Lapis Lazuli is used for more than 6000 years for jewelry and ornamental objects. Its name is from "lapis," the Latin word for stone and "azul," the Arabian word for blue. Lapis lazuli is made up of 25 to 40 percent lazurite, plus several minerals (sodalite, hauyne, calcite, and pyrite) that influence color and its distribution. Based on that varying composition, lapis lazuli is considered a rock, not a mineral.
Its unique deep blue color has never lost its attraction. It places lapis lazuli next to its fabulous sky-blue cousin turquoise. An affordable stone for its carat weight, it is popular as a cabochon for rings and bracelets and an all-time classic stone with a silver setting.
Lapis lazuli is fairly soft, 5-6 (Mohs scale) and sensitive to strong pressure, high temperatures and household chemicals.
For people around the world, lapis lazuli is considered a stone of truth and friendship. The blue stone is reputed to promote harmony in relationships.
Lapis Lazuli colors
The composition of the minerals, other than lazurite, influences the color as well. Well-distributed fine pyrite highlights the color with a brassy gold shimmer. Too much of the same mineral causes a dull, greenish tint. Lapis Lazuli fans may not agree as to how much pyrite is ideal. But most admirers and collectors of fine lapis lazuli agree -- the less calcite, the better. Calcite can be seen as streaks or patches within the darker blue, or it can predominate in the mix giving the rock an overall lighter blue shade.
Lapis lazuli is fairly soft, 5-6 (Mohs scale) and sensitive to strong pressure, high temperatures and household chemicals. A ring should always be removed during household work.
Lapis Lazuli location and deposits
World-famous Lapis Lazuli
Lapis Lazuli gemology
In Antiquity, as well as in the Middle Ages, people believed that the cosmos was reflected in gemstones. Lapis lazuli is assigned to the planet Jupiter. The esoteric movement revived the ancient believe and the gem industry made it another marketing tool to promote certain gems.
The healing powers of gems remain a controversial issue, but are mentioned for centuries by healers, shamans and medicine men. Whether it’s a fact or a placebo effect doesn’t matter, if it helps. The safest approach is to wear the gemstone in skin contact to the troubled part of the body. Lapis lazuli is said to be of help for headaches, sore throat and varicose veins.
- First Published: September-06-2006
- Last Updated: October-06-2010
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