Mineral Class: Lazurite
Crystal System: Cubic
Hardness: 5 - 5.5
Diaphaneity: Semi-Translucent to Opaque
Colors: Blue, White, Gold
Source: Afghanistan, Chile, Italy, Middle East, Russia, and USA
Lapis Lazuli is made up of the mineral Lazurite, as well as white Calcite and sparkling specks of Pyrite. Lapis Lazuli, is a deep blue metamorphic rock desired as a semi-precious stone since antiquity. We have evidence as far back as 7000 BC, of Lapis being mined in Afghanistan. It was highly valued in the Indus river valley civilizations, and was used in the funeral mask of the famed King Tut. It slowly began being exported to Europe in the middle ages, where it was often ground to make pigments for artists.
Lapis gets its name “lazuward”, from the Persians for its prominent blue coloring. Known as the royal stone, Lapis featured in most royal ensembles and burials and its color was used in medieval and renaissance paintings depicting the Virgin Mary as well as the Saints. The blue signified their royalty and divinity. This gemstone is said to be one of the first gemstones ever worn as jewelry having been fashioned into cabochons and beads.