Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rock Review: Lapis Lazuli

Today’s rock review highlights the brilliantly blue Lapis Lazuli. Sometimes abbreviated to just Lapis (the word for stone in Latin), this semiprecious gem is known for its vibrant cobalt color that can contain marbling of yellow and cream tones as well as tiny flecks of gold. This rich spectrum comes from a combination of sodalite (blue), calcite (white) and pyrite (gold). It has a chalky luster, but still is able to take a high polish that enhances it’s lovely composition and makes it a prime choice for jewelry featuring a cabochon.
Lapis Lazuli was a very popular gem amongst ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Mesopotamians, Greeks and Romans. The gem can be found in jewelry, large scale tile mosaics and in church art. One of the most famous examples of Lapis Lazuli used in church art is the at the tabernacle designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini for the famous St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The edifice of the gilded bronze structure is encrusted with Lapis, the perfect contrast for the gold surface of the architecture. Cleopatra was even reported to use the powdered form of the stone for eyeshadow. While we don’t use Lapis as a cosmetic these days, it still is sometimes used in its ground form to give pigmentation to tempera and oil paints.
Most modern people prefer to enjoy their Lapis Lazuli in the form of jewelry. It is thought to grant its wearers insight, wisdom and enhanced intellect. The gem is very easily maintained at home and can be cleaned with a warm water and soap solution and a soft toothbrush when necessary. Below is a great example of Lapis Lazuli by Layne Designs. Contact Layne for information regarding availability.

No comments:

Post a Comment