Lapis lazuli has been used since ancient times and remains popular today. This gemstone has been prized for its bright, blue color and used for inlay and intarsia as well as for pigments for cosmetics and paintings. Its contrast and eye appeal is irresistible. Although enthusiasts may debate how much pyrite is ideal in lapis lazuli, most would agree that the less calcite, the better the stone. Calcite can be seen as streaks or patches within the darker blue or can predominate in the mix, giving the rock an overall lighter blue shade. Archeologists have found lapis lazuli beads, jewelry, and carvings at numerous sites, some dating as early as 6,000 BCE.
Today, jewelry is its predominant use. Lapis lazuli value is determined almost exclusively by color. A deep, intense, blue with violet tones would be at the apex. Fine grained, uniform specimens can attain a smooth, highly polished surface not seen in lower grades. Calcite inclusions almost always lower the value, but pyrite inclusions enhance it in the minds of many collectors and jewelry lovers. Although enthusiasts may debate how much pyrite is ideal in lapis lazuli, most would agree that the less calcite, the better the stone. Calcite can be seen as streaks or patches within the darker blue or can predominate in the mix, giving the rock an overall lighter blue shade.
Lapis Lazuli Jewelry & Watch Trends
It’s not surprising that a stone whose popularity has extended across continents and millennia can reach new markets.
Among the latest arrivals to the European Watch Company is this stunning 18K yellow gold Rolex Submariner, ref. 16618 comes with none other than an extremely rare lapis lazuli dial. While the standard blue dialed 16618 Submariner isn’t all that hard to come by, these lapis lazuli stone dials were produced in much smaller quantities (the actual numbers have never been disclosed by Rolex).
Another example of the precious stone used in luxury items are these stunning 1950s Vintage Van Cleef & Arpels Carved Lapis Lazuli & Diamond Clip-On Hoop Earrings feature (4) round Diamonds at the center of each earring. There are (8) Diamonds in total. The front features custom carved Lapis Lazuli with a beveled design. The earrings have a similar carved gold bevel design on the reverse. There is gold beading in between the Lapis Lazuli and Diamonds to add a stunning contrast. Clip on - hinged mechanism. Stamped "VCA" "750" and serial number.
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