Lapis Rough Mineral Specimen
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Lazurite, pronounced LAH-zhur-ite, was recognized as a mineral species in 1892, when it was also found to be the primary mineral component and cause of the blue color in the gemstone lapis lazuli. Its name stems from the Arabic lazaward, variously meaning “sky,” “heaven,” or “blue.” Notable collecting localities are in Afghanistan, Russia, Chile, and the United States (Colorado, California).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Lazurite [basic sodium calcium aluminum sulfochlorosilicate, (Na,Ca)8Si6Al6)24[(SO4),S,Cl(OH)]2] crystallizes in the isometric system. It occasionally forms dodecahedral crystals, but usually occurs in compact or massive form. It is sub-translucent to opaque, has an azure-blue to violet-blue color, a Mohs hardness of 5.0-5.5, a dull luster, poor cleavage, an uneven fracture, and a specific gravity of 2.4-2.5. A metamorphic mineral, lazurite forms from contact metamorphism of silica-poor limestone that contains available sulfur and chlorine.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: As the primary component of lapis lazuli, lazurite has been mined since ancient times. Refined, powdered lazurite is natural ultramarine, an intense-blue pigment that has been used in paints and inks since the 1400s. As a popular gemstone today, lapis lazuli is fashioned into cabochons for jewelry use and into various decorative objects. Metaphysical practitioners believe that lazurite and lapis lazuli strengthen the physique and spirit, aid in spiritual evolution, and enhance love and fidelity to preserve the bonds of marriage.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Mineral collectors value lazurite crystals for their rarity and intense-blue color. Specimens of lapis lazuli are collected as a gemstone that is rarely seen in its natural state.