The name Lapis Lazuli comes from the Persian word, lazhward, which means blue. Lapis lazuli can be seen in jewelry, amulets, carvings and talismans. It was one of the stones in the ‘Breastplate of Judgement’ of Aaron, described in the bible (Exodus: xxviii, 15-30). Another notable use of lapis lazuli is, its use as an inscription stone for some passages from the Book of the Dead. The gem is still popular today often seen in beads, carvings, and various forms of jewelry. Lapis lazuli is even used in globes made of natural minerals, with lapis lazuli being the ocean. At one point, lapis lazuli was ground into a powder and used as the pigment “ultramarine” by painters from the pre-Renaissance period.
Lapis lazuli is not a pure mineral like most gemstones, it is a rock composed of the following; lazurite, sodalite, hauyne, calcite, and pyrite. The presence of pyrite can help distinguish natural lapis lazuli from many lapis simulants but not all. Lapis lazuli is the most valuable of the semi-opaque stones. The deep blue color with the specks of pyrite is often compared to a dark starry night.


Lapis lazuli primarily comes from Afghanistan but is also found in, Siberia, Chile, the United States, Pakistan, and Canada.

Properties, Treatments & Lab Created

Lapis is rated a 5 – 5.5 on the Mohs scale.

Lapis lazuli can be dyed.

There are simulants available that resemble the natural lapis lazuli. These simulants include; glass, plastic, enamel, and a variety of dyed gems.

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