Lapis Lazuli is an incredible material that has been traded since the days of the ancients. The mines in the Sar-i-Sang region of Afghanistan have been operating for perhaps a millenia. The mines dig into a metamorphic layer that was once limestone. Lazurite gives it the blue, calcite imparts the white banding and pyrite (fools gold) gives it that spark.
The stones are 26mm at their widest and the earrings hang 38mm on 14k gold hooks
by Alison Jean Cole, "I am a lifelong rock nerd and geology guide and I live in the Pacific Northwest. I spend a great deal of time traveling throughout the western states in search of cool rocks to chop up. I particularly love colorful rocks and will also dig some out of buckets in rock shops, too.
I am a proud member of the Mt. Hood Rock Club and teach lapidary arts (stone cutting) in our club shop. The objects I make are crafted in my studio in Portland, OR. I take large chunks of rough material to cut into slabs on a really big rock saw, then the shapes are trimmed out of the slabs on a smaller rock saw. I use successive grits to polish each stone by hand on a rudimentary faceting machine. The process is arduous but rewarding.
The greatest joy of working with rocks and minerals is collecting the material - my "job" is to drive out as far as I can on dirt tracks to canyons and abandoned mines to look for treasure. You can follow my studio work, mineral finds, and flat tires on instagram.