Lapis lazuli is among the earliest gemstones used as early as the 4th millennium BC. The Egyptians utilized lapis lazuli stone in artwork, amulets, jewelry, ornaments and cosmetics.
The KEMET Royalty Collection is inspired by the ancient Egyptians. The collection is designed and handcrafted by artisans steeped in decades of tradition and craft to create gorgeous art jewelry pieces in 18K gold vermeil and lapis gemstone.
Lapis was also used in their religion. Amulets of deities inlaid with lapis lazuli were made of Osiris, Horus, Maat, Tet, Ra, Baste, Ibis and the goddess ISIS. They truly believed in the metaphysical powers of lapis. According to Ancient Egyptian myth, the sun (Ra) rolls across the sky each day and transforms bodies and souls. They believed that Lapis’ gold flecks were like stars in their night-time sky and by meditating on these colors the ancient Egyptians believed that supernatural forces would transform their lives. In the dry, barren land of the Egyptians, this deep cobalt blue color was both a physical and spiritual contrast to their arid desert pallets.
The garments of priests and royalty were dyed with Lapis to indicate their status as gods themselves. To present day, Lapis Lazuli’s deep, celestial blue remains the symbol of royalty and honor, gods and power, spirit and vision. It is a universal symbol of wisdom and truth.
The dung beetle which laid eggs that transformed into larva were seen as an earthly symbol of the heavenly cycle of sun and rebirth. Popular at the time, the scarabs were usually carved from Lapis Lazuli, as its deep, celestial blue remains the symbol of royalty and honor, gods and power, spirit and vision.
Egyptian High Priests used lapis lazuli also for healing purposes. They grounded lapis into powder and swallowed to prevent gallstones. Egyptians also used lapis to prevent sleeplessness and melancholy or fever, as well as an ingredient for eyewash.
Queen Hetepherus (2600-2500 B.C) had lapis into silver casings for bracelets, ankles and necklaces. Queen Iput had a beetle pendant of lapis. Queen Seneity had a lapis of ovoid beads with discs of gold, carnelian and green feldspar. Queen Nefruhad also a tomb at Thebes containing lapis beads and Queen Ashotep (1650-1567 B.C) owned a diadem crown of lapis, gold, carnelian and feldspar.
Kings wore pectoral necklaces of lapis and other stones. King Tutankhamen wore a scarab bracelet of lapis symbolizing the Sun God. Elaborate pectorals of Lapis Lazuli, carnelian and also gold covered the pharaohs Osorkon’s chest, while rings and bracelets of the same combination also adorned his arms and fingers. Lapis scarabs were buried in his wrappings, a large one on his heart.
So prized was this gemstone, that at Karnak, the relief carvings of Thutmose III (1479-1429 BC) show fragments and barrel-shaped pieces of lapis lazuli being delivered to him as tribute. King Ramses (1292 B.C) required lapis as a tribute.
Since no mines of lapis exist in Egypt so it is believed that the stone then reached Egypt along the trade routes from Meroe and Afghanistan.
Mombasa is proud to launch the KEMET Royalty Collection, honoring the ancient African kings & Queens and our collective heritage.
Love & Light,
Hanna & Regbe
Mombasa is a social enterprise that collaborates with artisans in developing countries to promote their creativity, pay fair wages and give them access to international markets. The SAFARI Collection is one such partnership with talented artisans in Kenya.
The SAFARI Collection is designed with the global consumer in mind. The Swahili word safari means journey, and we want to take your on a journey with us from Nairobi to Mombasa. We curated a selection of versatile necklaces and earrings all made from locally sourced recycled brass. Each piece is handcast, simple and ethically sourced and can be mix-and-matched to appeal to the urban woman. From bold and chunky to unisex style necklaces, the collection is inspired by geometric shapes and nature to deliver a strong yet minimal aesthetic.
Mombasa's mission has always been to redefine luxury as handmade or hand-touched goods, with a vision to collaborate with artisans around the world and break the cycle of poverty by paying a fair wage. We believe that when artisan entrepreneurs are given opportunity, their families benefit and their communities flourish.
We are proud to present to you our new SAFARI Collection; a new kind of luxury that is handmade, ethical fashion at accessible prices.
Love & Light,
Hanna & Regbe