THE MINERAL LAPIS LAZULI
Lazuli is one of the most sought after stones in use since man's
history began. Its deep, celestial blue remains the symbol of royalty
and honor, gods and power, spirit and vision. It is a universal symbol
of wisdom and truth.
In ancient times Lapis Lazuli was most
highly regarded because of its beautiful color and the valuable
ultramarine dye derived from it. Its name comes from the Latin lapis,
"stone," and the Persian lazhuward, "blue." It is rock formed by
multiple minerals, mostly Lazurite, Sodalite, Calcite and Pyrite, and is
a rich medium to royal blue with gold flecks.
Lapis Lazuli was
among the most highly prized tribute paid to Egypt, obtained from the
oldest mines in the world, worked from around 4000 B.C. and still in use
today. Referenced in the Old Testament as sapphire, Lapis Lazuli is
most likely the fifth stone in the original breastplate of the High
Priest, as well as those of later times. The golden sarcophagus of King
Tutankhamen was richly inlaid with Lapis, as were other burial ornaments
of Egyptian kings and queens.