As Lapis Lazuli (Arabic and Latin-blue stone) is composed of several minerals-in addition to lazurite (25-40 percent), including augite, calcite, diopside, enstatite, mica, hauinite, hornblende, nosean, sodalite, and/or pyrite--it is considered to be not a mineral, but a rock. The variation in composition also causes a wide range in the above data. The coloring agent is sulfur. In the best quality-specimens, the color is evenly distributed, but in general it is spotty, or striated. In the Lapis Lazuli from Chile (Chilean Lapis) and from Russia, a strongly protruding whitish or grey calcite diminishes the value. Well distributed fine pyrite is advantageous and is taken to show genuiness. Too much pyrite, on the other hand, causes a dull, greenish tint. Color can be improved through slight heating and dyeing. It has a vitreous and greasy luster. (See photo below)
Lapis Lazuli is sensitive to strong pressure and high temperatures, hot baths, acids,and alkalies. Rings should be taken off during household work! For 6,000 years , the deposit producing the finest material has been in the West Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan. Lapis Lazuli is present there as an irregular occurrence in limestone in difficult terrain. Russian deposits are at southwest of end of Lake Baikal. The matrix rock is dolmitic marble. Chile's deposit are north of Santiago. Other deposits are found in Angola, Burma (Myanmar) Canada, Pakistan, California, and Colorado.
Lapis Lazuli was already used in prehistoric times for jewelry. During the Middle Ages, it was also used as a pigment to produce ultramarine.
- Lapis Lazuli ultra marine pigment
Some palaces and churches have wall panels and columns inlaid with Lapis Lazuli. Today it is used for ring stones and necklaces, as well as sculptures, vases, and other ornamental objects.
- Lapis Lazuli elephant sculpture
- Handcrafted Rosary Necklace - www.komboloinyc.com
- Tsarevich (Faberge egg)
- Lapis Lazuli & Sterling Silver stretch bracelet
** Next Blog Agate gemstone.
** For more information on Gemstone jewelry you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for visiting my blog! Greg C.