THE MINERAL LAZURITE


Lazurite is a popular but generally expensive mineral. Well-formed, deep blue crystals are rare and valuable. It is more commonly found massive and combined with other minerals into a rock called Lapis Lazuli, which is an alternate birthstone for the month of September.

Lapis lazuli (often simply called lapis) is mostly lazurite but commonly contains pyrite and calcite and some other minerals. The name means "blue rock" and is always a brilliant blue with violet or greenish tints. The rich blue color is due to the sulfur that is inherent in the structure of lazurite. Small crystals of pyrite are always present in lapis and their brassy yellow color is both attractive and diagnostic in distinguishing lapis from its also blue cousin - sodalite rock, which lacks pyrite. The calcite produces white streaks in the lapis and too much calcite will lower the value of the stone.

Lapis lazuli has been mined for centuries from a locality still in use today in the remote mountain valley called Kokcha, Afghanistan. First mined 6000 years ago, the rock was transported to Egypt and present day Iraq and later to Europe where it was used in jewelry and for ornamental stone. Europeans even ground down the rock into an expensive powdered pigment for paints called "ultramarine". Today ultramarine is manufactured artificially. Although no longer the only source of lapis, Afghanistan still produces the finest quality material.

Lazurite is a member of the feldspathoid group of minerals. Minerals whose chemistries are close to that of the alkali feldspars but are poor in silica (SiO2) content are called feldspathoids. As a result - or more correctly as a function - of that fact, they are found in silica poor rocks containing other silica poor minerals and no quartz. If quartz were present when the melt was crystallizing, it would react with any feldspathoids and form a feldspar. Localities that have feldspathoids are few.

The name lazurite is often confused with the bright blue phosphate mineral lazulite. However the two minerals can not be confused with each other identification wise because of lazulite's typical vitreous luster and good crystal habit. The carbonate mineral azurite has a very similar color to lazurite but is associated with the green carbonate mineral malachite and reacts to acids.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS:

  • Color is brilliant blue with violet or greenish tints.
  • Luster is dull to greasy.
  • Transparency: Crystals are translucent to opaque.
  • Crystal System: Isometric; bar 4 3/m
  • Crystal Habits: Dodecahedral crystals have been found, usually massive as a rock (lapis lazuli) forming mineral.
  • Cleavage is poor, in six directions, but rarely seen.
  • Fracture is uneven
  • Hardness is 5 - 5.5
  • Specific Gravity is 2.3 - 2.4 (somewhat below average)
  • Streak is bright blue.
  • Other Characteristics: Index of refraction is 1.5.
  • Associated Minerals calcite, some pyroxenes and most diagnostic pyrite.
  • Notable Occurrences include Kokcha River valley, Afghanistan; Ovalle, Cordillera, Chile; near Lake Baikal, Russia; Mt. Vesuvius, Italy; Cascade Canyon, San Bernardino Mountains and Ontario Peak, California and in the Sawatch Mountains, Colorado, USA.
  • Best Field Indicators are the violet-blue color, pyrite association (unlike sodalite), locality and specific gravity.

