LAPIS LAZULI , Untreated

The Buddhists believed that lapis lazuli dissolved ill will and allowed one to act with presence of mind.
Adoring oneself with this gem is said to make a person sincere and trustworthy.

In Latin, “lapis lazuli” means “blue stone.” However, the name “lapis lazuli” was not used until the Middle Age, and the ancient Greeks and Romans called this blue stone “sapphire.” In Egypt, beads, scarabs, pendants, and inlaid jewelry of lapis lazuli were used from about 3100 B.C. Lapis lazuli comes from the Badakhshan district in northeastern Afghanistan, and it was apparently transported over a great distance to reach the market in Egypt, where it was an esteemed gemstone and talisman and was also used in powdered from as a medicine and cosmetic.

The Buddhists attributed to lapis lazuli the power to preserve presence of mind while driving out malicious intentions. It is probably due to this that in China during the time of Confucius, around the sixth to fifth centuries B.C., lapis lazuli was made into hair ornaments and belt adornments. From Afghanistan in central Asia, lapis lazuli was carried both east and west, traveling along the Silk Road through China and even to Japan. Centuries-old personal adornments made from lapis lazuli are stored at the Shosoin Temple in Nara, Japan. Since ancient times, the Japanese favored lapis lazuli along with coral, and many of their literary works make mention of this stone.

Much like turquoise, jadeite, and opal, rough lapis lazuli occurs as a mass of rock. Of this, only a limited portion is cut into attractive gemstones with good color. In my experience, only about one in 1,000 stones are as beautiful as the one in the photograph to the next page. Because many pieces of lapis lazuli are dyed, caution is advised. It is easy to detect the presence of dye, however, since the color of natural material will not come off when wiped with cotton dipped in acetone.

Lapis lazuli is used in carious ways, such as in watch faces, cameos, and ornaments. With a harness of 5 1/2, lapis lazuli can be scratched by quartz (hardness 7 ), but it exhibits relatively good toughness and will rarely chip.

Ring, Gold
Lapis Lazuli 1pc
2.46 grams
Diamond 14 pc
0.14 ct
US $1,300