The beautiful Lapis Lazuli

Posted on August 29, 2012 by Brad Bilsten | 2 Comments


A little bit of history on a rock largely made up of the mineral lazurite - Lapis Lazuli - lapis is the Latin word for "stone" and lazuli is the translation from the Persian word lāzaward meaning "sky" - therefore this beautiful blue stone was known as a sky stone.

The name of the place came to be associated with the stone mined there and, eventually, with its color. The French azur, the Italian azzurro, the Polish lazur and the Spanish and Portuguese azul have a common language thread.

In ancient times, lapis lazuli was known as sapphire which is the name that is used today for the blue corundum variety of sapphire.

Ultramarine was known as "blue gold" because it was more expensive than gold at times. Lapis was forbidden to commoners in ancient Egypt, where only royalty could wear it and were made into amulets and scarabs. Lapis was also ground into powder and was used as an adornment and the well known blue eyeshadow used by Cleopatra was ground lapis!

In the fourteenth century, lapis lazuli stones were ground up and mixed with oils to create the highly prized and very expensive ultramarine used by artists (such as da Vinci) in paintings (such as those in the Sistine Chapel).

Lapis is 5-5.5 on the Moh's scale and therefore great for pendants and necklaces. It is a personal preference on whether the strong blue is more desirable, or pieces that have inclusions of gold flecks of pyrite.

(Information courtesy of Colored Gemstone Magazine and Wikipedia).

Posted in Lapis Lazuli

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