Teeny, tiny, little lapis pieces.

I am often in awe of jewelry that is not necessarily right for me. When it comes to picking out jewelry for myself, I go for the miniature and impossibly delicate. That’s kind of sad for me because I also love all things lapis. That gorgeous stone — like pieces of the night sky.  I never tire of looking at it.  Lapis has a funny habit of being invited into bigger and bolder pieces. (Perhaps, that is because it is a fairly soft stone and it is more durable in bigger chunks.)

This last weekend, my husband and I made a stop at the Union Street Festival in San Francisco.  There, among the many booths of handmade goods, food, and services, I found this little gem:

Beautiful Lolabean lapis bracelet.

Beautiful Lolabean lapis bracelet.

Tiffany Rodgers Bean of Lolabean makes many sweet, delicate items and it is worth checking out her other work.  With this piece, I love being able to have my favorite stone showcased so simply and in just the right amount.

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Wearable Sculpture by Katie Johansson

Katie Johansson, as the creative force behind Dollybird Jewelry, is flat out fearless in her designs.  They are sculptural and bold.

This necklace in particular puts me in mind of modern art mobiles with its open metal structure and artistically placed stones.

Particle Necklace

Lapis Temple Ring

Katie’s creative use of materials in her line is admirable.  She selects unusual stones on a large scale for a huge visual impact and, occasionally, ventures away from stones and uses other objects as the center piece of the design.

Vintage Horsehair Earrings

Many of Katie’s designs are available in her Etsy store, Dollybirddesign.

A Piece of the Night Sky

Gemstones are wondrous and varied.  Isn’t it funny that the earth produces these amazing things then we take them, assign them value and, quite frequently, carry them around with us.

Far and away, my favorite stone is lapis lazuli.  I especially love really dark lapis with a lot of pyrite because it resembles the night sky.  Gorgeous lapis has appeared in jewelry across the aesthetic spectrum for much of human history.  Today, jewelry designers, of all stripes, are still inspired by the dark stone, constantly finding new and inventive uses for it.  I don’t know much about the lapidary arts, but it is my understanding that it is a soft stone and, perhaps, that’s why it can be carved with such detail.

Carved Lapis - Chinese Qing Dynasty

Here, are some fine and varied example of what this versatile stone can do in jewelry.

Antique Lapis Brooch - for sale by Adin

This brooch is available on Adin.  Just look at that color.  It sings against the platinum and diamonds.  It just looks like the ancient treasure it is.

Lapis Lazuli Crinkle Earrings - by Mark Kaplan

These lapis stones are paired with stellar metal work by Mark Kaplan and are available through Etsy.  This is actually my favorite cut of lapis — round and flush in its setting.  I have a small pendant made with a piece of lapis just like these and it is among my favorite jewelry possessions.  I found it a bin of small bits and pieces in Chinatown here in San Francisco and paid $5 — but that’s a story for another time.

Unexpected Wild Flower - by Jean-D

Finally, this incredible piece by Jean-D can be found in Etsy store MonBedo.  It has a piece of fine lapis, which, as the description of this item explains, is lapis without any pyrite.  The ring shows how lapis can also capture an organic shape.  The setting is so striking and bold and does the beautiful piece of stone justice.  As an aside, I also happen to really like that Jean-D posted some detailed comments about the design of this piece.  It’s nice to hear from a designer about how a piece came to be.