Gemstone of the Month: Lapis Lazuli

July 05, 2017 Allison Bray

Photo source

Lapis Lazuli is a metamorphic rock with an impressive pedigree. It was first mined in the Middle East as early as 7000 BC. From there its popularity grew and lapis lazuli beads have been found at Neolithic burial sites across the region.

Many thousands of years later, in the 14th and 15th century, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe. In addition to being used for antiquities and jewellery, the Europeans became very fond of the alternative use for this gem: paint. Lapis lazuli was ground down into a powder to create ultramarine, a high quality and highly expensive blue pigment. 

Ultramarine was used by many Renaissance and Baroque artists including Vermeer, Perugino and Sassoferrato. As it was ruinously expensive, it was only used for the most dramatic and important of purposes. 

Worn best with… 

We think the rich blue of lapis lazuli looks particularly good when paired with cool silver tones. If you want to pair your lapis pieces with another gemstone, our advice would be to go classic with diamonds.

Best suited to… 

The texture of the gem lends itself well to both formal and casual occasions, though do be warned: this is the kind of gem that draws attention wherever it goes! We love lapis lazuli in statement pieced, be they cocktail rings, chunky necklaces, quirky brooches or chandelier-style earrings. 

Famous Lapis Lazuli… 

Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring wears a headscarf painted with ultramarine, the natural blue pigment made from crushed lapis lazuli. 

Lapis lazuli was used in the iconic funeral mask for Pharaoh Tutankhamen around 1323 BC.  

More inspiration… 

Lapis Ring | Celtic Lapis Lazuli Drops | Lapis Drops | Cubed Lapis Lazuli Earrings with Silver | Cubed Lapis Lazuli Necklace with Silver | Tear Drop Earrings




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