What is lapis lazuli?
Lapis lazuli is a scarce and powerful stone, known as the national stone of Afghanistan. It has a distinctive blue color, a glassy to oily luster, and a hardness of 5.5, mostly produced in Afghanistan, Chile, Russia, and the United States. It is also the main raw material for natural blue pigments.
Properties of lapis lazuli: Unique blue color, delicate texture
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Lapis lazuli is an alkaline aluminosilicate mineral. Chemical formula (Na,Ca)7~8(Al,Si)12(O,S)24[SO4,Cl2(OH)2], refractive index N=1.50, hardness 5.5, glassy to greasy luster.
Lapis lazuli has a unique blue color, including dark blue, blue-violet, sky blue, light blue or greenish blue. It is the main raw material for natural blue pigments.
The blue color of lapis lazuli is determined by the amount of lapis lazuli minerals it contains. The more lapis lazuli minerals, the more intense the color, and vice versa.
And if the blue color is intense, pure and uniform, then the quality and value will be higher. On the contrary, if it is interwoven with white lines or spots, then concentration, purity and uniformity will be damaged, leading to lower quality and price.
Since lapis lazuli is usually a granular aggregate of many minerals, cracks and slits are inevitable in the crystal. This makes it a delicate stone that needs to be treated with care and attention.
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History: One of the oldest gemstones
Lapis lazuli is one of the oldest gemstones, developed and used by Central Asian countries as early as 6000 years ago. Its vivid lapis lazuli blue color won the hearts of all peoples.
Thousands of years ago, in ancient Egypt, the value of lapis lazuli was comparable to that of gold. In ancient India, Iran and other countries, lapis lazuli and turquoise, coral are extremely valuable gemstones. In ancient Greece and Rome, wearing lapis lazuli jewelry is considered a sign of wealth.
In ancient China, this blue gemstone was favored by emperors and was often buried in the tomb, because “its color is like the sky”, also known as the “emperor blue”.
In ancient Babylon and Egypt
To be detail, lapis lazuli was very valuable in ancient Babylon and Egypt, and it is expressed in poetry. For example, the moon god demon is described in this divine song: “Strong like a bull, a great head and horns, perfect in shape, long forehead hair, as great as lapis lazuli.”
At that time, this gemstone was believed to be a cure for melancholy and “intermittent malaria”, an intermittent fever that recurred every three days.
Lapis lazuli was often an important item on the tribute list given to Egypt, and was one of the most important gifts given to the Egyptian kings by the Babylonian kings. Amulets, cylindrical seals, stones with sacred beetles, and other artifacts found in ancient tombs and preserved in museums were made of this material.
Therefore, even though it took several years to return with their precious cargoes, traders traveled long distances to the badakshan mines for this stone.
When reporting the gold and silver plundered from the defeated country, it was often listed in front of gold and other valuables.
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In ancient Greek and Roman times
From ancient Greek and Roman times to the Renaissance, lapis lazuli was always ground into powder to make the ultramarine pigment used in many of the world’s most famous paintings.
In the Middle Ages, the decoration of manuscripts was a skilled art, and monks used the stone in the binding of scriptures by crushing it into powder, wetting it and kneading it with beeswax, rosin and sesame oil. This pigment was so valuable that working with it was a sign of wealth.
In ancient China
The ancient Chinese called lapis lazuli “dark blue star colored stone”. They developed it as a cosmetic for eyebrows and made pearl-encrusted screens out of its flakes.
Lapis lazuli stone meanings
Since the blue color of lapis lazuli is similar to that of the sky and the ocean, it is not only poetic, but also means hope, peace and harmony.
In addition, Lapis lazuli is also a symbol of wealth and authority. In ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt, lapis lazuli was of equal value to gold, and wearing lapis lazuli jewelry meant that the person was very rich. In ancient China, lapis lazuli was favored by the ancient emperors, signifying the sublime majesty of the heavens.
Finally, since lapis lazuli is the color of Medicine Buddha in Tibetan Buddhism, wearing lapis lazuli jewelry also means that Medicine Buddha will bless you with peace and health, no disease and no disaster.
Price of lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli is not graded as strictly as diamonds in market, and there is no uniform standard; Some are graded according to A-AAAAA, some are graded according to its color, which can be roughly divided into 3 categories:
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Lapis lazuli that has a pure dark blue color, no gold (pyrite) or white (calcite) impurity, a fine and tough texture, over 99% of lapis lazuli minerals, is of best quality and usually costs around $15/ gram; Price will be higher if it is made into nice carvings or accessories;
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Lapis lazuli that has a dark blue, sky blue or navy blue color, and gold or white impurity, is relative cheaper, costs about $5- $12/ gram;
Lapis lazuli that has black as well as gold and white impurities is very cheap, and costs about $5- $20/ piece.
Lapis lazuli healing properties
This blue gem is scarce, intriguing and very powerful. In fact, the lapis lazuli stone has been well known for powerful healing properties and been used for a long time as a protector against harmful energies and a key to unlock our spiritual, mental and physical potential.
