Lapis Lazuli--"lapis" meaning "stone" and "lazuli" which is derived from "azul" meaning "blue" is its name. It is the anniversary gemstone for 7th and 9th year of marriage. Lapis lazuli is one of the oldest of all gems, with history extending back 7,000 years or more, and is treasured all over the world for its beautiful deep blue color. Afghanistan was the first country to mine lapis lazuli and still continues to provide this beautiful gemstone, but now there are many mines throughout the world that mine for lapis lazuli such as in Chile, Siberia, Italy, Canada and the United States. Around the world people wear this gemstone as a symbol of truth and friendship.
Did you know lapis lazuli and turquoise are the two stones that are most often imitated? A natural lapis lazuli will have flecks of white and perhaps a little pyrite gold mixed with the blue. Fake lapis lazuli often has a uniform blue color and lacks any gold or white flecks. Calcite and sodalite are often used as imitations. To test if your lapis lazuli has been dyed, simply wipe your stone with acetone or alcohol; if it loses color it is either fake or a poor-quality lapis lazuli dyed to imitate better quality lapis lazuli.
At Fire Mountain Gems, you will notice in our descriptions that there are parenthesis noting if it is stabilized, dyed, natural, etc. For Example, this bead description: ”"Bead, lapis lazuli (natural), 5-6mm non-uniform round, C grade, Mohs hardness 5 to 6." The Mohs hardness is 5 to 6 which means it will just about scratch glass; although you could scratch the gem itself with a knife. Also, did you know that gemstones are cool to the touch? Glass imitations are cold as well, but they heat up quickly when held. Real gemstones will often remain cool even after prolonged holding. One more fact for authenticating lapis lazuli: if you were to cut a real lapis lazuli gemstone, it will emit a foul odor because it contains sulfur and it will oxidize as a reaction to the air.
Fire Mountain Gems has some new beautiful lapis lazuli (natural) available in limited quantity, from 3-4mm to 7-8mm sizes. Just think of what you could do with those beads! We have over 300 lapis items to view and almost a hundred incredible design ideas gallery of designs for additional inspiration.
Lapis lazuli pairs beautifully with Crystal Passions® crystals and gold or silver. Topaz can enhance the natural colors such as in this beautiful design from our own Fire Mountain Gems designer, Jamie, called
''Nishapur's Treasure'', or create a beautiful pair of earrings using silver and lapis lazuli such as
''Blue Mood''. Try mixing lapis lazuli with malachite for a real color treat--as used in
design idea 01E5--and see the the 36-inch mixed strand of lapis lazuli and malachite.
Read more about lapis lazuli in our "Gemstone Meanings and Properties" section.
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