Foxfire Jewelers The Creative Custom Jewelry Studio since 1985

2250 North Coast Highway Newport Oregon 97365

(541) 265-RING    (541) 265-7464

Lapis Lazuli

Found in Afghanistan and Chile, Lapis Lazuli was well known to the Egyptian pharaohs and in Persian kingdoms. It was highly valued due to its relative scarcity and was used in Tutankhamun's famous burial mask. The ancient Egyptians regarded the stone as a symbol of the heavens, and wore it carved in designs representing various deities and religious images. Faience, an ancient Egyptian pottery, was made to imitate Lapis Lazuli and turquoise for the masses.

Lapis Lazuli is a vivid blue opaque gemstone that is a composite of several minerals including Lazurite, Calcite, and Sodalite. It is generally a mottled blue color. Frequent inclusions of pyrite may pepper the stone with golden colored spangles. Its name comes from the Latin word 'Lapis' meaning stone and an Arabic word 'Azul' meaning blue. It was also used in European cultures to symbolize the heavens in which the stars are held, and in some cultures to signify chastity. Lapis Lazuli was thought to be a cure for melancholy and fever.

Some people believed that the ten commandments were in fact carved on tablets of Lapis Lazuli. Legends describe Lapis Lazuli as being a favorite stone of the alchemists. It was thought to bestow wisdom and promote truth. By placing it on a painful area or where swelling occurred, it was thought to provide relief. The gemstone was worn as a talisman to attract friends, gain favors, and protect the wearer in darkness. In times past it was ground to produce the pigment ultramarine, although this color is now synthesized.
Hardness: 5-6
Toughness: Fair