Lapis Lazuli Gemstone
Few gemstones equal the extensive and passionate history of lapis lazuli. Although found in many locations throughout the world, the Badakhshan province of northern Afghanistan offers the finest quality.
Lapis lazuli is an ancient gem, mined as far back as Neolithic times. Ancient civilizations treasured this stone. It is found in artifacts of Egyptian, Grecian, Roman, and Chinese origin. These could be decorative objects, such as amulets or other jewelry. But, just as often, practical items were carved from this stone including cups, bowls, and combs.
This gemstone is comprised of three main ingredients. Lazurite is responsible for the intense medium to dark blue color that makes the stone so loved. Pyrite provides the enchanting gold flecks. Calcite is responsible for the white webbing or streaks occurring as a matrix in some specimens.
As an opaque stone, lapis lazuli is most often fashioned into cabochons or beads. Frequently, this gem is also sculpted into decorative objects such as statues. The rough of this stone has a larger yield than many other gemstones. Due to this, it's very common to see larger stones set into jewelry or fashioned as beads.
• The lapis lazuli mines of Afghanistan are the oldest known commercial mines in existence. Their production goes back to at least 700 BC.
• The blue of lapis lazuli from Afghanistan is so revered and well known that it's called Afghan in the gem trade. Any specimen that matches this iconic color may be referred to as such, even if it doesn't originate from Afghanistan.
• Lapis lazuli derives its name from two sources. 'Lapis' is the Latin word for "stone." Lazuli stems from the Persian word 'lazhward,' which means "blue."
• For centuries, this material was ground to dust and used to produce the pigment known as ultramarine.
Labradorite was named after the Labrador Peninsula in eastern Canada where it was first found around 1770. However pieces of the gemstone also have been found among artifacts of the Native Americans in Maine. Other labradorite deposits have been found in Australia Finland Madagascar India Mexico and the Adirondack Mountains of the United States.
• Ranks 5 to 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.
• Color displays an intense dark sapphire blue, lightly dusted with flecks of golden pyrite.
• Sourced from the Sar-e-Sang mine in Afghanistan.