Lapis Lazuli, highly valued in Antiquity, is still one of the most popular gemstones today. It is one of the first gemstones ever used to make jewelry.
It is unclear exactly how far back this stone dates in History. However, the oldest finds of Lapis Lazuli date from about 7000 years ago. There is even mention of it as far back as 50,000 years ago!
This gemstone is especially prized for its intense blue color. It was extremely popular and was found in many excavated jewelry pieces, paintings, and carvings. The mineral is pretty hard and tough.
Lapis Lazuli is a metamorphic rock, which means minerals that react under high pressure and temperatures inside the Earth, form new gems with different properties.
This gemstone contains various minerals, especially lazurite and small amounts of sodalite, diopside and others. Lapis Lazuli often has white or golden veins, stripes or spots which shows that pyrite or calcite are present in the gem.
Lapis Lazuli means “the blue stone”. The Latin words lapis, for stone, and lazulum, for blue, form the word. However, the origin of the term Laszulum is Persian (lazhward) and describes the blue of the sky.
Alternative names or synonyms are: Lapislazuli, Lapis, Pierre d’azur and Oriental Blue.
Blue, ultramarine blue, navy blue, night sky blue, sometimes greenish to violet or blue-violet. Also striped or speckled (golden pyrite veins or white calcite stains).
Different gemstones form Lapis Lazuli, making it difficult to classify into a single mineral class. The mineral lazurite, belonging to the class of silicates and germanates, is the main ingredient, with a share of about 40%. Other common minerals are augite, diopside, pyrite (golden spots, veins or stripes) and calcite (white spots, veins or stripes).
The beautiful, rich blue of Lapis Lazuli shines particularly well in Cabochon cut. The pearl cut is also very popular.
The price of a Lapis Lazuli depends mainly on the color of the gemstone: an ultramarine blue is particularly valuable, so too with pieces in violet tones. If the color is uniform, this is an indication of high value.
While calcite inclusions (white streaks or spots) usually lower the Lapis Lazuli value, pyrite veins (golden inclusions) are particularly valuable.
Find Lapis Lazuli loose stones, caressers and jewelry at Etsy
The largest find of Lapis Lazuli is in the Hindu Kush Mountains in Central Asia, though the gem was also found on Lake Baikal in Russia, in Canada, California, near Santiago, in Chile, Pakistan and Myanmar.
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