Lapis Lazuli Raw and Polished Stone
Lapis Lazuli Raw and Polished Stone


Lapis lazuli, with its deep, enchanting blue hue speckled with golden pyrite inclusions, has captivated humanity for millennia. This stunning gemstone, whose name means “blue stone,” has been highly prized not only for its beauty but also for its rich historical and cultural significance. From the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia to the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, lapis lazuli has been revered as a symbol of power, spirituality, and wisdom. In this comprehensive blog, we will explore the ancient symbolism and legends of lapis lazuli, its spiritual and healing properties, its use in art and cosmetics, its physical properties, popular origins, market value, and its modern applications.

Ancient Symbolism and Legends

Lapis lazuli’s history is steeped in ancient myths and legends that highlight its esteemed status across various cultures.

Sumerian Myths and the Goddess Inanna

In ancient Sumer, lapis lazuli was associated with the goddess Inanna, who descended to the underworld adorned with lapis lazuli insignias. This gemstone was believed to provide her protection and symbolize her divine power. The Sumerians held lapis lazuli in high regard, considering it a stone of the gods, often using it in their religious artifacts and ceremonial regalia.

Reverence by Royalty and Deities

Lapis lazuli was a gemstone of choice for royalty and deities in many ancient civilizations. In Mesopotamia, it was a symbol of status and divine favor, often found in royal tombs and temples. Similarly, in ancient Egypt, lapis lazuli was used to create amulets and jewelry for pharaohs, signifying protection and eternal life. The stone was associated with Maat, the goddess of truth and justice, and was used in burial masks, most famously in the mask of Tutankhamun.

Egyptian Amulets and Maat

The ancient Egyptians carved lapis lazuli into scarabs, eye amulets, and other protective charms. These items were believed to guard the wearer in both life and death, ensuring a safe passage to the afterlife. Lapis lazuli’s deep blue color was thought to represent the heavens, making it a sacred material in religious rituals and art.

Lapis Lazuli in Ancient Persia and Greece

In ancient Persia, lapis lazuli was used in the creation of seals and amulets. It was believed to protect the wearer from evil and bring good fortune. The ancient Greeks also valued lapis lazuli, associating it with the god Zeus and using it in various forms of adornment and decoration.

The Symbolism in Buddhism

In Buddhist traditions, lapis lazuli is one of the seven sacred stones, representing purity and healing. It is often used in malas (prayer beads) and statues of deities, symbolizing the virtues of wisdom and compassion.

Legends from Other Cultures

In medieval Europe, lapis lazuli was considered a cure for melancholy and believed to counteract the influence of the evil eye. The gemstone was often ground into powder and consumed as a medicine or worn to bring peace and harmony.

Physical Properties of Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli is a metamorphic rock primarily composed of lazurite, with additional minerals such as calcite, sodalite, and pyrite, which contribute to its unique appearance and color.

Color and Appearance

The most prized lapis lazuli stones exhibit a deep, uniform blue color with flecks of golden pyrite, resembling a starry night sky. Lesser-quality stones may have a paler blue hue or significant amounts of white calcite.

Hardness and Durability

On the Mohs scale of hardness, lapis lazuli ranges from 5 to 5.5. This makes it relatively soft compared to other gemstones, requiring careful handling to avoid scratches and damage.

Chemical Composition

Lapis lazuli’s primary component, lazurite, is a complex sodium calcium aluminum silicate sulfate mineral. The stone’s composition can vary, affecting its color and quality.

Unique Characteristics

The presence of pyrite gives lapis lazuli its characteristic metallic flecks, while calcite may appear as white streaks or patches. The interplay of these minerals creates the stone’s distinctive and attractive look.

Popular Origins of Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli has been mined for thousands of years, with some of the most famous historical sources still producing high-quality stones today.


The primary source of the finest lapis lazuli is the Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan. The mines here have been operational for over 6,000 years, providing some of the most vibrant and high-quality lapis lazuli in the world.

Raw Unpolished Lapis Lazuli From Badakhshan Afghanistan
Raw Unpolished Lapis Lazuli From Badakhshan Afghanistan


Another significant source of lapis lazuli is the Andes Mountains in Chile. Chilean lapis lazuli tends to have a lighter blue color and may contain more calcite and less pyrite than Afghan stones.


