(Last Updated on : 28/12/2012)
Lapis lazuli, gemstone
is the source of the pigment ultramarine. This is not a mineral as such but a rock coloured by lazurite. In addition to the sodalite minerals in lapis lazuli, small amounts of white calcite and of pyrite crystals are usually present. Because lapis is a rock of varying composition, its physical properties are variable. The name lapis comes from word pencil in Spanish.
Lapis Lazuli is used for more than 6000 years for jewellry and ornamental objects. Its name is derived from `lapis`. This is the Latin word for stone and `azul`, is the Arabian word for blue. Lapis lazuli is made up of 25 to 40 percent lazurite, plus several minerals. The names of the minerals can be mentioned as sodalite, hauyne, calcite, and pyrite. These minerals influence colour and its distribution. Based on that varying composition, lapis lazuli is considered a rock, not a mineral. Its unique deep blue colour has never lost its attraction.
It places Lapis lazuli next to its fabulous sky-blue cousin turquoise. This is an affordable stone for its carat weight, it is popular as a cabochon for rings and bracelets and an all-time classic stone with a silver setting. Lapis lazuli is soft. It`s hardness is 5-6 in Mohs scale and sensitive to strong pressure, high temperatures and household chemicals as well.
Lapis Lazuli with deep azure blue colour, often flecked with golden pyrite inclusions, was treasured by ancient Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations. Royal people of Egyptian and Babylonian civilisdations of that time also often wore it. Lapis lazuli was widely used by Egyptians for cosmetics and painting. Persian legend says that the heavens owed their blue colour to a massive slab of Lapis upon which the earth rested.
Lapis Lazuli is believed to be a sacred stone, buried with the dead to protect and guide them in the afterlife. Lapis lazuli is one of the gemstones that used in commesso, also called florentine mosaic. Commesso is a technique of fashioning pictures with thin, cut-to-shape pieces of brightly coloured, semiprecious stones, developed in Florence in the late 16th century. The stones most commonly used are agate
es, chalcedonies, jasper
s, granites, porphyries, petrified woods, and lapis lazuli. Commesso pictures used mainly for tabletops and small wall panels, ranging from emblematic and floral subjects to landscapes. The colour of lapis lazuli can be improved through light heating and dyeing.
For centuries, Lapis Lazuli has been praised for jewellery. However, it has also been used to make the beautiful blue paint ultramarine and has been used as a source of writing instruments. Ultramarine is used in paints, lacquers, and decorating materials. It has a particularly brilliant blue colour and is very lightfast.
Lapis Lazuli is a gemstone usually compared to stars in the sky. This gemstone occurs in various shades of blue with some qualities being speckled with white calcite and some with yellow pyrite. The finest Lapis Lazuli is even blue colour with little or no staining from other elements. Lapis Lazuli is the anniversary gemstone for the 7th and 9th year of marriage.
Lapis Lazuli is used with other stones when parts of the body need to be purified and cleansed and should be used by a healer. Lapis Lazuli has high intensity and can open many of the chakra centers. This must be done only with love in the heart and comprehension in the mind and wisdom in soul. The stone is said to increase psychic abilities. Lapis lazuli eliminates negative emotions. Lapis is said to be a cure for melancholy and for certain types of fever. It relieves sore throat pain. This stone is traditionally believed to increase mental clarity, virility, and calm. Lapis Lazuli is energy focuser for teachers, lecturers and speakers.It successfully enhances creative self-expression. It is believed to be useful in relieving depression and promoting spirituality. Lapis Lazuli is also powerful during meditation.
Wearing a Lapis Lazuli ring can help someone to become a channel. The ancient Egyptians used Lapis Lazuli as a symbol of Truth. For people around the world, lapis lazuli is considered a stone of truth and friendship. The blue stone is reputed to promote harmony in relationships.
Lapis Lazuli can easily be scratched or chipped. Water can dissolve the stone`s protective coatings. Hence, lapis lazuli jewellery should be cleaned with a soft dry cloth. Lapis lazuli has been widely used as a semiprecious stone throughout history. It is most often seen as a necklace of beads or carved pendants. Fine natural Lapis Lazuli can be rather pricey. Jewelry with the high quality stones with no calcite or pyrite veins can be quite expensive. Much of the jewellery that is sold as Lapis is artificially coloured jasper from Germany that shows colourless specks of clear, crystallized quartz
and never the gold like flecks of pyrite.