Lapis Lazuli - Mineral and Healing Properties

Chemistry: Na6Ca2[S,SO4,Cl2)2lAl6Si6O24] Sodium calcium aluminum silicate.

Class: Silicates.

Subclass: Tectosilicates.


Uses: Ornamental and semi-precious stone.

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Lapis 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.

Origin Of The Name

This historical stone has a name closely associated with its intense color. Its name was derived from the Latin word 'lapis' meaning 'stone', and from the Arabic and Persian word 'lazaward'. 'Lazaward" was the Persian name for lapis stone, as well as the name of its mining location. In other parts of the world, words for 'blue' were named after the color of lapis, including the English word 'azure'; Italian 'azzurro'; Polish 'azur'; Spanish 'azur' and Romanian 'azuriu'.

Interesting Facts

The funeral mask for the ancient Egyptian pharaoh 'King Tut' was even discovered to have been decorated with lapis lazuli.The funeral mask for the ancient Egyptian pharaoh 'King Tut' was even discovered to have been decorated with lapis lazuli. Lapis lazuli shares with turquoise the distinction of being among the most prized of all gemstones of earlier civilizations. In a grave from the Indus valley, the lapis ornaments found were dated as 9000 years old. Lapis powder was extensively used by Roman, Persian and Chinese women to paint their eyebrows. From the days of ancient Greece and Rome trough to the Renaissance, lapis was pulverized to make a durable pigment called ultramarine, which was used extensively to produce the intense blue of many of the world's most famous oil paintings.

Where Is It Found

Discovered 6000 years ago, the oldest lapis lazuli deposits are located in the difficult terrain of the West Hindu-Kush Mountains in Afghanistan. Today, Afghanistan is known to produce the finest quality lapis lazuli and is also the most significant source. Other commercial deposits have been also found in Angola, Argentina, Canada, Chile (North of Santiago), India, Italy, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, Russia and the United States (California and Colorado).

What Do We Do With It

Lapis Lazuli, being an opaque gemstone, is cut into cabochons and beads, and used mainly in bracelets, necklaces, and pendants. Ornate carvings and utensils are also carved out of Lapis, especially animal carvings, snuff boxes, and talismans.

Metaphysical Uses

Lapis Lazuli is a powerful crystal for activating the higher mind and enhancing intellectual ability. It stimulates the desire for knowledge, truth and understanding, and aids the process of learning. It is excellent for enhancing memory.

A stone of truth, Lapis encourages honesty of the spirit, and in the spoken and written word. Wear it for all forms of deep communication. It is also a stone of friendship and brings harmony in relationships. Lapis Lazuli reminds us of the power of the spoken word and is one of the best stones to use when opening and balancing the Throat Chakra. Lapis Lazuli helps to foster full verbal expression, and clears problems caused by swallowing your tongue. Lapis encourages clear, truthful expression when sharing information with others, including an easier voicing/communication of anger.

A Third Eye Chakra opener, Lapis Lazuli connects the physical and celestial kingdoms. Deeply peaceful, Lapis provides wisdom into mystical realms and connection with spiritual guardians. Lapis Lazuli can be a key to spiritual attainment. Lapis also protects against psychic attack, shielding negative energy and returning any negative vibrations to their source. Lapis Lazuli will enhance dream work and spiritual journeying.

Physical Characteristics

Color: Lazur blue, violet, greenish-blue.

Luster: Vitreous, greasy to dull.

Transparency: Opaque.

Crystal System: Isometric.

Crystal Habits: Compact, massive.

Cleavage: Indistinct.

Fracture: Uneven-Conchoidal.

Hardness: 5.0 - 6.0

Specific Gravity: 2.4 - 2.5

Streak: Light Blue.

Other Characteristics: The variations in composition cause a wide variation in the above values.

Educational Videos

Lapis Lazuli mining in Sari-i-Sang in northern Afghanistan

Identifying Old and New Sources of Lapis Lazuli

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