Lapis Jewelry - Hover over an item for more information
Lapis, .36ct t.w. Diamond Pendant Necklace in Silver. 18"
Speckled with natural pyrite, this pendant necklace features a cushion-cut lapis wrapped in .36 ct. t.w of diamond rounds. Suspends from rope chain with lobster clasp. Sterling silver necklace.Only $250.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoLapis, .36ct t.w. Diamond Pendant Necklace in Silver. 18"
$250.00
Ross-Simons
Sterling Silver Exquisite Paved CZ, Deep Blue Lapis Hoop Heart Earrings
Handmade by Master Artisan. See more details at JeGem.com.Only $201.74 at JeGem.com
no photoSterling Silver Exquisite Paved CZ, Deep Blue Lapis Hoop Heart Earrings
$201.74
JeGem.com
Lapis and 13.10 ct. t.w. Multi-Stone Pendant in Sterling Silver
Our pendant with a rectangular lapis center features 13.10 ct. tot. gem wt. amethyst, citrine, peridot, garnet and white topaz. It reminds us of stained glass. Single bale accommodates 2mm chain, sold separately. Sterling silver pendant.Only $335.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoLapis and 13.10 ct. t.w. Multi-Stone Pendant in Sterling Silver
$335.00
Ross-Simons
Multi-Stone Scarab Bead Multi-Strand Bracelet Over Sterling. 7.5"
An RS exclusive. This scarab bead multi-strand bracelet has a bold carved synthetic turquoise scarab centerpiece featured on five rows of red agate and lapis beads. Slide clasp, 14kt yellow gold over sterling silver bracelet.Only $65.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoMulti-Stone Scarab Bead Multi-Strand Bracelet Over Sterling. 7.5"
$65.00
Ross-Simons
Lapis Statement Necklace in Sterling Silver, One Size
Make a statement with this necklace featuring lapis gemstones bezel set in sterling silver.Only $200.00 at Blue Nile
no photoLapis Statement Necklace in Sterling Silver, One Size
$200.00
Blue Nile
Men's Silver Exotic Stone Band Ring with Lapis Lazuli Size 8
Sterling silverLapis lazuli inlay8mm wideStore Style Number: R15471MSSBLAOnly $425.00 at DavidYurman.com
no photoMen's Silver Exotic Stone Band Ring with Lapis Lazuli Size 8
$425.00
DavidYurman.com
Multi-Stone Scarab Earrings in 14kt Yellow Gold Over Sterling
An RS exclusive. For centuries, scarab beetles have resided as a symbol of rebirth and renewal. These earrings feature three beetles carved into lapis, red agate and stabilized turquoise with .70 ct. t.w. garnets clustered in the center. Clip/post,...Only $115.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoMulti-Stone Scarab Earrings in 14kt Yellow Gold Over Sterling
$115.00
Ross-Simons
Lagos 'Maya' Station Bangle
A continuous trail of bubbly Caviar beads sets the reflective, dimension-rich tone of this handcrafted bangle starring vivid portrait-set stone stations. Color(s): blue, green, pink. Brand: Lagos. Style Name: Lagos 'Maya' Station Bangle. Style Number:...Only $595.00 at Nordstrom
no photoLagos 'Maya' Station Bangle
$595.00
Nordstrom
Lapis, .20ct t.w. Diamond Slide Pendant, Reversible Omega Necklace Over Sterling. 18"
An RS exclusive. Our Deco-style triple-lapis slide pendant comes in 18kt yellow gold over sterling silver with .20 ct. t.w. diamonds. A 2mm Omega necklace comes free with reversible sides of 14kt yellow gold and sterling silver. Lobster clasp with 1"...Only $395.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoLapis, .20ct t.w. Diamond Slide Pendant, Reversible Omega Necklace Over Sterling. 18"
$395.00
Ross-Simons
Sterling Silver Deep Blue Lapis Pendant
Handmade by Master Artisan. See more details at JeGem.com.Only $96.74 at JeGem.com
no photoSterling Silver Deep Blue Lapis Pendant
$96.74
JeGem.com
Milky Aquamarine and Lapis Dome Ring in 14kt Yellow Gold
With its ovals of blue and 14kt gold, this sensational cocktail ring reminds us of planet Earth illuminated in the night sky. A center milky aquamarine cabochon is surrounded in a halo of lapis, adding dimension and interest. 14kt yellow gold ring....Only $333.75 at Ross-Simons
no photoMilky Aquamarine and Lapis Dome Ring in 14kt Yellow Gold
$333.75
Ross-Simons
Lapis Flower Earrings With Diamond Accents in 14kt Yellow Gold
Sweet, petite posies of carved lapis are dewed with one diamond accent each, making one pretty pair of flower earrings. Post/clutch, 14kt yellow gold earrings.Only $135.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoLapis Flower Earrings With Diamond Accents in 14kt Yellow Gold
$135.00
Ross-Simons
Sterling Silver Deep Blue Lapis Pendant
Handmade by Master Artisan. See more details at JeGem.com.Only $94.49 at JeGem.com
no photoSterling Silver Deep Blue Lapis Pendant
$94.49
JeGem.com
6-18mm Lapis Bead Necklace in 14kt Yellow Gold
Flecked with natural pyrite, these rich blue beads graduate from small to sensational in 6-18mm connected by 14kt gold links and clasp. Fishhook clasp, 14kt yellow gold necklace.Only $281.25 at Ross-Simons
no photo6-18mm Lapis Bead Necklace in 14kt Yellow Gold
$281.25
Ross-Simons
Lapis Bamboo Ring in Sterling Silver. Size 7
Our ring, with bamboo stalks jutting across the provocative lapis stone, is a natural beauty. Details will vary. Sterling silver ring.Only $55.00 at Ross-Simons
no photoLapis Bamboo Ring in Sterling Silver. Size 7
$55.00
Ross-Simons

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