Forthcoming Auction

9/07/2020     Latest News

An interesting collection of Lapis Lazuli and other minerals Summers Place Auctions will be holding its first online minerals auction from 9th -19th July.


Included in the timed auction is a good selection of Lapis lazuli Famous since antiquity, it has been discovered in some of the most magnificent archaeological sites, such as the Tomb of Tutankhamun and the Royal Treasures of Ur. Ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments, it was exported to Europe from the end of the Middle Ages and was famously used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Titian and Vermeer, who usually saved the colour for the clothes of the central figure, which was often the Virgin Mary.


Its probably a little known fact that the main source of this deep blue metamorphic rock, a semi-precious stone, are about 140 cave-like mines in Badakhshan, which have been mined for over 6000 years and are still the world’s finest source of lapis lazuli. It has been highly prized since antiquity for its intensity of colour. Lapis is actually almost as rare as diamonds and historically gold and lapis had the same value and was often seen as a currency.

Lapis has the advantage that it takes an excellent polish and can be made into jewellery, boxes, mosaics or just be displayed as freeforms, which are becoming rarer every year. Another advantage of lapis is that it is exceptional durable and can resist both extreme heat and cold, which allows for it to be displayed outside.


The lapis mountain which neighbours onto an emerald mountain, was traditionally in the centre of the Silk Route network of trade routes which connected the East to the West. Although the main trade was silk, other goods traded included lapis as part of the cultural trade delivered from the East to Europe.