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.
I am trying to inspire the sunshine with my clothing choices. But, it is still pretty gloomy (but, yeah, no snow!) in Seattle. Maybe that is why I look like I am angry in this photo?
Faceted onyx and gold plated sterling drop earrings by Hitchcock Madrona.
Two medallion necklaces by Shannon Koszyk (shortest and longest). Pyrite and labradorite layering necklaces by Hitchcock Madrona. Onyx and sterling silver ring by Crystal Hartman.
Sterling silver cuff by Crystal Hartman. Gold plated sterling “oyster” ring by Eric Saeter.
We are so excited to introduce Crystal Hartman to our customers. Crystal is a new artist to Hitchcock Madrona and to the Seattle area. She has created a collection of exquisitely wrought designs exclusively for us – check ’em out!
This necklace is an exclusive design for Hitchcock Madrona. It is amazing.
Crystal grew up in a family of jewelers. Her father John and mother Estell began the Durango Silver Company in 1972. It remains family owned and operated in scenic Durango, Colorado. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking from the University of Colorado, Boulder, Crystal also has an interest in watercolor. She initially turned her attention to painting and printmaking before learning sliversmithing from her father, a master gold and silversmith and stonecutter. Dustin and I are planning a trip to Durango to visit Crystal and her family’s business. We can’t wait!
Black onyx cabochon and sterling silver stud earrings
Crystal employs a technique called the “lost wax process” when making her jewelry; it involves using wax to create a mold into which she then pours molten silver. John cuts all the stones that will subsequently be added to her designs.
An example of a wax mold for one of Crystal’s bracelets – be sure to keep an eye out for a future blog post on the “lost wax process”!
We have silver rings, bracelets, and one gorgeous necklace of Crystal’s currently in stock. She is such a talented artist – all of her jewelry is beautiful, elegant and entirely handcrafted!
Mother of pearl and sterling silver earrings
Wide sterling silver band with tiny black diamonds
Wide sterling silver cuff bracelet (with or without diamonds available)
When Dustin and I met with Crystal during her recent visit to Seattle we were enamored with her skill and design narrative. I challenged her to incorporate white, champagne and black diamonds into her organic pieces. They turned out better than I ever thought possible. She cast the diamonds into the pieces and therefore they are seamlessly integrated into the design. Your eye has to hunt for the stones (she didn’t want prongs) and when you see one the others magically appear. Pure genius.
By special request, from moi, Xenia Mara made a whole collection of bracelets just for hitchcock Madrona. Late last week she brought by 10 one-of-a-kind vintage chain and semi-precious stone bracelets.
I was wearing this necklace combination last Saturday in the store and everyone that walked in had a comment! I know, I am wearing lot of jewels! It is my job, right? I wouldn’t recommend this for a non-blogging day. It might be TOO MUCH! Would you wear this bedazzled combo?
I am representing the “hi/low” trend by wearing my $6 craft fair beaded bracelet with Xenia’s pyrite layers (details below). Summer is when I bring out the tribal elements in my wardrobe. I believe fall is reserved for wool and sophistication. Que the Hitchcock leading ladies!
Necklaces (top to bottom): 1) Lapis and gold fill by Maria Carter. 2) Lapis (look at that AMAZING stone!) and brass eye pins by Xenia Mara. 3) Sterling silver and brass breast plate by Pamela Love.
Twisted pyrite and vintage brass bracelet by Xenia Mara. I can’t stop wearing this! It is the perfect layering bracelet.