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Saggitarius: Lapis Lazuli And Topaz

[Legends Of Gems]  [Diamonds And Zirconia]  [Color In Gems]  [Birthstones] 
[Aquarius Gems]  [Pisces Gems]  [Aries Gems]  [Taurus Gems]  [Gemini Gems]  [Cancer Gems]  [Leo Gems]  [Virgo Gems]  [Libra Gems]  [Scorpio Gems]  [Saggitarius Gems]  [Capricorn Gems] 

( Orginally published November 1937 )



Lapis lazuli has long been one of the most highly prized of gem stones. It is believed to have been the stone on which the Tables of the Law were carved. Though the Scriptural term blue stone was at first translated sapphire, it is now believed that lapis lazuli was meant.

This stone is an opaque deep blue, its most valuable forms being flecked with a glistening iron pyrite which contrasts beautifully with the intense blue. Because of this, combination lapis was revered by the Egyptians for their amulets engraved with the eye and heart symbols. The occult power of these emblems was believed to protect the wearer from all malign influences. The stone was often used in elaborate pectorals and breastplates, as well as in simpler necklaces and pendants. Frequently it was used in combination with stones of contrasting color, especially carnelian.

It was a favorite stone of the early Greeks and Romans also, for medicinal as well as ornamental purposes. Worn against the skin, it was believed to draw out all evil and dissipate it into the air. Attributed to lapis were cures of shin affections, apoplexy, and disorders of the blood. Timid children were given necklaces ~of lapis beads that they might develop courage and fearlessness. In their elders, lapis amulets dispelled melancholia and fortified their fidelity to friends and principles.

To the ancient Hebrews this stone was the symbol of success, capturing the blue of the heavens and combining it with the glitter of gold in the sun. In early Christian tradition lapis lazuli was sacred to the Virgin Mary. Like the sapphire this gem was held sacred to chastity and thus was often chosen by bishops for their episcopal rings. Lapis was also used for altar vessels devoted to sacred purposes.

Powdered lapis was used lavishly by the ancient Egyptians for the blue pigment of friezes. Artists of the middle ages used it for the blue robes of the Virgin and of royalty, and it is still used today to achieve the shade known as ultramarine.

A price list of gems in the eighteenth century, using the emerald as the unit of value, ranked the sapphire as twice, the ruby as thrice, and the lapis as fifteen times as costly.

Beliefs which have survived down to recent times attribute to lapis lazuli the power to bring wealth and good fortune to those of its zodiacal sign. If given as a love charm to one born under the sign of Saggitarius, it is believed to have occult influence for happiness and success in love.

The topaz, together with other yellow stones, was believed by the ancients to be under the influence of the sun and thus potent for good to those whose birth sign it is. Though many shades of topaz are known-white, gray, amber, wine, blue, and green-the yellow is considered the true topaz. The stone of strength, as it was called by Pliny, was valued highly if it had a tint of orange, the shade associated with vigor.

Long attributed to this gem stone were the powers of dispelling sorcery or evil spells, which, together with the evil eye, constituted a prime cause of anxiety during the middle ages. Like other stones, it was believed to have a more powerful magic if set in gold and worn on the left hand or arm in direct contact with the skin. Worn thus, it would keep a nervous person level headed, calm, and free from fears. It was often powdered and taken in wine as a cure for insomnia. Its charm against sudden death and pestilence has often been mentioned in the writings of past times, as well as its efficacy in curing melancholia and hallucinations and preventing asthma.

The topaz is the stone of friendship, not of love. It denotes fidelity, loyalty, and integrity. It was believed to bring riches to its wearer, and favors from persons high in authority. In the middle ages it was considered valuable to students of deep philosophical or scientific subjects, and sustained a keen wit and intelligence to a healthy old age.

The white topaz found in South America is often mistaken by the unwary buyer for a diamond, though it lacks the brilliance which is usually associated with a well-cut diamond. In its U own land it is known as the slave's diamond.



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