Gorgeous Blue Lapis Lazuli Nuggets and Chunky Sterling Silver Make a Bold Statement (BLU-002)
The natural Lapis Lazuli stones chosen by Miriam to create this incredible necklace have a beautiful velvet-like matte finish and look like an amazing work of modern art. The natural stones are perfectly graduated and feature beautiful Pyrite inclusions—another lovely and natural aspect of Lapis. The large Sterling Silver nuggets provide the perfect accent to the Chunky Lapis! To keep the necklace from being too heavy, Miriam used Sterling Silver “electroformed” nuggets that are hollow. (See below for a description of how stones are matted and how Sterling Silver beads are electroformed.)
- Full length of the necklace is 19.25 inches (including the textured Sterling Silver clasp), and weighs 8 oz.
- Lapis Lazuli chunky-cut stones vary from 12-15mm to 21-23mm and are nicely graduated.
- The Sterling Silver nuggets are approximately 16mm, ornately sculpted, and gently squared.
- Smaller Sterling Silver nuggets (7mm), and 4mm Sterling Silver and Lapis rounds accent the larger stones.
- The necklace is strung on a strong, but flexible, 0.025-in 49-strand, nylon covered stainless steel beading wire.
Lapis Lazuli (“blue stone"), which is most often referred to as just “Lapis,” has been used as a gemstone for thousands of years, mined from Afghanistan since the early 7th millennium BC.Today, Lapis lazuli is mined in northeast Afghanistan and Pakistan, and from mines west of Lake Baikal in Russia, and in the Andes mountains in Chile. Smaller quantities are mined in Italy, Mongolia, the United States, and Canada. It is primarily composed of Lazurite (a deep blue), while the remaining composition is made up of Sodalite (a lighter blue), its host rock (White Calcite), Pyrite, and other various minor constituents. Pyrite can have a gold or silver metallic sheen when polished.
Lapis stones are not typically treated. For gemstone use, it is often highly polished—or matted, as are the stones Miriam used to create the unique Lapis necklace offered here. The process to matte finish a stone starts with putting it through all the normal steps of a polished bead. It is cut, drilled and polished, then goes back into a tumbler with a fine grit powder, tiny stones and water and additional tiny stones. Depending on the stone’s hardness and characteristics, it can take up to 2 hours in the tumbler - and may require multiple tumbles with various sized grit powder.
Electroformed Sterling silver Beads are created through an intricate process that begins with a bead made of wax.The wax bead is immersed in a solution that electrically forms pure silver over it. The next step is to burn out the wax, leaving the hollow, sterling silver formation. The sterling silver is then highly polished to produce the lighter-weight Sterling Silver bead. This process is perfect to produce Sterling Silver beads that are highly sculpted or that have unusual shapes, such as the nuggets Miriam used to highlight the chunky look of this one-of-a-kind necklace.