Lapis Lazuli is a semi-precious stone of vibrant, energetic shades of violet-blue, white, and green. This gives the fancy silicate an earthy look, as in miniature marble globe, with the vivid blue “waters” and brownish-green “land areas” and blotches of white. Lapis is largely made up of the mineral lazurite with white calcite, sodalite (blue) and pyrite adding metallic yellow to make some of the blues appear green. Most Lapis has around 25-40 percent lazurite content, making the blue dominant. The blue color comes from the lazurite’s sulfur, and usually outweighs the white, but Lapis is also found with large amounts of white, and sometimes with nearly equal parts white, blue, and gray-brown. The metallic of pyrite adds a dull luster to this opaque stone which draws on its remarkable colorful appeal rather than crystal showiness.
By definition a rock, Lapis has a lively look that welcomes casual wear, matching bright colors nicely in cabochons, beads, pendants, and bolo-ties. Settings are mostly in silver, but also gold, and round and oval or curved shapes show off the Lapis’ beauty to its fullest. This stone is rarely faceted, but it does lend well to carving due to its sodalite structure, and the white and blue varieties can have an airy look similar to a blue sky of clouds.
While gemstone purists lean toward the bluest of Lapis Lazuli stones, multi-colored specimens are often sculpted or made into beads, set into intarsia or combined in smaller pieces with malachite, sodalite, howlite, and other semi-precious stones for jewelry or decorative pieces. In the ancient world, Lapis was sometimes mistaken for sapphire, and was known to be ground into a powder for cosmetic use by notable personalities like Cleopatra. Lapis was also a popular stone for carving into scarabs and Chinese figurines.
Compound : Sodium Calcium Aluminum Silicate
Mohs Scale(Hardness) : 5-6
Found : Afghanistan, Angola, Canada, Chile, Myanmar, Pakistan, Russia, U.S.