The Lake Baikal region in Siberia, Russia, also produces notable lapis lazuli. Russian lapis lazuli is known for its rich blue color and is often used in intricate carvings and decorative arts.

Other Sources

Lapis lazuli can also be found in smaller quantities in other countries, including Pakistan, Italy, Myanmar, and the United States. These sources contribute to the global availability of this treasured gemstone.

Spiritual and Healing Properties

Lapis lazuli is not only valued for its historical significance but also for its spiritual and healing properties.

Stone of Courage, Creativity, and Communication

Lapis lazuli is often regarded as a stone of courage, creativity, and communication. It is believed to enhance one’s ability to express themselves and communicate effectively, fostering harmonious relationships and aiding in conflict resolution. Artists and writers have historically turned to lapis lazuli for inspiration and creativity.

Activation of the Third Eye Chakra

In spiritual practices, lapis lazuli is associated with the third eye chakra, which is linked to intuition, inner wisdom, and self-awareness. Meditating with lapis lazuli is thought to enhance psychic abilities and provide deeper insights into one’s inner self, promoting spiritual growth and enlightenment.

Promoting Intellectual Pursuits

Lapis lazuli is also known for its ability to stimulate the intellect and encourage the pursuit of knowledge. Scholars and students might use this stone to enhance memory, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Its calming energy can help in achieving clarity of thought and focus.

Healing Physical Ailments

In holistic healing, lapis lazuli is believed to offer physical health benefits, such as alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system. It is also said to aid in overcoming insomnia and alleviating vertigo, contributing to overall well-being.

Emotional and Psychological Benefits

Lapis lazuli is thought to help in managing anxiety and depression by promoting a sense of inner peace and emotional balance. It encourages self-awareness and self-expression, helping individuals to confront and resolve emotional issues.

Lapis Lazuli in Art and Cosmetics

The striking blue of lapis lazuli has inspired artists and craftsmen throughout history.

Renaissance Paintings and Ultramarine Pigment

During the Renaissance, lapis lazuli was ground into a fine powder to create ultramarine, a highly prized pigment used by painters. This pigment was valued for its vibrant and long-lasting blue color, often reserved for depicting the robes of the Virgin Mary and other significant subjects due to its expense and beauty.

Lapis Lazuli Fine Powder Pigment From Badakhshan Afghanistan
Fine Lapis Lazuli Powder Pigment from Badakhshan, Afghanistan

Ancient Egyptian Jewelry and Scarab Amulets

In ancient Egypt, lapis lazuli was a favorite material for jewelry and amulets. The gemstone was carved into intricate designs, including scarabs and other symbols of protection and power. Its use in jewelry not only added aesthetic value but also conveyed the wearer’s high social status and connection to the divine.

Use in Medieval Manuscripts

Lapis lazuli was also used in medieval manuscripts to create vibrant blue inks and pigments. Illuminated manuscripts, which included intricate designs and illustrations, often featured ultramarine derived from lapis lazuli to highlight important texts and embellishments.

Cosmetic Applications

In ancient Egypt and other cultures, ground lapis lazuli was used as a cosmetic. It was mixed with oils to create eyeshadows and face paints, believed to provide both beauty and protection against evil spirits.

Architectural Uses

Lapis lazuli has also been used in architecture. In ancient Mesopotamia, lapis lazuli was used to decorate the walls of temples and palaces, symbolizing the connection between the earthly and the divine. In modern times, it has been used in luxurious interior design elements, such as countertops and inlays.

Modern Uses and Applications

Today, lapis lazuli continues to be cherished for its beauty and metaphysical properties.

Contemporary Jewelry and Accessories

Lapis lazuli is a popular choice in contemporary jewelry, used in necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings. Its rich color and unique patterns make it a standout gemstone, often set in gold or silver to enhance its natural beauty. Designers frequently use lapis lazuli to create statement pieces that reflect both modern and classic styles.

Lapis Lazuli Pendant and Earrings

Holistic Healing and Crystal Therapy

In holistic healing, lapis lazuli is used in crystal therapy to balance energies and promote physical and emotional well-being. It is believed to alleviate stress, enhance meditation, and support the immune system. Practitioners often recommend lapis lazuli for those seeking to improve their spiritual health and emotional resilience.

