Lapis-lazuli comes from the Latin word “lapis”, meaning “stone” and the Arab “azul” meaning “blue”. Described in ancient times as a sky studded with stars, the stone captivates with its intense blue, or more exceptionally with its violet hue. In Egypt and Mesopotamia, it was used to craft lavish objects (cylinder-seals, animal statuettes…) intended for royalty; it is also found sculpted on Etruscan rings.
Van Cleef & Arpels principally chooses lapis-lazuli from Afghanistan. The Maison also carefully selects stones which are remarkable for their pure and intense color, along with their perfect sheen.
Lapis lazuli is said to endow sensitivity, intuition and spirit to the wearer. It also prevents the healing of certain pains like insomnia. It is the gemstone for 9th wedding anniversaries.
Maintaining your lapis-lazuli:
As this stone is especially soft and thus fragile, lapis-lazuli should be kept in a fabric-lined box away from other jewelry items in order to avoid scratching and preserve its unique charm. Van Cleef & Arpels recommends cleaning it gently with either a soft dry cloth or clear water. Lapis-lazuli should be kept away from prolonged exposure to extremes of heat and household chemicals that can damage the stone. Washing lapis-lazuli in water will remove its protective polish and alterate its brilliance.