Lapis lazuli is a gemstone well known for its bright blue color. It is formed when the minerals lazurite, calcite, and pyrite mix together with heat in metamorphic rocks. It is mostly found in Afghanistan, although stone mining is destructive and highly controversial. In ancient times, lapis lazuli was seen as a clear sign of wealth.
What is Lapis Lazuli?
Mainly due to its deep blue color, lapis lazuli has historically been seen as a way to present wealth and power. It was worn by ancient pharaohs, kings, and emperors. The gold specifications of the pyrites make the stone look even richer. Lapis lazuli contains mostly mineral lazurites, as well as calcite, pyrite, and small amounts of various other materials such as impurities. Lapis lazuli has a hardness between 5 and 5.5.
To form a Lapis lazuli stone there must be a mixture of three essential minerals: lazurite, calcite, and pyrite. Precious stones are found in metamorphic rocks that have variable compositions and physical properties. These minerals are often mixed due to the magmatic heat flowing into other colder deposits from more abundant rocks, such as limestone, where Lazurite, Calcite, and Pyrite are found inside.
Where is Lapis Lazuli Found?
Lapis lazuli was discovered about 6,000 years ago in the Western Hindu-Kush Mountains of present-day Afghanistan. Today, Afghanistan continues to be the largest manufacturer of jewelry. Other countries involved in production are Angola, Argentina, Canada, Chile, India, Italy, Myanmar, Pakistan, the United States, and Russia. Also, Read – Natural Stones and Properties by Zodiac Sign
Lapis lazuli is at the center of a very competitive market, especially for the locals who exploit the rock in Afghanistan, who often risk their lives for mine. In fact, in many places, the exploitation of the stone was illegal until recently. Explosives are used to destroy these rocks in mountain caves, where jewelry stores can be found. This process is repeated until deposits of Lapis lazuli are found. Due to the controversy and secrecy of the extraction practices, locations, and richness of Lapis lazuli deposits, it is difficult to estimate the exact number of production and the size of the reserves. Also, Read – 10 Most Common Types of Crystals | And What They’re Used For
What is Lapis Lazuli used for?
Since “Lapis” means “stone” in Latin and “Azula” means “blue” in Arabic, the name of the stone literally represents its appearance. It is known to be one of the most expensive gemstones in the world, with a wholesale price tag of approximately $ 1,620 USD for a 72.4 mm piece. For thousands of years, jewelry has been a valuable asset, and a common mineral forged in various types of jewelry, including necklaces, bracelets, and rings. Raw lapis lazuli is also often mentioned in many historical illustrations as a healing product. However, whether or not the jewelry has real healing properties is up for grabs. Also, Read – What are Natural Stones, What are the Properties of Natural Stones?