Ultramarine is a dark blue pigment originally made by grinding lapis lazuli into powder. The name derives from the Latin ultramarinus, literally “across the sea”, because the pigment was brought to Europe from the mines of Afghanistan by Italian traders in the 14th and 15th centuries. Ultramarine was the finest and most expensive blue used by Renaissance painters. It was often worn on the robes of the Virgin Mary, symbolizing holiness and humility. It remained an extremely expensive pigment until a synthetic ultramarine was invented in 1826.