Lapis Lazuli or simply Lapis, is a rock comprised of three different minerals – calcite, pyrite and lazurite. The name derives from the Latin 'lapis', which means ‘stone’ and the Arabic 'azul', which means blue.
Lapis Lazuli has been mined for at least 6,000 years in the remote mountains of Afghanistan. The rugged terrain here blocks the one road access to the mine during the winter months (December through May) and makes mining impossible.
In ancient Egypt, lapis was extremely popular and was worn to ward off evil spirits and to give good luck to the wearer. The stone and its deep blue colour, speckled with glistening pyrite, were associated with the night sky. The Egyptians often referred to the rising sun as the ‘child of lapis’.
In the middle ages Lapis was called ‘the stone of power’. It was thought to confer ability, fearlessness success, wisdom and divine favour. Timid children were often given necklaces of Lapis to develop courage.
Where is lapis lazuli mined?
Today Lapis Lazuli is being mined in the southern months at altitudes of around 14,000 ft in both Afghanistan and Chile.
Lapis Lazuli is 5-5.5 on the Mohs scale.
Blue with flecks of silver (pyrite) and white (calcite).
Birthstone and Anniversary Stone
Lapis is traditionally given as a gift on the 9th wedding anniversary.