry, including amulets, pendants, and beads.
Lapis was even believed to possess strong powers that protected its wearer from the infamous evil eye.
Lapis is ageless and timeless, with a contemporary feel traversing centuries. As a regal stone, the saturation of its deep blue color plays well with gold or silver. And with its incredible history, there appears to be no end to its role as an indispensable contributor to today’s fashion industry.