Amulets and talismans have been prized for centuries and across cultures. Even during the Stone Age, if an object was found stunning because of its color or texture it became an amulet and the person who found it attributed a certain meaning to its beauty. Gradually, different types of charms were labeled and granted particular properties that matched their particular colors or textures. Gold, the color of the sun, brought happiness. Green gems were often associated with power because of their striking shade. Blue stones, the color of the calming sky, guarded the wearer from evil. Thus, lapis lazuli, due to its intense azure shade speckled with gold, was granted particular significance in the realm of talismans and amulets.
Because of its deep blue coloring, lapis lazuli often was attributed with godliness. According to the Sumerians, the wearer of a lapis lazuli talisman was said to carry the presence of God, bringing fortune and happiness. Lapis lazuli was particularly beloved by the Egyptians, as several of their traditional talismans were made of the gemstone. It was particularly used in depictions of the Egyptian “Eye,” signifying purity and being watchful of evil. Egyptians often inlaid the tombs of their most beloved leaders with lapis lazuli in order to ward off evil in the afterlife. The tomb of King Tutankhamen was found to be richly inlaid with lapis.
The cultural importance of lapis lazuli continued over the centuries, becoming the traditional stone of the Virgin Mary for the Christian religion. For the Greeks and Romans, lapis lazuli talismans were symbols of happiness and a freedom of spirit that were used to cure timidity and depression as well as strengthen affection. In medieval Europe, lapis lazuli was thought to counteract spirits of darkness by calling on spirits of light from the blue heavens. Buddhists attribute lapis lazuli as a stone of inner peace. During the renaissance, Catherine the Great commissioned an entire room to be made out of lapis lazuli, including the walls, doors, window frames, and fireplace, because of its recognition as a symbol of royalty.
Nowadays, in the Western world, lapis lazuli is commonly referred to as the stone of truth. It encourages honesty and brings harmony to friendships and relationships. Although amulets are not nearly as culturally important today as they were in ancient times, lapis lazuli charms and talismans are still sold and purchased by people who continue to believe in its mystical properties. Perhaps it can be said that lapis lazuli jewelry and the attraction it holds to so many is a vestige of the amulets and talismans that were held so dearly by ancient societies. The next time you wear your piece of lapis lazuli jewelry, be aware of whether or not your mood brightens or you feel more at peace. It just might work!