Lapislazulli Gems Rock and Mineral Information

What is Lapislazulli Gemstone? A rock or mineral?

Lapis Lazuli is a deep blue semi-precious opaque gemstone. It is famous for its rich blue colour. Lapis is basically a metamorphic rock and mineral. It has been using through centuries by ancient civilizations. Lapis still continues to be liked by people today. Lapislazulli is formed by lazurite mineral. Lapislazulli is an opaque stone. Along with azurite, another mineral calcite is included with lovely golden pyrite. Sometimes, it also contains mica, augite,  hornblende, diopside,  sodalite.

Lapis Lazulli name derives from Arabic and Latin which means " blue stone". Lapislazulli is an impure form of lazurite.


About Lapislazulli Properties

Chemical Formula (Na,Ca)8Al6Si6O24(S,SO)4
Color Blue with other colour inclusions like white calcite, goldn pyrite
Hardness 5 - 5.5
Crystal System Isometric
R.I 1.5
Crystal Habit Compact, massive
S.G 2.4 - 2.5
Streak Light Blue
Transparency Opaque
Fractures Uneven-Conchoidal
Double Refraction None
Luster Vitreous to greasy, dull
Cleavage 3,6
Mineral Class The main mineral is Lazurite, Others are calcite and pyrite

Common Mineral Association

Calcite, Pyrite, mica, augite,  hornblende, diopside,  sodalite.

How Lapislazulli Get its Colour?

Lapis blue colour is mainly due to the mineral component "Lazurite". This mineral gives the lapis blue colour. Due to pyrite, it can be greenish blue. It also contains the calcite which is white, sodalite (medium blue) and metallic yellow colour by pyrite.

Locations of Lapislazulli in the World

Lapislazulli is mostly found in Afghanistan. The mining of lapislazulli in Afghanistan dates back to the 5000 BC. The deposits of lapis are also found in Canada, USA, Russian, Chilli, and Argentina.

[caption id="attachment_2402" align="aligncenter" width="384"]Locations where lapislazulli gemstone is found Locations where lapislazulli gemstone is found[/caption]

What is the history of Lapislazulli Gemstone and Mineral?

Almost 7th millennium BC, lapis has been mining in Sar -i-Sang mines and Shortugai. Other mines were in Badakhshan which is the northeast province of Afghanistan. Almost 1900 - 3300 BC before, lapis was famous in Indus Valley Civilization. One can find lapis beads in Neolithic burials in Mehrgarh. It was used as burial mask of Tutankhamun almost 1341 - 1323 BC.

Lapis has been mined almost 6500 years back as per historians. The gem has been treasured by ancient people especially from China, Greece, Egypt, Rom. Ancient civilizations used to value the gemstone because of its vivid blue and exquisite color. It was used to be given value at sapphire and turquoise. In Afghanistan, the mining of lapis date back to 5000 BC. It has been mined in Badakshan province of Afghanistan. The area is bare and barren. The height of mountains is approximately 17,000 feet where the lapis is found.

Uses of Lapislazulli Gems?

Lapilazulli is cut and polished into beads, cabochons, tumbles, carving, handmade decoration items, tables, tiles, and many others. Mostly lapis is used in jewelry in form of beads, tumbles, cabochons. For hundred thousand years, lapis has been using as fashion. It was not fixed to jewelry. It has been used in other items like bowls, dagger handles, hair combs.


Nowadays, lapis is used in free forms and sculptures. Carving is very famous in lapis.

Today, lapis is frequently fashioned into freeform and nature-themed sculptures. Some of these carvings become wearable art, others are purely decorative.

What are Geological and Geographic Occurrences of Lapislazulli?

Lapilazulli is a metamorphic rock however they take formation near igneous intrusions where marble of limestone are altered by contact metamorphism or hydrothermal metamorphism. It develops in bands or layers. Most of the lapis reserves are found in Afghanistan. In fact, Afghanistan is the leading area in providing lapis rocks and minerals. Location of other countries where lapis is found, we have already mentioned above.



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