Lapis lazuli is an elegant blue gemstone that has some pyrite golden inclusions which end up giving it a dazzling starry appearance. Because of contact metamorphism lapis lazuli beads ends up in a crystalline marble form. While they come in different colors, the ones that come in intense blue color are actually the most valuable specimen around and especially after are dusted with tiny specks of golden pyrite. It is this pyrite specks that will tell you whether you are dealing with a genuine gemstone or not. The origin of the name is Latin and it can easily be translated to mean a blue gemstone.
In the olden days, these semi-precious lapis lazuli beads were actually thought to belong to the sapphire family and people from some of the ancient civilizations such as Greece, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia and Rome regarded them very highly. One of the most interesting findings is the relationship between man and lapis lazuli seems to go all the way to more than 6500 years. The higher quality variety of these semi precious stones is a deep blue hue that means it is free from calcite veining and the presence of golden pyrite flecks.
When you are buying lapis lazuli beads, you must check that there are no signs of calcite since the whitish color of calcite will interfere with the mottled blue color as well as the golden specks of pyrite. There are ancient civilizations that actually believed that this particular stone was a combination of spirituality and purity. People from ancient Egypt actually used to grind the stone and mixed it with other cosmetics while painters from the days of the renaissance used it to produce an ultramarine blue shade which was known for its ability to produce an expensive pigment whose main characteristics were brightness and durability. Painters today use it to restore and renovate any paintings that have some historic significance.
In most cases today, lapis lazuli beads are almost always used in making men’s jewelry and apart from beads, the semi precious stone is also used in making inlays, cabochons as well as tablets because of their prominent blue color. The beads can also be sold as carvings, signet stones or parts of necklaces. Apart from jewelry, you will also find them featuring in some board games, bowls, amulets, dagger handles and other collector items of repute.
The highest quality lapis lazuli beads comes from Afghanistan while those that come from Pakistan, Chile, Burma and Russia have a slightly lighter hue of blue which affects their value somehow. The price of these stones is determined by its color as well as craftsmanship. This is the identifying mark you should look for when you want to get a high quality genuine piece. You need to take note of this because there are very many imitations in the market; lapis lazuli imitations are normally colored using copper sulphate placed on non valuable materials such as sodalite glass and plastic. In order for you to buy a piece that will last and maintain, just remember to:
• Carefully examine that color of the stone and its texture using different light sources
• Always avoid keeping your stones next to ultrasonic cleaners or other jewelry cleaning fluids
• Don’t try to steam clean lapis lazuli because it cannot
This article has been written by Nora Gwilt who often writes articles on online jewelry and fashion magazines. Nora is someone who loves shopping for jewelry items like lapis lazuli beads and the pandahall online jewelry store is her favorite place to buy jewelry and accessories.