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Beading Resources > EncycloBEADia > Lapis Lazuli

 Lapis Lazuli Gemstone Properties 


Design Possibilities

Royal blue lapis lazuli characteristically has either whitish or yellowish matrix or feathering. When it is flecked with white, it is perfectly complemented by silver and turquoise for a southwestern look. If it has brassy specks, it is regal with gold. Lapis also has darker regions that can be accented when strung with black onyx or antiqued silver beads. For a harmonious combination, mix lapis with faceted purple amethyst, and for a dazzling look, use it in a design with coral or fire-orange carnelian.

History/Background

Since the earliest of times, lapis lazuli has been associated with strength and courage. The Sumerians believed that the spirit of their gods lived within the stone. That theme was adopted by the ancient Egyptians, who drew a connection between the speckling of the stone and the glittering stars in the night sky. One of the most famous uses of the stone is in the mask of King Tutankhamen, where it is inlaid with turquoise and carnelian in bright gold. It was used by European artists during the Middle Ages, ground as pigment for producing the color aquamarine.

Metaphysical/Healing Properties

From antiquity, lapis lazuli has been worn in the belief that it will ward off evil. In ancient Egypt, it was powdered and worn about the eyes to improve eyesight. Today, it is considered by some to be an aid to balancing the brow chakra (which influences vision and hearing). Imbalances of the brow (or blue) chakra are said to cause headaches, anxiety and disorders of the skin.

Scientific Description

Lapis lazuli is an intense royal blue stone. Until the Middle Ages, it was referred to by the name sapphire (from the Greek for the color blue). The beautiful mixture of textures of white calcite (cloudy, patchy) and pyrite (brassy feathering) gives lapis lazuli its characteristic look. The stone has other ingredients: lazurite, sodalite and hauyne.
Mineral InformationSulfur containing sodium aluminum silicate
Chemical CompositionNa8(Al6Si6O24)S2
ColorDeep blue
Hardness5-6
Specific Gravity2.4-2.9
Refractive Indexapprox. 1.50

Occurrence

Lapis lazuli is found with limestone or as separate boulders. It was well-known to the ancient world because it was first found in Afghanistan. Stones from that region are still considered to be of the best quality. Argentina also produces a premium deep blue variety. Lapis lazuli is found in the USA and Canada and less intense blue examples are found in Chile and in the former USSR.

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**Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. Fire Mountain Gems and Beads® does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.


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