Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli: The Heavenly Gemstone of Ancient Civilisations

Lapis Lazuli, a gemstone that echoes the vastness of the night sky, has been cherished for its vivid beauty and mesmerising properties for millennia. Its name, derived from the Latin “lapis” (stone) and the Persian “lazhuward” (blue), perfectly encapsulates the spirit of this radiant stone.

 

What is Lapis Lazuli?

Lapis Lazuli is a semi-precious stone, known for its intense, deep-blue colour interspersed with golden flecks of pyrite. Its striking appearance owes much to its complex composition, which includes several minerals, primarily lazurite, calcite, and pyrite. The stone exhibits an incredible lustre and depth, making it a popular choice for jewellery designs.

 

Ancient Legends: Lapis Lazuli in Mythology and Symbolism

Lapis Lazuli has been embraced by various cultures throughout history. Ancient Sumerians, during the rise of their civilisation (c. 4500 – c. 1900 BC), were known to wear Lapis Lazuli amulets for protection and prosperity. They believed in the gemstone’s supposed ability to bring wisdom and truth.

In ancient Egyptian mythology, it was thought that Lapis Lazuli was a favourite gemstone of the gods, valued for its celestial hue. Egyptian nobility often used it in jewellery and scarabs for protection and divine favour.

 

Regal Adornments: Lapis Lazuli in the Courts of Royalty

Queen Cleopatra of Egypt was said to wear Lapis Lazuli for spiritual protection, and Catherine the Great of Russia, who decorated her entire room with this gemstone, have been fascinated by its appeal.

 

Lapis Lazuli Jewellery Pieces in History

The Golden Pectoral from Tolstaya Mogila: A stunning artefact from the Scythian burial mound in Ukraine, this golden pectoral showcases Lapis Lazuli’s beauty. The gemstone is incorporated in the intricate design, creating a breathtaking blend of artistry and opulence.

The Lapis Lazuli Necklace of Queen Cleopatra, displayed at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo: This extraordinary necklace showcases the beauty of lapis lazuli, a gemstone highly prized in ancient Egypt. The necklace features multiple strands of lapis lazuli beads meticulously strung together, with each bead showcasing the stone’s captivating deep blue colour and distinctive golden flecks. The intricate craftsmanship of this lapis lazuli necklace highlights its significance as a symbol of power and luxury in ancient Egyptian culture.

Tutankhamun’s Funeral Mask: Perhaps one of the most famous pieces of historical artwork, the funeral mask of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun is decorated with Lapis Lazuli, among other gemstones. The deep blue of the Lapis Lazuli complements the gold in a truly magnificent display.

 

Lapis Lazuli Jewellery

The versatility of Lapis Lazuli makes it a popular choice for various types of jewellery, including traditional and contemporary rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. It is reasonably durable, with a rating of 5 to 5.5 on the Mohs scale. High-grade Lapis Lazuli is often set in gold, while lower-grade Lapis Lazuli might be set in silver.

High-grade Lapis Lazuli typically exhibits a rich, deep, and consistent blue colour with flecks of gold pyrite, while lower-grade Lapis Lazuli tends to have a paler hue with larger patches of white calcite. To differentiate between the two, closely examine the gemstone’s colour intensity, texture, and overall aesthetic appeal.

Rings: Lapis Lazuli rings, often set in gold or silver, convey an exotic and elegant look. The gemstone is frequently cut into cabochon shapes to highlight its colour and mineral inclusions.

Necklaces: Lapis Lazuli pendants and necklaces offer an attractive focal point, with the gemstone’s colour complementing a wide range of skin tones. Designers often use accent gold or other gemstones to enhance the beauty of Lapis Lazuli centrepieces.

Earrings: Lapis Lazuli earrings can range from simple studs to elaborate drop designs. The gemstone’s intense colour adds a touch of sophistication and exotic allure to any outfit.

Bracelets: Lapis Lazuli bracelets often showcase the gemstone’s striking colour in a variety of styles, such as beaded bracelets, charm bracelets, or cuff designs.

 

The Magic of Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli is a gemstone that emanates wisdom and truth. Its rich blue tones and fascinating history make it a popular choice in the realm of jewellery. Whether set in a bold ring or an elaborate necklace, the allure of Lapis Lazuli is undeniable, making it a prized addition to any jewellery collection. Its mystical properties are believed to stimulate enlightenment and self-awareness, promoting intellectual clarity and emotional tranquillity.

Unique Contemporary Lapis Lazuli Jewellery by Paris Argentina