Everything you need to know about Lapis Lazuli Gemstone

Lapis Lazuli is an old rock made up of a variety of minerals. Lazurite, calcite, and pyrite are the main minerals that form Lapis. Additionally, the stone may have trace amounts of mica, feldspar, amphibole, or diopside. Yet the gem's most desirable hue, a deep royal blue, is achieved by combining several other minerals with lazurite.

Lapis Lazuli gemstone


People have treasured precious lapidary stone — Lapis Lazuli — since ancient times. This gemstone's beautiful blue tint has made it a popular pigment for everything from paint and cosmetics to inlays and intarsia. Yet its striking contrast and visual appeal make it impossible to ignore.


In addition to the blue colour of the gem itself, Lapis often has varying amounts of white calcite matrix (host rock that encircles the gemstone), flecks or veins of gleaming yellow pyrite, or both. Also desirable is that the gem's body colour is consistent and glossy, with no pyrite or calcite inclusions.

Lapis Lazuli gemstone


Semitransparent to opaque, with a waxy to vitreous lustre. Depending on the mineral composition, it has a fair degree of toughness and hardness that ranges from 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale.

The distinctive colour of Lapis Lazuli referred to as indigo, royal, midnight, or marine blue, is medium to dark in tone, highly saturated, and slightly greenish blue to violetish blue. Lapis Lazuli's most valuable variety may contain gold-coloured pyrite flecks but lacks any discernible calcite. 

The value of Lapis Lazuli is not always diminished by the presence of spots, especially if they are small and dispersed attractively throughout the gem. However, the lowest-quality Lapis appears dull and green because of an excess of pyrite. Less expensive Lapis have streaks of white calcite.

Despite the common belief that Lapis only comes in a deep indigo blue, it comes in various blues and other colours. It can be any shade of blue, from ultramarine and royal to sky blue, turquoise, and even a greenish blue. 

The aggregate's colour is a product of the various mineral components that make it up. For instance, afghanite produces a more subdued, pastel blue. In contrast, mineral lazurite is responsible for producing genuine royal blue Lapis.

Lapis Lazuli gemstone


Various locations around the world serve as mines for Lapis. To this day, the mountains of Afghanistan continue to supply the world with the finest Lapis Lazuli, as they have for thousands of years. Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia, and Chile, are two other significant sources. Whereas Angola, Canada, Colorado (US), and Pakistan are all minor sources of Lapis Lazurite.


Birefringence Etymology Formula/Chemical Composition
None From the Persian lazhward for blue stone. (Na, Ca)8(Al, Si)12O24(S, SO4)/Aggregaate
Fracture Hardness Heat Sensitivity
Uneven 5-6 (depending on impurity content) No
Luminescence Present Luminescence Type Lustre
Yes Fluorescent, UV-Long, UV-Short, X-ray Colors Dull
Mineral Optics Pleochroism
Rock Isotropic. N around 1.50. None.
Refractive Index Special Care Instructions Transparency
1.50-1.55 Avoid contact with chemicals. Opaque
Variety of Wearability Specific Gravity
Lazurite Good Pure: 2.38-2.45. gem Lapis: 2.7-2.9 or higher if much pyrite is present.
Cleavage Colours Crystallography
Defective; none in the large-scale material. Deep blue, azure blue, violet-blue, and greenish blue. Isometric; Dodecahedral crystals up to about 2 inches are scarce. Additionally, massive, compact, dispersed, and in veins
Enhancements Luminescence Occurrence
Dyeing (typical), heat treatment, fracture filling, wax and oil impregnation. Afghanistan and Chile have orange spots or streaks in the LW; SW is darker and pinker. X-rays produce lines of yellowish glow. Fluoresce whitish in the southwest, By the recrystallisation of impurities, contact metamorphic minerals are formed in limestone and also in granite.



Experts estimate that the history of Lapis Lazuli and humans goes back at least 6,500 years. Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Greece, and Rome all treasured the gem highly. They admired it for the same reasons other blue gems, such as sapphire and turquoise, are admired: its vibrant, exquisite colour.

Lapis Lazuli gemstone


A province in modern-day Afghanistan called Badakshan is a barren, mountainous wasteland devoid of vegetation. There are dangerous ravines carved into the cliff faces, which reach heights of 17,000 feet. The fine Lapis Lazuli, an emerald treasure, is the only thing that draws people there.

It was the same as early as 700 BC when the area was a part of the country of Bactria. It is still possible to obtain Lapis from the operational mines back then. They are the earliest commercially exploited gem deposits known to exist anywhere in the world.

Travelling across Bactria, merchant caravans would deliver their precious blue cargo to the great cities of the ancient Greeks, Indians, Egyptians, Mesopotamians, and Persians. Marco Polo mentioned these Lapis mines in 1271, but few have ever seen them due to their inaccessible location.

Since ancient times, famous shapes of the Lapis have emphasised its rich, dark colour. Cabochons, beads, inlays, and tablets are the most common Lapis jewellery shapes. But the use of Lapis Lazuli has never been restricted to just that. It's also commonly used for carving. Game boards, bowls, dagger handles, hair combs, and amulets are some uses of Lapis throughout history.

Lapis Lazuli gemstone


These days, Lapis jewellery often features designs and shapes based on abstract and naturalistic art. These carvings can be worn as accessories or left as wall hangings.

Stone Size

Afghanistan's mines have yielded 100-kilogram rough blocks of high-quality Lapis. A Peruvian grave contained a block of Chilean material measuring 24 inches by 12 inches by 8 inches. A vase made of exquisite blue material stands 40.5" tall and is on display in Florence's Pitti Palace.

Lapis Lazuli gemstone



Lapis Lazuli, a beautiful blue gemstone, is only suitable for use in jewellery if special care is taken with it, as its hardness is only 5.6. Yet, rings and bracelets are common settings for this gem. You should only wear these pieces of jewellery on special occasions and always keep them in safe settings. Rings and bracelets set with Lapis stones may require repolishing over time, even if kept in pristine condition. Necklaces, earrings, brooches, and pins for your lapel or tie are all safe choices for daily wear.

Lapis Lazuli gemstone


Therefore, while cleaning Lapis, try the tried-and-true method of a soft brush and mild soap. Moreover, avoiding chemical solvents and mechanical cleaning methods like steam or ultrasonic systems is best.


1. What is Lapis Lazuli crystal good for?

Many people use Lapis Lazuli for its therapeutic benefits. This lovely indigo and gold gemstone is known for protecting against psychic attacks and cleansing the throat and third eye chakras. In addition to its well-known associations with heightened self-awareness and effective communication, Lapis Lazuli is a powerful ally for developing one's intuitive abilities, openness to the truth, and straightforwardness.

2. How much is Lapis Lazuli worth?

Although Lapis Lazuli is not an expensive stone, magnificent stones are still hard to come by. While superfine material can retail for $143 AU to $214 AU per carat or more, lower grades may sell for less than $1.42 AU per carat.

3. Is Lapis a rare gem?

Lapis is a precious gemstone that ranges in price from cheap to extremely expensive due to its scarcity in high quality.

4. Are sapphire and Lapis the same?

Lapis, at a Mohs hardness of 5-6, is significantly less hard than sapphire. Made of pyrite, calcite, and the blue mineral lazurite, Lapis is not similar to sapphire. Numerous pieces of subpar Lapis are dyed to intensify the colour.