Lapis Lazuli is a stone that has been prized by many cultures for thousands of years. Sites where lapis has been mined are as far ranging as Siberia, Afghanistan, the Andes, and Colorado and California in the U.S. Lapis, a semi-precious stone, has long been valued for its rich blue color and there is evidence that it was traded as long ago as the third millennium B.C.E. by cultures like the Indus Valley civilization in ancient India. The ancient Egyptians were especially fond of lapis lazuli and incorporated it into their jewelry (like their famous scarab pendants) and into their religious and ceremonial objects. Cleopatra used a powdered form of lapis lazuli as eye shadow. Later, painters regularly used it when they needed to feature a rich blue color in their paintings. You can still see lapis in its powdered form in art works from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance; for many centuries, it was regularly used as the color of the Madonna’s brilliantly blue robe.
Lapis lazuli still has a following today. Pamela Love and Maria Carter use it to maximum affect in their jewelry designs. At Hitchcock Madrona, we decided to showcase some of our favorite lapis lazuli pieces currently in stock. Lapis lazuli often has traces of pyrite (commonly known as “fool’s gold”) in it, and many of our favorite lapis pieces have a shimmering quality as a result.