The beautiful blue stone lapis lazuli has been highly prized for thousands of years. Scholars believe many early historical references to sapphire may actual refer to samples of lapis lazuli. Jewelry made from this lazurite rich semi-precious rock has been found in prehistoric tombs in Asia, Africa, and Europe. Not surprisingly, lapis lazuli symbolism goes back for millennia.
Lapis lazuli legends are among the oldest in the world. The myth of Inanna, the Sumerian goddess of love, and her descent and return from the underworld may date from as early as 4000 BCE. Inanna entered the underworld bearing the insignias of her rank, including a lapis lazuli necklace and rod. “In ancient Sumer,” writes Scott Cunningham in his Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem, and Metal Magic, “lapis lazuli has timeless associations” with royalty and deities. The stone was said to contain “the soul of the deity, who would ‘rejoice in its owner.’”
In ancient Egypt, pharaohs favored lapis lazuli, and judges wore emblems of Maat, the goddess of truth, made from the stone.
Lapis lazuli was not only mentioned in ancient myths, it was also used to mark documents. Cylinder seals carved from the soft stone were used…