The name Lapis Lazuli was derived from the Persian word ‘Lazur,’ which means blue stone. It was regarded by the ancient Egyptians as the stone of the gods and of royalty, and in fact, can be found on the eyes of King Tut's mask. A shiny mesmerizing blue color makes it more beautiful and attractive. Lapis lazuli is a natural compound of calcite, lazurite, and pyrite. Lazurite, where the stone acquires its deep blue color, is the major constituent while pyrite and calcite serve as accessory materials. It may contain a few mixtures of other minerals but contains at least 25% Lazurite. In ancient Arabic, Latin, and Persian it means ‘blue stone.’ There are various shades of the blue color present in Lapis Lazuli. If calcite concentration is higher, it appears lighter. It is then known as Denim Lapis. Recently, stones of good color are becoming more rare, and generally, the more intense the blue shade is, the more valuable the stone.
This stone has a metamorphic origin. Contact or thermal metamorphism yields Lapis Lazuli. It is a silicate of aluminum, sodium, and calcium with the chemical formula (Na,Ca)₈Al₆Si₆O₂₄(S,SO)₄. As more number of elements is present, it crystallizes as a polycrystalline material. Commonly, it is blue in color but sometimes green and violet varieties also occur. It is semi translucent to opaque, non-pleochroic in nature. Refractive index varies due to the mixture of various components. On a streak plate, it appears as a white to light blue in color. It has a vitreous luster and specific gravity of 2.25 to 3. Its Mohs hardness varies from 5 to 6. Cleavage planes are absent but uneven or granular fracture can be observed even by the naked eye.
Some believe this stone to be a stone of truth and anger. It is also known to help relieve anger and frustration. This stone is compared to the deep blue ocean for two changes that it brings in a person. First is calmness, and second is a depth of thoughts. It is also known to solve communication problems.
It is related to the brow and throat chakras. Lapis Lazuli pendants are usually gifted to newborns. It is a common belief that if a newborn wears it as a pendant, he or she will start to speak soon. If an adult wears the pendant, then his or her speech improves drastically. It is also considered as an aid to develop psychic abilities. People use this stone for meditation and is said to represent white (positive) magical powers. Many have always believed that it is a key to open a gateway between mortal and celestial worlds. Since the ancient times, this stone has been used for protection from physical and psychic attacks. It emanates powerful positive energy that enables the wearer to surmount depression, personal issues, or trauma. In divinity, Lapis Lazuli is used to earn the protection of spiritual guardians. Moreover, this stone is considered valuable as it is believed to enhance one's psychic abilities, heighten intuition, and aid in opening the third eye.
This stone is believed to be a powerful healing crystal and is known to be beneficial for healing headaches, migraines, skin problems, lymph gland conditions, as well as ear and eye problems. When used at home, it ostensibly helps bring closer ties within the family. At work, this stone is said to uphold the user's integrity and help in one's desired career advancement.
Lapis Lazuli is found in several parts of the globe. Afghanistan is known for the highest quality stone. There are many ancient mines which produce these high-quality stones in the last 2000 years. Italy, Russia, Egypt, USA, Pakistan, and Chile are the other countries known for the production of Lapis Lazuli. In recent times, its production has decreased significantly. This has caused an increase in importance and price. It is often used to make pendants, necklaces, and other pieces of jewelry, but is also widely used to make boxes, carvings, vases and small statues. It is also converted to powder form and used in the painting industry. Natural variety is very expensive but synthetic ones are low-priced. When used as ornamental pieces, this stone should be stored in a way that they would not rub against each other and is recommended only for specific types of jewelry where they would not be too exposed, thus would not easily be dented, such as pendants and earrings. It would also be helpful to prevent chemicals or other solvents from touching the stone in order to preserve its original quality.