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Lapis Lazuli

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Clues in Blue - Lapis Necklaces!

Intense blue with gorgeous metallic flecks, lapis are perhaps the oldest mined gemstones across cultures and continents. Lapis beads were discovered in the ruins of the ancient Indus Valley civilization of South Asia as well as in the Egyptian tombs of pharaohs. In fact, on King Tutankhamun’s funeral mask, the eyebrows and other features had been made of lapis. In the Middle Ages, lapis began to be exported to Europe where it was used as pigment for paintings and for cosmetic purposes.

Afghanistan was and remains the chief producer of lapis since the ancient times. This gemstone ranks as a softer gemstone – 5.0-5.5 – on the Mohs Scale, so it is easy to grind it up to be used in pigments. It is believed that lapis was first mined in 6000 BC in Afghanistan. The Romans used it as an aphrodisiac, while elsewhere it began to be used for ornamental purposes; it looks beautiful when carved into vases and figurines. The name lapis itself comes from the Latin word “lapis,” meaning stone, and from the Arabic word “azul,” meaning blue. The word “Azure” is derived from this Arabic word. Who knew!

Lapis is thought to be an excellent gemstone for creative people as well as for intellectuals and problem solvers. Our collection includes beautiful pieces from Gems en VogueGem Insider and Toscana Italiana Jewelry. Do check ‘em out. We know you’ll love them all!