For love of Lapis Lazuli – Jewelry Connoisseur
This deep-blue stone has actually been beautifying sculptures, mosaics, paintings and individual accessories for centuries.
The abundant blue gem called lapis lazuli has actually long stimulated contrasts to a star-flecked night sky. The resemblance even assisted influence its name: The Latin “ lapis” indicates “stone,” while “ lazulum,” implying “blue,” originates from the Arabic or Persian “ lazward” for “sky.”
Lapis is not a single mineral, however a metamorphic rock including several products. The primary element that provides the stone its distinct color is lazurite, a tectosilicate mineral.
” Today, lapis is a cherished gems amongst lapidaries, precious jewelry artists and gem lovers,” states Helen Serras-Herman, innovative director of Gem Art Center near Tucson, Arizona, who typically shapes lapis for her styles. “It is a popular product for cabochons, beads, carvings, little sculptures, ornamental products, inlays, and even pigments.”
The conventional source of the finest lapis specimens is the exact same today as it was countless years ago: the mountains of Afghanistan. Nevertheless, there are likewise mining websites in Chile, Russia, Pakistan, Angola, Canada and the United States.
In spite of the geopolitical issues that have actually afflicted Afghanistan, low- and medium-quality rough lapis from the nation’s Sar-i Sang mines continues to get here in Kabul and in Peshawar, Pakistan, reports Gary Bowersox. A leading specialist on Afghanistan, Bowersox is the CEO of Hawaii-based wholesaler Gem Hunters Corporation, which provides Afghan lapis amongst its items.
” The supply of premium lapis lazuli has actually decreased,” he states. “Rates in Kabul for lapis are presently below previous years by around 70%, as deliveries to other nations are not enabled. Rates in Peshawar are a little lower than previous years, which is supported by the lower worth of the Pakistani rupee versus the United States dollar.”
The lazurite in this gem “is typically accompanied by white calcite veins, pyrite crystals, and smaller sized quantities of diopside, mica, hauynite and hornblende,” according to Serras-Herman. The best balance of these active ingredients produces a “intense royal blue body color, in some cases with a violet tint, sprayed with a percentage of pyrite crystals that include golden flecks, and some great white lines of calcite– both of which produce a more genuine and natural appearance.”
The stone’s worth is identified practically specifically by its color, states Daniele Bruni, innovative director of Italian brand name Pasquale Bruni, which utilizes lapis in its collections. “A deep, extreme blue with violet tones is the most valued color,” he elaborates, including that “fine-grained, consistent stones can get a smooth, extremely sleek surface area not seen in lower grades.”
Lapis of all grades is nontransparent, however state-of-the-art natural items with no calcite or pyrite additions are unusual, notes Serras-Herman. As such, the lack of such additions can raise suspicions about a stone’s natural origin, or a minimum of show that it may have gone through some sort of treatment.
Techniques of treatment
The most typical improvement for lapis lazuli is to utilize a blue color to make the white calcite less noticeable and enhance the color. The stone then regularly gets sealed with wax, oil or resin, which can likewise boost the appeal of sleek surface areas.
If a stone has actually been dealt with, it’s vital to divulge this to the client, preserves Texas merchant Susan Eisen, owner of Susan Eisen Fine Fashion Jewelry. She likewise alerts that if the surface area is not sealed or the treatment hasn’t solidified, a colored color might come off on clothing and trigger genuine issues. “There is a great deal of inferior item out there, and lapis is typically puzzled with sodalite, which is not almost so gorgeous.”
Evaluating for credibility occurs in gem laboratories such as New York-based American Gemological Laboratories (AGL). CEO Christopher Smith states the laboratory does not see lapis that typically, however the specimens it does get are natural and of better quality.
” They might originate from a producer that wishes to validate the credibility of the stone, or a purchaser who wishes to validate that it is natural,” he describes. While AGL does not do lapis assessments, it does check the product for replicas, treatments, composite product, and the existence of other gems such as sodalite.
Wonderful by style
While lapis has an appeal of its own, “it’s through the imagination of designers that it can reveal its magic and mystical side,” states Bruni.
Parisian designer Lydia Courteille states herself “truly in love with the blue color of lapis” and uses it in numerous of her initial pieces, while Italian brand name Roberto Coin includes the gem in its Princess Flower collection, calling it “the stone of inner vision.”
Lapis is likewise popular in India, where jewelry expert Ankit Malpani has actually developed a number of collections around it. “The deep blue color and gleaming additions provide the gem its specific character,” Malpani states.
Eisen offers some lapis styles, consisting of custom-made orders, although she “did not see a lot” at the Tucson gem reveals this previous February. She indicates price as one of the gem’s possessions. “It is not a pricey stone, and is popular in the southwest since it matches blue-green and is a really manly color for males’s precious jewelry.”
Main image: Van Cleef & & Arpels Bouton d’or Ballerina clip in 18-karat yellow gold with lapis lazuli, blue-green and diamonds. (Van Cleef & & Arpels)