Lapis Lazuli is perhaps one of the most beautiful names for one of the most beautiful gemstones on Earth, and those words simply mean ‘blue stone”. Lapis lazuli is not a mineral, but rather a deep blue metamorphic rock that is made up mainly of the blue mineral lazurite, plus calcite and pyrite, which gives it its sparkle. In nature Lapis Lazuli occurs most commonly in association with marble that has been deformed and altered through contact metamorphism, that is, when carbonates are in contact with heat and fluids associated with an igneous intrusion.
Lapis Lazuli has caught the eye of humankind and been used for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptions created amulets from Lapis, and ground it for blue pigment for cosmetics. Cylinder seals made from Lapis were created by Assyrians and Babylonians. More than 6,000 beautifully executed lapis lazuli statuettes of birds, deer and rodents as well as dishes, beads and cylinder seals have been found in the Ancient Royal Sumerian tombs of Ur in Iraq.
Today, the finest quality Lapis Lazuli is mined in Afghanistan. It is primarily used to make sculptures and is cut and polished into cabochons, set in silver or gold and made into bracelets, necklaces and earrings. It is considered a symbol of friendship and is the commemorative stone for the 9th wedding anniversary.