Apr 4, 2013

Lapis Lazuli: Stone of Heaven

Lapis dealers in the Namak Mandi (salt bazzar) Peshawar

Those royal blue stones called Lapis Lazuli have been around for eons. Three parts make up the Lapis stones, Calcite (white), Sodalite (blue), and Pyrite (yellow). Nearly all of the world's lapis comes from Badakhshan, Afghanistan close to the Kokcha River valley.  The only way to reach these precious rocks is via camel, donkey, or mules. Small amounts of lapis are mined, which is of inferior quality than that of Afghanistan, in places like Chile, Zambia, and Siberia. Prices range from $2.25lb to $6150lb.

Smithsonian Institution /
National  Museum, Riyadh
 Lapis ornaments have been discovered in southern Parkistan dating back as far as 5500BCE. An oval pendant carved around 3300 BCE was unearthed in Egypt at Naqada. The above figurine was found 1966 on Tarut Island in eastern Saudi Arabia, which was carved around 3000 BCE, and is now in the National Museum in Riyadh.

Through the course of time, many rulers and wealthy people included lapis in their burial.  They wanted to give the deities gifts in the afterlife.  Did you know that Lapis is considered a healing stone still today?

I own the above pendant which has an Arabic inscription on it saying: Bismillah ar-rahman ar-rahim (In the name of Allah (God), the Beneficient, the Merciful). I would like to buy more of this type of jewelry. It is a blue that pierces the senses.