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Lapis Lazuli Beads

The deep blue of Lapis Lazuli Beads is often flecked with golden sparkles. This stone has been prized since ancient times for jewelry, carvings, bowls and funeral decorations. It was also used in creating the paint color ultramarine. The mines of Afghanistan were the source of lapis in the ancient world and still produce most of the world’s supply of these gemstones, but it is also found in Russia, Chile, Italy and Mongolia, as well as the United States and Canada.

At the Bead Traders, we offer affordable beads and gemstone beads, as well as beading supplies at low prices, every day. That's because we purchase beads in volume, meaning whether you are looking for jewelry, or the pieces for your next project, we pass the savings on to you. Everything you need all in one store, with a friendly and knowledgeable expert readily available to help you with any questions you might have.

Deepest Darkest Blue

Lapis lazuli beads get their distinctive blue color from lazurite, a mineral composed of silica, sulfate, sulfur and chloride. The stone often has inclusions of golden pyrite, which gives lapis lazuli gemstones the appearance of a dark blue sky full of stars. The name ‘lapis’ means ‘rock’ in Latin, while ‘lazuli’ come from the Latin ‘lazulum’ and refers to the area of Persia where the stones were mined. The gorgeous color of these beads make them perfect for jewelry and crafts projects.

First Gemstones

Lapis lazuli beads are believed to be among the first gemstones ever used. Many examples of jewelry, carved bowls and vases made from lapis lazuli have been found by archeologists at sites around the ancient world, such as the Mediterranean, Persia, Egypt and Mesopotamia. Lapis lazuli was especially prized for funeral decorations. The Egyptians used lapis lazuli gemstones to create scarabs, the carved beetles that were part of death rites, and the eyebrows of King Tutankhamun’s death mask. Because lapis is relatively soft and easy to carve, it was popular for seals and signet rings. Some ancient scholars called lapis lazuli ‘sapphire,’ and it is thought that the references to sapphires in the Bible are actually talking about lapis lazuli.

Used in Painting

When ground to a fine powder, lapis lazuli gives a brilliant blue color that has been used to create a paint shade called ultramarine. This pigment was very expensive and it was used especially for the garments of the Virgin Mary on Renaissance frescos. Vermeer used ultramarine for the headdress in his painting Girl with the Pearl Earring in 1665. In the nineteenth century, synthetic and much less expensive ultramarine became available and lapis lazuli beads were no longer used for this purpose.

Stone of Truth

Crystal workers use lapis lazuli beads to clear the mind and strengthen the intellect. Students, journalists and writers can all use the dark blue stone to aid them in uncovering the truth in a situation and understanding difficult material. Wearing lapis lazuli helps with learning and memory and supports effective communication. It is said to promote fame, so if you are seeking recognition and public approval for your work, get some jewelry made of lapis lazuli gemstones from the Bead Traders!

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