Category Archives: Materials

Lapis lazuli…still coveted for its beauty

Some of the finest lapis lazuli comes from Afghanistan. This was true in the early modern period when European artists wanted an exquisite blue for painting the Virgin Mary’s cloak, and it continues to be valued by artists and collectors today. The mining of this gemstone and mineral in Afghanistan today, as well as buying objects made from Afghan lapis lazuli, is not straightforward, as this article from The New York Times points out.

“Greed, Corruption and Danger: A Tarnished Afghan Gem Trade,” b

An Afghan businessman checked lapis lazuli at his shop in Kabul in March. Afghanistan has long been one of the chief sources of lapis lazuli, a prized gemstone associated with love and purity. Credit Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

An Afghan businessman checked lapis lazuli at his shop in Kabul in March. Afghanistan has long been one of the chief sources of lapis lazuli, a prized gemstone associated with love and purity. Credit Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

Lapis lazuli at a shop in Kabul. The lapis trade was valued at about $125 million a year in 2014. Credit Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

Lapis lazuli at a shop in Kabul. The lapis trade was valued at about $125 million a year in 2014. Credit Rahmat Gul/Associated Press