SOS // Gem Stories: Lapis

We’re featuring all of the gems used in our new collection on the blog to give you the story and inspiration behind our pieces, accompanied by original drawings from Jessica. Last week we did moonstone, next up is lapis!

Lapis’ full name is Lapis Lazuli, a deep blue semi-precious stone known throughout time for its otherworldly hue. Used in our Col bracelet, the lapis stone is surrounded by mustard yellow and turquoise Japanese glass beads. The stone has been heavily symbolic throughout history, whether it was being mined in what’s now Afghanistan in 7th Millenium BC or in Renaissance frescoes.

Here’s a quick geological breakdown: It’s a rock whose key mineral component is lazurite, with smaller amounts of calcite (white), sodalite (blue) and pyrite (metallic yellow).  For over 6,000 years, lapis lazuli has been found predominantly in the Kokcha Valley of northeast Afghanistan in the Sar-e-Sang mine deposits. It can also be found in Lake Baikal in Russia, the Andes Mountains in Chile, and in very small amounts in the United States.

The qualities of lapis make it an excellent polish, and can be seen in jewelry, vases, mosaics and more. It’s also ground and processed to make a “pigment ultramarine,” widely used during the Renaissance in frescoes and oil paintings. The usage of lapis as a pigment ended in the early 19th century when a synthetic version became available.

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