Lapis Lazuli Jewelry

Lapis lazuli jewelry can be worn as an alternate birthstone for the month of September. The gem, also know simply as lapis, is actually a rock composed of the minerals lazurite, pyrite, calcite and members of the sodalite group. The intensely blue gemstone gets its name from the Arabic allazward meaning sky or blue. Lapis lazuli has long been used in forms other than jewelry. Ancient Egyptians are know to have used the powdered form as pigment in medicines, cosmetics and paintings. Afghanistan is the major source for this gemstone and it is believed to have been mined there for over 6000 years.

The finest lapis lazuli jewelry is made using gemstones that are solid deep blue without white calcite spots and just a sprinkling of brassy yellow pyrite. The luster of lapis is often dull to greasy, though it is often polished with paraffin wax. Often, lapis lazuli jewelry is made using specimens that are cabochons in various shapes, polished beads or polished pebbles that have a very natural look.

Moh's scale of hardness is 5-6 for lapis lazuli. It is a fairly tough stone, though it is not recommended to steam-clean or clean using gem cleaner. It is recommended that a polishing cloth be used to maintain the brilliance of your lapis lazuli jewelry.


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