Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Gemstones from the ages - Lapis Lazuli

I have always thought of myself as an earth tones kind of girl (carnelians and garnets), but of late I have found myself drawn to the gemstone lapis lazuli - a prized stone which has been used to make jewelry and amulets for thousands of years. The fact that it has been around since antiquity, and of course, the intense blue color attract me to this beautiful stone. The name lapis lazuli (or lapis) is derived from the Persian word "lazur," meaning blue stone. Lapis lazuli is composed of lazurite  and specks of yellow pyrite. When polished, the dull blue becomes a beautiful shade of rich ultramarine, and the bits of pyrite give out a golden shimmer.

Raw lapis stones are a dull blue

Lapis Lazuli pendants set in silver

Historically, lapis was a stone of royalty. The Egyptians regarded it as heavenly and used it in statues of gods and burial masks. The famous gold mask of King Tut has lapis lazuli which imitates kohl around his eyes. Most lapis is mined in Afghanistan, Russia, and Chile, and smaller amounts come from Italy, Mongolia, Canada and the US.

Renaissance artists used ground lapis to make ultramarine - the finest of blue pigments. In the world famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring Dutch painter Vermeer used ground lapis for the brilliant blues of her headband. (circa 1665)

Lapis was also used in the ornate carvings in the Taj Mahal. Visiting tourists’ eyes are drawn to the nearby bazaars selling marble plates and boxes with lapis inlays - I couldn’t resist buying one! 

Lapis lazuli used in inlays in the Taj Mahal

Marble plate with lapis lazuli sold outside Taj Mahal
In Ayurveda and yoga, lapis is considered to be a celestial stone which strengthens the body and mind with its healing properties. Lapis is also said to help open the throat chakra - a center for creativity and self-expression.

Ultramarine blue oval lapis pendant

Lapis lazuli is truly a stone for queens and creativity. Wear lapis today, increase your inner strength, contribute to a long, rich history, and, of course, enjoy the color! Check out Kate Middleton wearing lapis and diamond earrings during her recent trip to India (April 2016) and checkout Mayil' lapis collection. Enjoy the tiny points of golden light shining through!

The book of chakra healing - Liz Simpson
King Tuts mask, Vermeer painting and Kate Middleton - Google images
All other images are copyright of Mayil