Feng Shui and Home Décor

Lapis lazuli is also used in Feng Shui practices to bring positive energy into homes and workplaces. Placing lapis lazuli stones in certain areas is thought to enhance communication, reduce stress, and create a harmonious environment. Additionally, lapis lazuli decor items, such as sculptures and vases, add an elegant and serene touch to interior spaces.

Scientific Research and Potential Benefits

While much of the acclaim for lapis lazuli’s healing properties comes from anecdotal evidence and traditional beliefs, some scientific research is exploring its potential benefits. Studies on the placebo effect and the influence of belief on healing suggest that the perceived benefits of lapis lazuli and other gemstones may have a positive impact on mental and emotional health.

Technological Applications

Recent advancements have explored the use of lapis lazuli in technology. Its unique properties make it a subject of interest for nanotechnology and materials science, although these applications are still in the experimental stages.

Market Value of Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli’s market value varies significantly based on several factors, including color, quality, origin, and size.

Factors Influencing Value

  • Color: The most valuable lapis lazuli is deep, intense blue with minimal white calcite and abundant golden pyrite flecks. Stones with a dull or pale color are less valuable.
  • Quality: High-quality lapis lazuli has a uniform color and fewer visible inclusions. Stones with significant calcite or other impurities are less desirable.
  • Origin: Lapis lazuli from Afghanistan is generally considered the best quality and thus commands higher prices. Stones from other regions may be less expensive but still valuable.
  • Size: Larger, high-quality lapis lazuli stones are rarer and more expensive. Smaller pieces or those used in beads and carvings are more affordable.

Price Range

The price of lapis lazuli can range from a few dollars per carat for lower-quality stones to several hundred dollars per carat for the finest specimens. Jewelry pieces can vary widely in price based on the design, setting, and quality of the lapis lazuli used.

Market Trends

Lapis lazuli remains a popular gemstone in the jewelry market, particularly for those seeking unique and historically significant stones. Its use in holistic healing and spiritual practices also contributes to its ongoing demand. As interest in natural and ethically sourced gemstones grows, high-quality lapis lazuli is likely to maintain its value and appeal.

Buying and Caring Tips

To fully enjoy the benefits and beauty of lapis lazuli, it’s essential to purchase genuine stones and care for them properly.

Purchasing Genuine Lapis Lazuli

When buying lapis lazuli, look for stones with a deep, even blue color and visible pyrite inclusions. Be wary of imitations or stones that are dyed to enhance their color. Purchasing from reputable dealers and asking for certification can help ensure authenticity. Synthetic or dyed stones often lack the depth and richness of natural lapis lazuli.

Caring for Lapis Lazuli Jewelry

Lapis lazuli is a relatively soft stone, so it requires gentle handling. Avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, or prolonged sunlight. Clean it with a soft, damp cloth and store it separately from other jewelry to prevent scratches and damage.

Recharging and Cleansing

To maintain the energetic properties of lapis lazuli, it’s important to cleanse and recharge the stone regularly. This can be done by placing it under moonlight, burying it in the earth, or using other cleansing stones like clear quartz. Regularly cleansing lapis lazuli helps to remove any negative energies it may have absorbed.

Professional Maintenance

For high-value lapis lazuli jewelry, consider having it professionally cleaned and inspected periodically. Jewelers can ensure that settings remain secure and the stone retains its brilliance.


Lapis lazuli’s allure endures through the ages, from its revered status in ancient civilizations to its modern applications in jewelry and holistic healing. This gemstone’s deep blue color, historical significance, and spiritual properties make it a truly remarkable and cherished stone. By appreciating its past and exploring its potential in the present, we can continue to honor the timeless beauty and mystique of lapis lazuli.

Whether you’re drawn to its historical connections, its artistic uses, or its spiritual benefits, lapis lazuli remains a powerful and captivating gemstone. Embrace its rich heritage and let its profound energy inspire and enhance your life.

In exploring the wonders of lapis lazuli, we find a gemstone that bridges the gap between ancient wisdom and modern innovation, continuing to inspire and heal those who seek its captivating beauty and profound properties.