Lapis Lazuli Beads

Lapis Lazuli was among the first gemstones know to be used as jewelery. Excavations of ancient culture centers have revealed furnishings, decorative chains and figures made of lapis lazuli. Lapis Lazuli beads are named from `lapis`, the Latin word for stone, and `azula`, which comes from the Arabic and means blue. The worth of this stone to the world of art is immeasurable, for the ultramarine of the Old Masters is nothing other than genuine lapis lazuli which has been ground up into a powder and stirred up together with binding-agents. Lapis lazuli is an opaque rock mainly consisting of diopside and lazurite with golden pyrite inclusions and whitish marble veins. The pyrite is caused by iron and the blue color comes from the sulphur content of the lazurite and may range from pure ultramarine to a lighter blue. The best stones still come from Hindu Kush, Afghanistan. Deposits are found in Russia, the Chilean Andes, Italy, Mongolia, the USA, Canada, Myanmar and Pakistan. The prices of this gemstone are largely dependent on the beauty and intense deep blue color. Finely distributed crystals of pyrites which shimmer gold increase the value of the gemstone.

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