Chunky Lapis Lazuli and Turquoise Necklace has a Southwestern Flair (BLU-001)
Miriam used Lapis Lazuli and Turquoise to create a cheerful, colorful, and stylish necklace that shows all the distinguishing characteristics of the beautiful stones. The Sterling Silver beads provide just the right accents to set off the unique appeal of the necklace.
- Full length of the necklace is 21 inches (including the textured Sterling Silver clasp), and it weighs 8 oz.
- The Lapis Lazuli chunky stones are center drilled and nicely faceted. They vary from to 21-23 mm and are 12-13 mm thick.
- The flat Lapis Lazuli discs are 12-15 mm.
- The Sterling Silver round accent beads are 12 mm.
- Very small faceted roundelles at the ends of the necklace (near the clasp) are Sodalite.
- The necklace is strung on a strong, but flexible, 0.024-in 49-strand, nylon covered stainless steel beading wire.
Lapis Lazuli (“blue stone"), which is most often referred to as “Lapis,” has been used as a gemstone for thousands of years, mined in Afghanistan since the early 7th millennium BC. Today, Lapis is mined in northeast Afghanistan and Pakistan, from mines west of Lake Baikal in Russia, and 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 and is often referred to as "Fool's Gold." Lapis stones are not typically treated. They are sometimes left in a rough-cut nugget form, cut and lightly polished as in this necklace, or smoothed and highly polished as often seen in the cabachons used for rings, earrings and pendants. Miriam’s Designer Collection includes both polished and matte Lapis. 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 of 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.
The Turquoise Miriam used in this necklace was mined in Arizona, a state known for its fine Turquoise. Turquoise is also mined the other areas of the Southwestern United States, as well as China, Chile, Egypt, Iran, and Mexico. Arizona Turquoise is well-known for its various colors and types of matrices, depending on the mine. For an example, most of the Turquoise that comes from the Southeast part of Arizona has an unusual matrix of black Pyrite that often looks like silver or gold when polished. There are other minerals associated with mined Turquoise nuggets. Faustite is Turquoise with the addition of zinc and sulfates, which gives it a yellow to lime green color. In fact, some people call Faustite “Lime Green Turquoise,” “Lime Turquoise,” or “Yellow Turquoise.” The same is true for stones that have both Turquoise and Variscite, or Turquoise and Chalcociderite within the same nugget. Characteristic color and appearance often depends on where the Turquoise is mined. For example, the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Arizona is known for its light blue turquoise without a matrix - a rarity that makes it very costly and hard to find! Much of the Turquoise from the Kingman Mine is bright blue with a spider web matrix. The Morenci Mine produces a dark blue turquoise with pyrite in the matrix. The Bisbee mine (now closed) produced turquoise with a bright blue color and a chocolate brown matrix. Based on its matrix, the Turquoise used in this necklace is probably from the Kingman Mines.