search
  • Sign In
    Sign Up
  • English speaking customer support only

    Toll Free - USA & Canada only:
    1-800-464-1640

    International:
    +66-39303404

  • Change Language
  • USD

The Wonders of Lapis Lazuli

There are few gemstones with as long and romantic a history as lapis lazuli. Though found in several locations around the world, the finest lapis comes from Badakhshan Province of Northern Afghanistan, where it has been mined continuously for over 6,000 years.

Lapis Lazuli Gemstone
Lapis Lazuli Gemstone

Lapis lazuli was one of the earliest gemstone materials. It was used for sacred amulets in ancient Egypt and by the Assyrians and Babylonians for cylinder seals. Historians believe that Cleopatra used powdered lapis for eye shadow. The ancient royal Sumerian tombs of Ur, located near the Euphrates River in Lower Iraq, contained more than 6,000 beautifully executed lapis lazuli statuettes of birds, deer and rodents as well as dishes, beads and cylinder seals.

Buy lapis lazuliPowdered lapis was also the source for the blue pigment known as ultramarine, used by painters from the Medieval period through the Renaissance. The synthetic version of ultramarine was discovered early in the 19th century and the use of expensive lapis for pigments quickly declined.

Lapis is one of the few gemstones that is a rock rather than a mineral. That is because lapis is normally a mixture of 3 minerals; lazurite, calcite and pyrite. Lazurite, a complex mineral containing sulfur, is the essential ingredient of lapis that gives it its vivid blue color. Calcite is calcium carbonate, a white mineral responsible for the white streaks in many specimens of lapis. Pyrite is iron sulfide, which is white-gold in color and lends lapis its distinctive glitter.

Natural Lapis Lazuli GemstonesThe finest lapis is a deep intense blue. Additionally, it is smooth and fine-grained with a glossy, polished surface. Collectors look for a low calcite content. The calcite can be seen as white streaks or patches within the darker blue, or it can be distributed throughout the specimen, giving the rock an overall lighter blue hue. Pyrite inclusions are valued by collectors, but the inclusions should not be too large, since they have a tendency to discolor at the edges.

Buy lapis lazuli gems from GemSelectLapis is a fairly soft stone, ranging from 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale. It is also somewhat porous and should be protected from solvents and chemicals. Lapis is almost always cut as cabochons or beads, or carved into a variety of ornamental objects. Though there are many choices today in blue gemstones, lapis is said to be the original blue stone. Its rich historical associations as well as its color make it a unique and attractive gemstone.

  • First Published: January-29-2008
  • Last Updated: January-23-2019
  • © 2005-2019 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
More Shapes
Popular Gemstones
  • Sapphire
  • Emerald
  • Ruby
  • Aquamarine
  • Zircon
  • Opal
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline
  • Garnet
  • Amethyst
  • Citrine
  • Tanzanite
All Gemstones (144)
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T V Z
  • Actinolite Cat's Eye
  • Agate
  • Agate Geode
  • Almandine Garnet
  • Amazonite
  • Amethyst
  • Amethyst Geode
  • Ametrine
  • Ammolite
  • Andalusite
  • Andesine Labradorite
  • Apatite
  • Aquamarine
  • Aventurine
  • Beryl
  • Black Opal
  • Bloodstone
  • Boulder Opal
  • Calcite
  • Carnelian
  • Cat's Eye Apatite
  • Cat's Eye Aquamarine
  • Cat's Eye Augite
  • Cat's Eye Gemstones
  • Cat's Eye Moonstone
  • Cat's Eye Opal
  • Cat's Eye Scapolite
  • Chalcedony
  • Charoite
  • Chocolate Opal
  • Chrome Diopside
  • Chrome Tourmaline
  • Chrysoberyl
  • Chrysocolla
  • Chrysoprase
  • Citrine
  • Citrine Geode
  • Color-Change Diaspore
  • Color-Change Fluorite
  • Color-Change Garnet
  • Color-Change Sapphire
  • Coral
  • Demantoid Garnet
  • Dendritic Agate
  • Diamond
  • Druzy Azurite
  • Emerald
  • Enstatite
  • Fire Agate
  • Fire Opal
  • Fluorite
  • Fossil Coral
  • Garnet
  • Golden Beryl
  • Grandidierite
  • Grossularite Garnet
  • Hawk's Eye
  • Hematite
  • Hemimorphite Druzy
  • Hessonite Garnet
  • Hiddenite
  • Howlite
  • Idocrase
  • Imperial Topaz
  • Iolite
  • Jade Gemstones
  • Jadeite
  • Jasper
  • Kornerupine
  • Kunzite
  • Kyanite
  • Labradorite
  • Lapis Lazuli
  • Larimar
  • Malachite
  • Malaya Garnet
  • Mali Garnet
  • Maw-Sit-Sit
  • Moonstone
  • Morganite
  • Moss Opal
  • Mother of Pearl
  • Mystic Quartz
  • Mystic Topaz
  • Nuummite
  • Obsidian
  • Opal
  • Opal Doublet
  • Opal in Matrix
  • Pearl
  • Peridot
  • Pietersite
  • Prehnite
  • Pyrite
  • Pyrope Garnet
  • Quartz
  • Quartz Cat's Eye
  • Quartz With Marcasite
  • Rainbow Moonstone
  • Rainbow Pyrite
  • Rhodochrosite
  • Rhodolite Garnet
  • Rhodonite
  • Rose Quartz
  • Ruby
  • Ruby in Fuchsite
  • Ruby-Zoisite
  • Rutile Quartz
  • Sapphire
  • Scolecite
  • Seraphinite
  • Serpentine
  • Sillimanite
  • Sillimanite Cat's Eye
  • Smithsonite
  • Smoky Quartz
  • Snowflake Obsidian
  • Sodalite
  • Spectrolite
  • Spessartite Garnet
  • Sphalerite
  • Sphene
  • Spinel
  • Star Diopside
  • Star Garnet
  • Star Gemstones
  • Star Lemon Quartz
  • Star Moonstone
  • Star Rose Quartz
  • Star Ruby
  • Star Sapphire
  • Star Sunstone
  • Strawberry Quartz
  • Sugilite
  • Sunstone
  • Tanzanite
  • Tiger's Eye
  • Tiger's Eye Matrix
  • Topaz
  • Tourmaline
  • Tsavorite Garnet
  • Turquoise
  • Variscite
  • Zircon
Main Categories
  • New Arrivals
  • Gemstone Lots
  • Calibrated Gemstones
  • Gemstones By Piece
  • Top Grade Gems
  • Matching Pairs
  • Cabochon Gemstones
  • Drilled Gems, Briolettes and Beads
  • Birthstones
  • Gemstone Carvings
  • Fancy Gemstones
  • Star Gemstones
  • Unheated Sapphire
English speaking customer support only

Toll Free - USA & Canada only:
1-800-464-1640

International:
+66-39303404

Save Money
No shipping Fees for Additional Items!
$8.90 Worldwide Shipping

Update Translation
 
Current Value
New Value
GemSelect Gemstones
X Close Window
Colored Gemstones
X Close Window
Colored Gemstones
X Close Window
Colored Gemstones
Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

Size Comparison Chart