Lapis Lazuli Signet Ring
Lapis Lazuli is a beautifully vibrant royal blue gem material. It is one of the oldest known gems having been traded for thousands of years and one of the earliest surviving examples of its use can be seen in the funeral mask of Tutankhamun. Later as it began to travel throughout Europe, it was ground into powder and used as a colouring pigment known as ultramarine which was widely used by artists such as Vermeer. Lapis is actually classified as a rock because it is a combination of several different minerals, namely lazurite (responsible for the fabulous colour) calcite (the whitish streaks) and pyrite (the little golden-coloured flecks). The best quality still comes from the ancient source in the mountains of Afghanistan, however it is also found in Chile, Siberia and Canada.