Favorite Blue Gemstones

by Karen Lockridge

Lapis Lazuli
Colorful gemstones have been used for thousands of years, not only as accents to jewelry and ornaments, but as a means of money exchange, around the world.  One of the oldest, and arguably most beautiful, is Lapis Lazuli.

Lapis can be found in Siberia, Chile, United States, Pakistan and Canada, but the most desired, Lapis Lazuli, is primarily mined in the Badakhshan Province of Afghanistan.  The most famous mine, the Sar-e-Sang is still mined by local men using the most primitive means to extract the vivid blue rock.

Lapis though defined as a rock, it is actually a combination of minerals, including lazurite, sodalite, calcite and pyrite. The most desired specimens being the dark violet blue stones with a sprinkle of the gold pyrite.

Lapis has long been considered one of the world’s most popular stones.  It has been traced to the tombs of UR where thousands of statuettes of animals, birds, dishes and jewelry were dated to the 1st dynasty, 3100BC, as well as records in the scriptures of Greek, Roman and Hebrew as far back as 5,000BC.

Ancient Egyptians were known to grind the blue stone and use its color for the eyelids, as well as jewelry.  Famous King Tut had intricate inlays of the stone in his array of wealth discovered in his burial tomb.

The stones were recognized for their beautiful bright, blue color by some of the great masters of art. Ground into paint they were used by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel’s The Last Judgment, covering more than ¼ of the painting.  Its pigments were also used by such masters as Vermeer, Rembrandt, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso in some of their most famous works.

Lapis lazuli is thought to give wisdom, and inner strength, aids in decision making, creative use, and getting in contact with your inner power, brings harmony in relationships and brings mental clarity and healing.

Turquoise occurs in the whole range of hues from sky blue to grey-green, and is found in places where there is a high concentration of copper in the soil. The blue color is created by copper, the green by iron. Often, the deposits have veins running through it, which are brown, light grey or black.  These depend on where it was found and the mineral deposits presents in that area. They are known as 'turquoise matrix'. As a rule, turquoise occurs in veins or crevices, or in the form of nuggets.

The most well known deposits are in the USA, Mexico, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and China. The most beautiful turquoises, in a splendid light blue, come from deposits in the north of Iran, and from the famous Sleeping Beauty mines in Arizona.

Turquoise, an ancient stone, continues to find itself in the fore-front of fashion. Its shining sky blue is one of the most popular trend colors in the world of jewelry.

This gemstone has been esteemed for thousands of years as a holy stone, a bringer of good fortune. The oldest evidence was found in Egypt, where grave furnishings with turquoise inlay were discovered, dating from approximately 3000 B.C. In the ancient Persian kingdom, the sky-blue gemstones were earlier worn round the neck or wrist as protection against unnatural death. If they changed color, the wearer was thought to have reason to fear the approach of doom.  

However, a porous stone, we now know that when exposed to the acidity of the skin, chemicals in lotions and cosmetics, and even sunlight, will cause it to lose its bright color. That is why in today’s market most Turquoise is always treated with a resin to protect and preserve it.

The best quality turquoises are of a pure, radiant sky blue, a color which is highly esteemed with or without its fine, regular matrix, although stones which lean toward the green are now being sought and prized.

The Aztec tribes of Mexico used to decorate their ceremonial masks with this stone which was holy according to their beliefs. The Indians of North America, who still produce a good deal of traditional silver jewelry with turquoises today, believe that the sky-blue gemstone opens up a direct connection between the sky and the sea.

Turquoise is thought to defend virtue and innocence, to attract money, love, and happiness. It is considered a good general healer for all illnesses, induces wisdom and understanding, enhances trust and kindness.

Aquamarine is also one of our most popular and best-known gemstones. The color of aquamarine is almost entirely free of inclusions. The presence of Iron gives aquamarine its clear blue color, a color which ranges from an almost indiscernible pale blue to a strong sea-blue. The more intense the color of an aquamarine, the more value is put on it. The clear blue stone reflects the pure transparency and magnificent shine of this gemstone.

For many centuries, it was believed to be a good luck charm for anyone who traveled the seas. When amulets made of this precious gem were worn, sailors believed that unmatched bravery would be instilled into their souls, giving them the power to overcome even the most powerful storm.

Brazil, was previously the world’s major supplier of aquamarine, however, African nations, such as Nigeria and Madagascar, provide a greater supply of this timeless gemstone, as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Its first documented use of Aquamarine was by the Greeks between 480-300 BC. They wore aquamarine amulets engraved with the god Poseidon on a chariot. During the Middle Ages, it was believed to be an antidote against poison. Fortune tellers called it the "magic mirror", and used it for telling fortune. It is said that Emperor Nero used it as an eyeglass 2,000 years ago, and much later, aquamarines were used as glasses in Germany to correct shortsightedness.

Aquamarine is said to enhance communication skills, helps one focus and obtain goals.

It brings out one’s spiritual path, intuition and sensitivity.  The great protector for anyone who travels the seas.

Browse Stonehinged’s entire blue gemstone jewelry collection of bracelets, earrings and necklaces.

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