Thursday, September 29, 2011

Judy and Lapis lazuli

My good wife has always loved the semi-precious stone, Lapis lazuli. This stone has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color.

The main component of lapis lazuli is lazurite (25% to 40%). Most lapis lazuli also contains calcite (white), sodalite (blue), and pyrite (metallic yellow).

Lapis lazuli has been collected from mines in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan for over 6,000 years. Trade in the stone is ancient enough for lapis jewelry to have been found at Predynastic Egyptian and ancient Sumerian sites, and as lapis beads at neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania.

Afghanistan was the source of lapis for the ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, as well as the later Greeks and Romans. During the height of the Indus valley civilization about 2000 B.C., the Harappan colony now known as Shortugai was established near the lapis mines.

We have a Facebook friend who works in Kabul, Afghanistan. He was so generous to offer to purchase a gift for Judy from the Bazaar in Kabul. We asked him to pick a bracelet, necklace, and earrings, and, as an afterthought, a lapis box to hold them. The lapis box is shown below.

Here are the necklace, earrings, and bracelet from Afghanistan.

This is the jeweler who crafted the set purchased at the Kabul Bazaar.

Thanks so much to Gene for purchasing this great gift from me to Judy.


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