1. Spiritual healing property of lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli helps to clear the consciousness, sharpen awareness, and strengthen the sixth sense and psychic ability.
Perfect for meditation
This blue gem is able to guide meditation along the highest path of self awareness. Place this blue crystal in your right hand and press hard to help relax your body and mind by balancing both positive and negative energies within yourself.
2. Physical healing property
Lapis lazuli can be used to relieve eye pressure and eliminate fatigue. Lie flat with your eyes closed, place the lapis lazuli flat on your eyeballs, with slow deep breathing, and visualize the indigo light penetrating your eyes, which can easily eliminate eye fatigue and protect your eyesight.
One of the main the lapis lazuli benefits is its ability to balance the throat chakra and facilitate the opening of the third eye.
To be detailed, lapis lazuli helps to harmonize the throat chakra to improve tracheal and respiratory disorders. And since it also corresponds to the brow chakra, lapis lazuli helps to treat insomnia, dizziness and headaches, reduce blood pressure, relieve visual tension.
3. Emotional healing property
This stone can disinhibit us and help us reduce anxiety, panic, insecurities that stagnate in our mind so that we can better understand ourselves and the world. It has a remarkable effect on the emotional wounds left after suffering, abuse and torture.
It also helps to drain the accumulated negative energies that will turn into hatred and resentment over time, and allows us to advance harmoniously on the paths of self-realization.
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Production: Afghanistan, Chile, Russia, Tajikistan, the United States, Canada
The main countries in the world that produce lapis lazuli gemstones are Afghanistan, Chile, Russia, Tajikistan, the United States, Canada.
The lapis lazuli in Afghanistan is produced in the lapis-bearing area of Badakhshan province, located in the Kokchi River basin in the eastern part of the Hindushku Mountains. There are many known deposits and occurrences, the most famous of which is the Sarezangh lapis lazuli deposit.
The Sarezango deposit is located in the valley of the Sarezango River, a tributary of the Kokchi River, and the average weight of the produced lapis lazuli nuggets is 2-7 kg, and some of them can reach 100-150 kg.
Lapis lazuli from this deposit is dark blue, sky blue and light blue in color, with fine grain structure or cryptocrystalline structure, and is the oldest and most famous source of high quality raw lapis lazuli in the world.
Lapis lazuli stone from Russia is produced in the southern region of Bin Baikal, including the Little Bestra deposit and the Sliudian deposit, the former producing lapis lazuli stones of brilliant blue color and the latter producing lapis lazuli stones of poorer quality.
The lapis lazuli gemstone from Tajikistan has fine-grained structure or cryptocrystalline structure, and its color is brilliant blue and sky blue.
The lapis lazuli gemstone from Chile is composed of lapis lazuli, calcite and pyrite, and the color is generally light, mostly light blue, a few are dark blue.
Canadian lapis lazuli gemstone, often coeval with tremolite, gold mica and other minerals, is generally lighter in color.
Cleansing and purification: Every 1 to 3 months
Lapis lazuli needs to be purified once every one to three months. In order to do so, buy some large grains of kosher salt (without common additives such as iodine), put it on a plate or dish and then bury the lapis lazuli stone within the salt. This is very effective and can last up to 3 months with a single purification, also called 100-day purification.
Care and maintenance
Lapis lazuli is a delicate stone that needs to be treated with care and attention. Therefore, it is important to know how to wear and care for this stone so as not to lose the original spirituality and beauty of your beloved jewelry.
Lapis lazuli jewelry should never be soaked and rinsed with water after tarnishing.
Because lapis lazuli is a granular aggregate of many minerals, if you soak and rinse it with water, the dirt on the surface of the stone will penetrate to the inside, which will change the original lapis lazuli luster. If lapis lazuli jewelry is tarnished, wipe it gently with a damp cloth to remove the dirt.
Avoid chemicals and water
Try not to wear it in the shower or while doing housework, so that chemicals such as water, shower gel, detergent do not penetrate internally along the fine lines of the lapis lazuli. It will damage the quality of the stone, and ruin its original color and the natural spirituality it possesses.
Avoid high temperatures and heat
Avoid high temperature and heat when wearing lapis lazuli, because the natural color of this gemstone may fade in a high temperature and heat environment.
Avoid bumping or squeezing
Lapis lazuli is made up of a mixture of minerals, so cracks and slits are inevitable in the crystal. We should be extra careful to avoid bumping or squeezing it during daily wear.
Conclusion: Unique, scarce and valuable
Lapis lazuli is a scarce and valuable stone. Nowadays, as the Afghan government has closed its three major production areas and severely restricted the export of this stone. Therefore, raw lapis lazuli stone is very scarce, and high quality lapis lazuli is rare in the market, which makes it even more precious.
If you like this stone, either for its unique blue color or powerful healing properties, you may want to buy some high quality lapis lazuli jewelry now!
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