Lapis lazuli information - This gemstone is an amazing blue color!
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The lapis lazuli gemstone is a soft, blue stone that has been used for many thousands of years to create beautiful carvings, beads and cabochons. It is one of the first gemstones, used by early humans. Artifacts made of lapis lazuli have been dated to the Neolithic period.
Lapis Lazuli gets its name from the ancient Persian word for blue. This gem has been ground into a fine powder and used as a coloring agent for paints, cosmetics and more.
The finest lapis lazuli has been traditionally found in Afghanistan. It is still mined there.
Lapis lazuli is usually a deep royal blue. Lower grades can contain white or gold colored inclusions. The white inclusions are calcite; the gold colored inclusions are pyrite.
The lapis lazuli gemstone has been traditionally believed to influence spiritual thinking, wisdom and insight. It has been believed by many to enhance the inner self.
Lapis lazuli is a 5 - 5 1/2 on the Mohs hardness scale, so it can be damaged if it hits a harder object. It can be scratched or wear over time. But with reasonable care, jewelry made with lapis lazuli can be worn for generations.
Because lapis lazuli is a very soft stone, it should not be cleaned with chemical dips or commercial jewelry cleaning compounds. It should not be worn while washing dishes or using household cleaning chemicals. It is a porous stone which can absorb liquids which will affect its color and possibly erode the stone.
Due to its soft nature, lapis is ideally suited for pendants, necklaces and earrings. Bracelets and rings require more attention and care to prevent chipping, scratching or cracking the stone.
Ultrasonic, chemical or steam cleaning is not recommended!
A rouge polishing cloth is okay. Lapis will usually polish up nicely when rubbed with a soft cloth.
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