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Lapis Lazuli - Properties, origin, and care

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Lapis Lazuli - Properties, origin, and care

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli has been prized as a “stone of total awareness.” It is said to bring the wearer strong intuition and to increase one’s intellectual ability. As a result, it is one of the most desired stones of all time. Its deep, starry blue color reminds one of the star-lit sky and invokes a sense of wonder and possibilities.

This is a very good stone for professionals to wear as it promotes wisdom and good judgment, “feet on the ground.”  It can help with problem solving as it expands the awareness and can bring creativity. 

This is a gemstone used for millennia. It has been found in the Pharaoh’s tombs and was prized as a tribute to be given to the Pharaohs.   It has been worn by kings and rulers throughout history and across the world. It is also used to dye textiles in its deep, ultramarine blue. It is found all over the world, from Asia, to Africa to South America. Afghanistan has one of the most significant sources for quality Lapis.

The blue in Lapis Lazuli comes from the mineral Lazurite and most of a Lapis stone is Lazurite. However, most Lapis contains other minerals such as calcite which is seen in white streaks in the stone. Pyrite (Fool’s Gold, which also bring wealth & abundance to the wearer) is also commonly found in Lapis and shows up as flakes or splotches of gold and gives it a sparkle.  It is an opaque stone and has a hardness of 5- 5.5, rather soft but it is still often used in rings.




The finest lapis comes from Afghanistan and it usually has the deepest blues. Some mines have been taken control of at this point in time (2016) by terrorists who use the sales to fund them. Be sure to ask your dealer where the lapis comes from. If it is a stone mined years ago from Afghanistan, there should be no problem with it funding terrorism.

If your stone is deep blue and you fear it has been dyed, use fingernail polish remover on a small corner, if your cotton swab comes off with color, and the stone is lighter where you swabbed, it is probably dyed or may not even be lapis.

Be careful of some other stones that are dyed to look like Lapis. You can usually tell lapis by the streaks of white and gold which are not present in the dyed fakes. If the stone is too uniformly azure blue with no white streaks or gold at all, or very, very little, it is probably not Lapis Lazuli.

Also, too much white or a lighter blue color with a courser grain in the stone is often Sodalite which can be confused for Lapis Lazuli. Sodalite is a genuine stone with some similarities and is not necessarily dyed to look like Lapis. Sodalite is much cheaper than lapis.

Care: Lapis should be cleaned with soapy water, rinsed in clear water and dried with a soft cloth so as not to scratch it. Do not immerse a Lapis stone set in silver in liquid tarnish remover due to the tarnish on the silver. That can damage the Lapis stone, making it porous and lacking in luster. Keep it away from harsh household clears as well by removing a ring before using harsh cleaners. If the stone needs polishing, take it to a professional to correctly polish it and return it to its wonderful luster.

Buy Lapis with a conscious intent in mind to help you achieve your goals. It is most often set in silver but it looks divine set in gold.

Written by Sandra Jeffs


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