its best, this opaque stone is a glorious deep blue flecked
with gold flakes of iron pyrites. The name comes from the
Latin lapis for stone and lazulum from the Persian word
as it is usually called, is thought to be the stone referred
to as a sapphire in the Old Testament. There it is described
as being ‘sapphire sprinkled with gold dust’,
an apt description of lapis lazuli.
ancients believed that blue stones, being similar in colour
to the heavens, attracted insight and understanding. For
this reason, Egyptian judges wore pieces of lapis carved
into a likeness of the goddess Ma, who represented truth.
to a prescription written in 1600 BC, lapis lazuli was one
of the ingredients in a remedy for cataracts.
The Healing Power Of Crystals By Cass & Janie Jackson
color of lapis lazuli varies from greenish-blue to a rich
purple-blue. Dark intense blue is the most prized color.
The rock was powdered for the pigment ultramarine.
name lapis lazuli is derived from the Persian word lazhward,
Under long wave ultraviolet light orange spots or streaks
can be seen. These are more pronounced in material from
Chile than that from Afghanistan.
Lazuli shows a bright whitish glow under longwave ultraviolet
light and dull orange spots or streaks under shortwave ultraviolet
light and X-rays.
Lapis lazuli has been mined in Afghanistan for over 6,000
years. The mines were described by Marco Polo in 1271. Light
blue boulders of lapis lazuli are found in rivers on the
southern end of Lake Baikal, Russia.
A paler-colored lapis lazuli is mined in the Chilean Andes.
A very dark lapis lazuli was found in the Colorado Rockies
in rocks formed by contact metamorphism; it contains pyrite
but lacks the textures and hardness of good lapis. Other
localities include California, Myanmar (formerlyBurma ),
Angola, Pakistan, and Canada. Canadian lapis lazuli is blue-gray,
with patches of bright blue and white, and contains pyrite,
but is not used as a gem material as it is porous and does
not take a good polish.
Lapis lazuli is an opaque mineral and is therefore usually
cut en cabochon or used as seal stones, beads, small carved
objects and inlay material. Lapis lazuli has been imitated
by blue-stained jasper (“Swiss lapis”), which
can be recognized by its lack of pyrite inclusions.
Imitations are also made using glass with copper inclusions
and by coloring synthetic spinel blue by cobalt. Crushed
lapis lazuli with included pyrite is bonded with plastic
and some is dyed, but these are recognizable as nail varnish
will remove the dye.
A Gilson “created” lapis lazuli was produced
in the mid 1970s. Although the color is similar, the density
is lower, and the porosity higher than true lapis lazuli.
The pyrite inclusions also appear far too regularly arranged.
Imitations can all be recognized by their lack of a whitish
glow under longwave ultraviolet light.
Rocks, Crystals Minerals Edited By Rosie Hankin