Lapis lazuli, or lapis for short, is a metamorphic rock with an incredible, deep blue color. Because of its intense color, this rock is collected as a semi-precious stone. In fact, it has been collected since around 7,000 B.C.! The largest and most prolific Lapis mines are located in Afghanistan, but the rock is also found in Russia, Chile, Italy, Mongolia, Canada and the U.S.
In addition to Lapis being used in jewelry, at the end of the Middle Ages the stone was exported to Europe, where it was ground into a fine powder and used to make a paint pigment called ultramarine. Ultramarine was the finest and most expensive blue used by Renaissance painters. It was often used for the robes of the Virgin Mary, and symbolized holiness and humility. It remained an extremely expensive pigment until a synthetic ultramarine was invented in 1826.
Since lapis is a rock, it contains many different minerals. From specimen to specimen, the exact composition, of course, varies. The most important mineral component is lazurite (25% to 40%). This rock can also contain calcite, sodalite, pyrite, augite, diopside, mica, hornblende, and more.
Lapis is often used in lapidary since it takes an excellent polish. It is made into jewelry, carvings, boxes, mosaics, ornaments, small statues, and vases.
According to metaphysical experts, Lapis stones can help us to go deep within ourselves to discover our true purpose and destiny. It can also help enhance self-expression and awareness. Lapis is a universal symbol of wisdom and truth.