Lapis Lazuli: Stone of Wisdom and Truth

Lapis Lazuli, which can be roughly translated as stone of heaven, or stone of the sky, has been mined for more than 7,000 years. It can be found on every continent except Australia, but its finest, and primary, source has always been the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan.

Highly prized for its intense blue colour and mystical properties, many ancient civilisations made jewellery and artifacts from this uniquely beautiful stone, but today it is perhaps the Ancient Egyptians whom we associate most closely with Lapis Lazuli.
Lapis Lazuli was greatly valued in ancient Egypt, where it was believed to lead the soul into immortality and open the heart to love. It was a favourite stone for jewellery, amulets, and ornaments such as scarabs, and the craftsmen who fashioned the iconic gold mask of Tutankhamun used an inlay of Lapis Lazuli to surround the eyes and define the eyebrows. Many centuries later, Queen Cleopatra used powdered lapis as eyeshadow.

During the Middle Ages and Renaissance, natural ultramarine pigment, also made from ground Lapis Lazuli, was the most expensive of all available artists’ pigments, even gold, so was often reserved for painting the robes of angels or the Virgin Mary. Michelangelo famously used ultramarine pigment – the name means beyond the sea - for the glorious, intense blues of his frescoes in the Sistine Chapel.

Today we know Lapis Lazuli  as a healing and grounding stone, the stone of truth and wisdom. Thousands of years on, Lapis Lazuli is as prized and sought after as ever, and its intense blueness and luminous beauty continue to shine through in modern jewellery, just as in centuries past.