Wondering what the gorgeous blue lapis lazuli stone in your favorite necklace symbolizes? Lapis lazuli, also known simply as “lapis,” is a stone with a long and interesting history. It’s been mined and used decoratively for thousands of years.
The History of Lapis Lazuli
Lapis is a semi-precious stone that’s been important to cultures around the world for thousands of years. According to historical records, lapis has been mined in Afghanistan for over 5000 years. The stone has been found in many different historical contexts, from beads in ancient burial sites to decorative jewelry in Egypt and Sumeria.
Beautiful lapis lazuli jewelry and decorations were used by royalty for centuries. In many cultures, it was known as a “sapphire” because of its blue hue. In reality, lapis lazuli’s name means “stone of the sky.”
Cultures continued to use this highly-valued stone for years. Ancient Egyptians created scarabs from lapis lazuli to be buried with their dead, while Chinese emperors used it in decorations. For centuries ground lapis lazuli was the only reliable way to obtain blue pigment for inks and paints. It was highly prized by painters and scribes until the early 19th century. A synthetic variety finally displaced lapis’ status, though it still retains its value and beauty today.
What Does Lapis Lazuli Stand For?
The beautiful blue hue of lapis corresponds with Aquarius in the Zodiac and is often associated with the planets Saturn and Venus. It’s the most common gemstone for a 9th wedding anniversary and symbolizes wisdom, truth and friendship. Lapis lazuli along with its twin, sapphire, is the traditional birthstone for people born in September.
Traditionally, lapis lazuli is said to heal throat ailments and migraine. It also supposedly lowers blood pressure and boosts the immune system.
Giving a Gift of Lapis Lazuli
Jewelry made from lapis lazuli is a gorgeous addition to any wardrobe. Giving a gift of lapis is a way of showing that you value your friendship with the recipient. Because it comes in so many forms, there’s a lapis lazuli piece for everybody. Pendants and bracelets are particularly popular, though you can also find lapis rings and earrings.
Most lapis lazuli stones are not “pure” lapis, because the stone is very rarely found alone in nature. Instead, it’s flecked with other minerals, typically pyrite. The lovely blue and gold combination looks fantastic with many outfits and in many occasions, making it an excellent gift.
Lapis lazuli’s history and symbolism make it a beautiful and fun to wear stone. Consider purchasing a piece of jewelry featuring lapis lazuli next time you’re looking for something versatile and gorgeous.
Photo Credit: © Alexander Hoffmann / Fotolia*Disclaimer: This article is meant to serve only as an illustration of opinions and practices and should not be considered an endorsement of any kind. Any beliefs described here may not necessarily be true. No portion of the text above should be considered a source of medical advice.