Monday, February 04, 2008

Manic Monday

Mo's word for Manic Monday is BLUE. So I thought I'd tell you about a beautiful blue stone called Lapis Lazuli.

Lapis lazuli is a gemstone of the kind that might have come straight out of the Arabian Nights: a deep blue with golden inclusions of pyrites which shimmer like little stars.

unpolished lump of Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli has been mined in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for 6,500 years, and trade in the stone is ancient enough for lapis jewelry to have been found at Predynastic Egyptian sites, and lapis beads at neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania.

The alliterative name is composed from 'lapis', the Latin word for stone, and 'azula', which comes from the Arabic and means blue. Lapis lazuli is regarded by many people around the world as the stone of friendship and truth. The blue stone is said to encourage harmony in relationships and help its wearer to be authentic and give his or her opinion openly. (

When the stone is polished it can look like this:

Lapis is also used to make jewelry like the Afghan ring below:

photo: John McLean.

Lapis can also be made into an ultramarine pigment that is then made into oil paint or watercolor:

Johannes Vermeer was a very well-known Dutch painter who used the blue pigment extensively in many of his paintings. You can see the color in the woman's skirt below:

Young Woman With a Water Pitcher

Here is a piece of jewelry I've had for a very long time. I got it when I was with my husband in Italy just a year after we were married. Of course the stones are lapis and the body of the cross is 18 ct. gold:

And lapis is often carved in the shape of animals:

And finally here's an award given out by OneLuvGirl to everyone who has visited her blog and made it so successful. Notice the lapis heart?

Click here for more Manic Monday info.



Unknown said...

Cool Manic Monday with Blue!
I have nothing but BLUE skies over my blog, come take a look!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, Blue is my sister's favorite color. Me, I'm a purple/pink kinda gal. :)

Happy MM.

Durward Discussion said...

Lapis is one of my favorite stones and those are beautiful pictures.

Sandee said...

I didn't know this. Wow what a beautiful gemstone. The history is so rich as well. Excellent use of the word blue. Have a great MM Teach. :)

Ian said...

It's a much prettier blue than the turquoise so prevalent in my part of the world.


Unknown said...

That is a gorgeous jewel. Thank you for sharing this information.

Happy MM! Villager

RW said...

Love the Blues Mary! I am digging your new header to cool!! :D

Gattina said...

I love lapislazuli ! I bought jewelery in Egypt and also have cat scultptures of lapis. In Egypt it is not expensive at all, just like Corals, or turquoises.

Gattina said...

I love lapislazuli ! I bought jewelery in Egypt and also have cat scultptures of lapis. In Egypt it is not expensive at all, just like Corals, or turquoises.

oneluvgurl said...

Love it!

Mine is here! Happy MM!

Mariposa said...

Very informative! Thanks for sharing...happy MM!

Anonymous said...

you mentioned one of my favorite artists! I have one of his paintings hanging in my dining room. What a beautiful stone and beautiful shade of blue.

Anonymous said...

Vermeer is one of my favorite artists!

When I worked in a jewelry store, I remember special-ordering a lapis signet ring to a young man. He was very particular in how the stone looked. I think we sent it back twice. It seemed the third time was the charm!

sgreerpitt said...

30 years ago, a woman who made beautiful lost wax casting jewelry, told me that lapis was active energy stone, that either directed energy from others to its wearer or pulled energy from its wearer.

Travis Cody said...

I have always enjoyed this stone. But I couldn't see the photos tonight! I'll have to come back because I really like the color.

Happy MM!

frizzyeatworld said...

I am all for healing and relationship stones. I'd build an entire house with them if I could. ;)

Great post, Teach. :)