Lapis Gemstones

Lapis, or lapis lazuli to give it its full name, is a vibrant blue coloured stone that is completely opaque. The name lapis lazuli comes from Arabic and means stone of the sky or heavens. Some lapis has small pyrite inclusions in gold or silver, which can add to the attractive overall appearance. Some may consder the finest lapis to be without inclusions, with an even, a deep blue purple colour. Others enjoy the dramatic "night sky" effect of the gold and silver inclusions against the deep blue.

Lapis Gemstones and Beads available to buy on eBay

About Lapis

Lapis is a beautiful deep blue, almost verging on purple colour. It is called the heaven stone in Arabic, and it is easy to see why. The deep blue is often complemented by pyrite includsions of gold and silver, giving a dramatic late evening sky impression.

Lapis Gemstone

Imitation and Treated Lapis

Sadly it seems lapis is becoming a victim of its own success. Its rise in popularity has resulted in a rise in imitations and treatments. Synthetic lapis was developed in the 20th century. Although it look svery similar, it is actually a lot harder than natural lapis. Sometimes other stones are dyed or stained to look like lapis. Also you may come across "reconstructed" lapis, where small parts of lapis stone are moulded together to create a larger stone.

Typical Lapis Uses

Lapis is actually quite a delicate stone. It is sensitive to acid and alkili, as well as high temperatures. Contact with strong cleaning chemicals should be avoided. But it is very veratile in how it can be finsihed, whether you choose a matte, natural look, or a highly polished finish, and also a natural, textured finish. You may also find cabochon cut lapis, perfect for mounting, and of course lapis beads, which make wonderful braclets and necklaces, and work especially well with either silver or gold, and a variety of other gemstones.

Lapis also makes wonderful and affordable beads, that can be used with a variety other gemstones, for example turquoise, such as the beautiful ethnic style beads below.

Lapis Beads

Lapis Occurrences and Origins

Lapis is found in Russia, Afghanistan, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Burma and USA. Many people consider the finest lapis to come from Afghanistan, because of the deep shade of blue colour. Argentinean lapis is also highly sought after, as is lapis from Siberia (Russia) although this is often lighter blue in colour.

Lapis Gemstones