Every year, Pantone releases a ‘Colour of the Year,’ a visual representation of trends across the design sectors while also considering current affairs and politics. The ‘Colour of the Year’ is influential for guiding trends in the fashion and interiors industry and influencing a future products. Pantone’s Colour for 2020 is ‘Classic Blue.’

‘Classic Blue,’ invokes security, calmness, and re-assurance as we enter into a year of uncertainty. This deep blue has always been a popular colour in the fashion and interiors industry and this year, the iconic blue is making a comeback. The original pigment behind Classic Blue was actually ground lapis lazuli, a semi-precious stone found in Afghanistan and Chile.

The ancient Egyptians adored  lapis lazuli,  adding it to their religious and spiritual objects. It is even rumoured that Cleopatra adorned her eyelids with ground  lapis lazuli  for her make-up. Photo: Farlang.
The ancient Egyptians adored lapis lazuli, adding it to their
religious and spiritual objects. It is even rumoured that
Cleopatra adorned her eyelids with ground lapis lazuli
for her make-up. Photo: Farlang
 
Our Afghan jewellery ranges routinely feature lapis lazuli. Lapis lazuli is known for its vibrant blue flecked delicately with gold spots. Using this stone in our jewellery honours our Afghani craftsman and their cultural heritage.

Revered by the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians, we dig deeper to learn more about this unique stone that has captivated our world since antiquity.

 


History of Lapis Lazuli

Mined in the Badakshan province in northeastern Afghanistan, lapis lazuli has been revered for its’ unique colour, exclusivity, as well as perceived spiritual attributes. Merchants transported lapis along ancient trade routes where it quickly became prized in ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman & Mesopotamian civilisations amongst the ruling class. Egyptian pharaoh coffins were decorated with lapis lazuli and it was used for jewellery and religious amulets. Its’ scarcity gave it extreme value. It was even rumoured that Cleopatra used powdered lapis lazuli for her eye make-up. 

Lapis lazuli:  close-up. Lapis lazuli: close-up

Trade as well as the Crusades brought lapis lazuli to Europe where it quickly became coveted by the aristocracy and elite. A symbol of power and prestige, its’ exclusivity meant that only the rich could afford it for religious and decorative artefacts. It also became popular among different artists and painters as powdered lapis lazuli was the basis for Ultramarine, a colour pigment used commonly during the Renaissance for oil paintings and frescoes. Lapis lazuli added a translucent, iridescent quality to the paint, making it the perfect blue to capture the colour of the sky and the sea. Vermeer famously used Ultramarine in the headscarf for ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring.’ Ultramarine can also be found in Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. After the Renaissance, a synthetic version of Ultramarine was developed, allowing the deep blue colour to become widely accessible.

Vermeer used the ‘Ultramarine’ pigment on the headscarf in ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring.’ Photo: Smithsonian


Today, lapis lazuli is mainly used in jewellery and objects. We’re proud to feature the legacy of this legendary stone in our extraordinary jewellery range. Each jewellery piece tells a rich story of Afghanistan, handcrafted by the finest artisans in Kabul. Our first collection showcases the unique ways lapis lazuli can be used in jewellery: from the smooth lapis of our KITE Ear Studs to the textured patterns in our EESAR Ring. Our latest collection, Seasons of Afghanistan, pays homage to the tulip, the national flower of Afghanistan. Check out our Afghanistan collection to discover the beauty of lapis lazuli.

KITE Lapis Lazuli Earstuds  and the  EESAR Ring.  Both feature  lapis lazuli .KITE Lapis Lazuli Earstuds and the EESAR Ring. Both feature lapis lazuli


Stay tuned for more pieces featuring these exquisite blues.


Our latest collection,  Seasons of Afghanistan , designed by Saeeda , features lapis lazuli stones wrapped within a brass body.Our latest collection, Seasons of Afghanistan,  features lapis lazuli stones wrapped within a brass body

 

 

 


Sources:

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/19/arts/international/lapis-lazuli-and-the-history-of-the-most-perfect-color.html

https://hyperallergic.com/315564/lapis-lazuli-a-blue-more-precious-than-gold/

https://www.myku.co/blogs/journal/lapis-lazuli-king-of-stones-stone-of-kings

https://www.florencemuseumguide.com/lapis-lazzuli/

http://farlang.com/ancient-egyptian-jewelry-and-amulets

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/scientists-take-closer-look-girl-pearl-earring-180968335/


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