I've always been a big fan of blue gemstones. Aquamarine, sapphire, turquoise - you name it, I like it, and most likely I make jewelry out of it. But recently I've been rediscovering one of my old favorites - lapis lazuli.
Lapis lazuli (or lapis, for short) is one of the oldest of the semi-precious stones, and has been mined in what is now Afghanistan for literally thousands of years. It's prized for its amazing deep blue color, so much so that painters in Renaissance Europe ground lapis up to make an extremely rare and expensive blue pigment they called ultramarine.
What I like about lapis, in addition to its stunning deep color, is its versatility. It goes just as well in silver pieces as in gold (the highest-quality lapis, which is flecked with pyrite, looks especially good in gold pieces), it has great depth (no two pieces are the same), and it holds a polish extremely well.
We use lapis here at Saori C. Jewelry Designs in several pieces, including our stunning Aria Stud and Aria Hoop earrings. Take a look - I'm sure you'll come to appreciate it as much as I do.