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History & Legends

Lapis Lazuli with its deep azure blue colour and often flecked with golden pyrite inclusions, was treasured by the ancient Babylonians and Egyptians and often worn by royalty. 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 was believed to be a sacred stone, buried with the dead to protect and guide them in the afterlife.
In the Americas, the Incas, Molles, Diaguitas and other pre-Columbian cultures have, for thousands of years, used lapis lazuli to ornament masks and other artifacts. more....

Physical Properties

A relatively soft stone, with a hardness of around 5.5 on the Mohs scale, lapis lazuli is one of the most valuable semi opaque stones.

Often times referred to as a gem, this beautiful stone is lltechnically a rock, consisting mostly of the minerals, lazurite and pyrite which makes up the golden specks.

Lapis is formed by contact metamorphism which occurs deep below the earth's surface. more....

Source: Location & Mining

The stone is mined from deposits located at 3600 meters above-sea-level in the Andes Mountains in the area of Ovalle, Chile. In 1851, the location of this deposit was mapped, and in 1894 Las Flores de Los Andes was officially registered as a mining property of Chile.

In 1950, its commercial mining was begun, and in 1989, the company Las Flores de Los Andes S. A. built a 60 km. access road, that allowed for the transport of machinery to the mine in order to start the extraction of material in larger quantities and sizes. more....

Meta-Physical Properties

For many people all over the world Lapis lazuli is considered a stone of universal truth and friendship. The blue stone is reputed to bring about harmony in relationships and to help its wearer being an authentic individual who may openly state his or her opinion.

Lapis Lazuli is a powerful stone for those who seek spiritual development more....

Uses and By-products

Lapis takes an excellent polish and can be made into jewellery, carvings, boxes, mosaics, ornaments and vases.

In architecture it has been used for cladding the walls and columns of palaces and churches.

It was also ground and processed to make the pigment Ultramarine for tempera paint and, more rarely, oil paint. more....

Working with Lapis Lazuli

Many a cutter 'turns up his nose' when cutting lapis lazuli, for as soon as the stone comes into contact with the cutting-disc it gives off a typical smell. An experienced cutter can even tell from the odour how intense the colour is. When polishing this stone, he must handle it gently on account of its modest hardness and not subject it to much pressure. . more....

Caring for Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli is somewhat porous and should be protected from chemicals and solvents, never put Lapis in a chemical dip or ionic jewellery cleaner. Your best bet is to simply wipe it off with a barely damp cloth without soap. Lapis is not very hard at 5.5 and should be protected from other jewellery when stored to avoid scratches (i.e.. clean and store it as you would a pearl or Opal). more....

faba Chile: design & handicrafts in Lapis Lazuli