Lapis Lazuli is a metamorphic rock that is a rich medium to royal blue with gold flecks. The name, “Lapis Lazuli” comes from the Latin word “lapis,” meaning stone, and the Persian word “lazhuward,” meaning blue. The Lapis Lazuli, which is also called Lapis, has been one of the most sought after stones for thousands of years. This gorgeous rock has been used as a gemstone, sculpting material, and ornamental material since ancient times.
Mining for Lapis Lazuli has occurred in northeastern Afghanistan since 7000 BC. This blue and gold rock was used to make beads, small sculptures, and jewelry. Similar Lapis items have been found in Iraq and Pakistan dating back to 3000 BC. Lapis Lazuli was a highly prized tribute paid to Egypt. The Egyptians used these stones as burial ornaments for their pharaohs and queens. Lapis was also used in scarabs, pendants, and jewelry, and ground into a powder to make dyes, eye shadow, and medicinal elixirs. In ancient times and more recent ones, Lapis Lazuli was highly regarded because of the beautiful ultramarine dye that was made from it. Master painters, including Michelangelo, favored this expensive pigment. Vincent Van Gogh used ultramarine to create The Starry Night and Johannes Vermeer used this pigment in Girl with a Pearl Earring.
There are many legends and symbolic meanings of Lapis Lazuli. In the Babylonian Epic of Gilgamesh, legends speak of trees that grow precious stones. Lapis Lazuli grows from the crown of these trees. In ancient Persia and America, Lapis was a symbol of the starry night. Because these stones resemble the heavens, medieval Europeans believed Lapis Lazuli could counteract the wiles of the spirits of darkness and secure the aid and good favor of the spirits of wisdom and light. The deep, rich blue of the Lapis Lazuli remains a symbol of royalty, honor, gods, power, spirit, and vision. These stones are also a universal symbol of wisdom and truth.
Jennifer’s Lapis Lazuli jewelry captures the eternal beauty of the heavens and allows it to complement and enhance your own. We invite you to explore our Jennifer Reeves Designs Lapis Lazuli jewelry, including “I’m Out on the Town.”