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Learn More About Lapis Lazuli Gemstones

What is Lapis Lazuli?

This exquisite navy blue colored gemstone is the birthstone for December and also represents the 7th and 9th wedding anniversaries. In centuries gone by, it was said to have the ability to impart wisdom and knowledge.

 

In this day and age, Lapis Lazuli has been embraced worldwide as a symbol of friendship, truth and harmonious relationships.

 

Consider When Buying Lapis Lazuli

Color – A deep blue is what defines this gemstone. Minute gold coloured pyrite inclusions are also to be seen and is another distinguishing feature. Make sure that these inclusions are gold, and no white calcite streaks or veins are present.

 

While most of the Lapis Lazuli mined globally is navy blue, a few sources of purple-tinted blue and green tinted blue have been found as well.

 

Cut – This stone can be cut into almost any shape such as oval, pear, round, etc, and is mostly available as cabochons. An interesting fact is that a Lapis Lazuli, when cut, produces a very foul smell.

Polished slabs of this rock are also in demand for purposes other than jewelry.

 

Clarity – This opaque gemstone should not display any fractures or cracks. Its luster is of a greasy nature.

 

Price – Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan commands premium prices as it is considered to be of the highest quality. Factors such as white calcite streaks, fractures and cracks significantly reduce the value and price of a stone. Greenish or purplish blue specimens are also valued lower than the navy blue variety, and therefore should not be priced in the same range.

 

Artificial enhancements are another reason for high-quality stones to lose their value, so always inquire if the stones you wish to buy have been enhanced.

 

Where is Lapis Lazuli Found?

The highest quality Lapis Lazuli is mined from Afghanistan, which was in fact, the first mine to produce this stone. Other sources are Pakistan, Mongolia, Italy, Russia, Canada, Burma, the USA, Siberia and Chile. However, the yield of these mines is of a slightly less exceptional quality.

  

 

 

Other Uses

In ancient times, this stone was used to create an exotic pigment called ultramarine that was used for oil paintings. This meant that the color would stand the test of time and last for generations.

 

Furthermore, Lapis Lazuli is useful even today as a lapidary material when turning out hand carved and decorative items.

 

Lapis Lazuli Jewelry

This lovely navy blue gemstone speckled with gold is a very popular choice for dangle drop earrings, pendant necklaces and bracelets. The Ashanti Jewels collections feature some very attractive designs that highlight the beauty of this stone, using 925 Sterling Silver or 14 Karat Gold Filled metal, and at very affordable prices too.

 

Although it is a durable gemstone, care must be taken to protect Lapis Lazuli gemstone jewelry from direct sunlight and cold temperatures. Furthermore, chemicals in cosmetics also pose a threat to the stability of the stone and must be avoided. Use just warm soapy water and a soft brush to clean these items and maintain them in brilliant condition for a lifetime.

 

Name

Lapis Lazuli

Is a Variety of

Lazurite

Crystallography 

Isometric; Crystals very rare, dodecahedral, up to about 2 inches in size. Also massive, compact, disseminated, in veins.

Refractive Index 

1.50 - 1.55

Colors 

Deep blue, azure blue, violet-blue, greenish blue.

Luster 

Dull

Fracture 

Uneven

Hardness 

5-6 (depending on impurity content).

Specific Gravity 

Pure: 2.38-2.45. gem lapis: 2.7-2.9 or higher if much pyrite present.

Cleavage 

Imperfect; none in massive material.

Heat Sensitivity

No

Luminescence 

Orange spots or streaks in LW (Afghanistan and Chile), dimmer and more pink in SW. X-rays cause yellowish glow in streaks. May fluoresce whitish in SW,

Wearability 

Good

Enhancements 

Dyeing, common

Special Care Instructions

Avoid contact with chemicals

Formula

(Na, Ca)8(Al, Si)12O24(S, SO4)

Optics 

Isotropic. N ca 1.50.

Etymology

From the Persian lazhward for blue stone.

Occurrence

Contact metamorphic mineral in limestone, formed by recrystallization of impurities; also in granites.

Inclusions 

Pyrite (brassy yellow) and white calcite in massive material.

 

 


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