Glittering prizes for the rock collector at O’Reilly’s auction

Lapis lazuli, jade and diamonds all feature in a timed online auction on March 24

This novelty brooch modelled as a turtle with a lapis lazuli is expected to fetch €1,000-€1,500

Unlike other materials used for jewellery, lapis lazuli is best described as a rock, but a rock with serious provenance. The ancient Egyptians believed its intense blue colour was a recreation of the night sky – it appears on the gold death mask of Tutankhamun, and Cleopatra ground it to powder to use as eye shadow. Michaelangelo used it to paint the roof of the Sistine Chapel.

We can thank Marco Polo for introducing it ...