This opaque stone, the Latin-Persian etymology of which (“azure stone”) describes its color, was one of the first to be used for its decorative qualities: lapis-lazuli beads dating back to seven thousand BC have been found in Mehrgarh at the foot of the Baluchistan mountains in Pakistan. Its azure-blue shade, which varies in intensity depending on how much of its principal mineral, lazurite, it contains and which is often spangled with tiny dots of pyrite, has made this a much sought-after stone ever since. For thousands of years the stone that Marco Polo described as “the most beautiful azure in the world” was transported from its principal deposits in Afghanistan and Iran as far as China, Egypt and Europe where it was transformed into precious objects, jewelry but also a pigment, known as ultramarine blue in Europe.
Cartier has made extensive use of lapis-lazuli as one half of one of the jeweler’s favorite color combinations, blue and green.
Louis Cartier frequently matched lapis-lazuli with turquoise for his Egyptian-inspired creations, and with coral for his so-called “Chinese” creations.Stone whose principal component is lazurite (sulfur-rich aluminosilicate of sodium and calcium).
Hardness: 5.5 to 6. Its planet is Jupiter. Afghanistan, Chile, Iran.