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Lapis Lazuli: The history and crystal healing properties

Hello everyone! This week's crystal is Lapis lazuli, which is one of my favourite crystals!

Crystal Family

Lapis Lazuli ranges from a light blue to a bluish violet with inclusions. These inclusions vary and include calcite, pyrite, Augite, diopside, enstatite, mica, hauyrite, hornblende, nosean,and sodalite. The colouring agent that creates Lapis Lazuli is Sulphur.

Lapis Lazuli is found in Afghanistan, Russia (at Lake Baikal), Chile, Italy, United States, Egypt and the Middle East.

Lapis Lazuli is 5.5-6 on the Mohs Hardness. It is usually found as a grainy mass in all sizes and rarely as crystal form. It is Opaque and it can also can be cleansed in all ways.

Lapis Lazuli Formation: Cubic

Chemical Composition: Na6 Ca2 [(S, SO4, Cl2)/Al6 Si6 O24]

Lapis Lazuli is a Sulphur Sodium Aluminium Silicate.

History and Mythology of Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli has been used for 6000 years within jewellery! It was first mined from the Sar-e-Sang deposit in Afghanistan. It was one of the first gemstones to be used in jewellery with the oldest pieces found in the Hindukush Mountains of Afghanistan! Lapis Lazuli's name means 'blue stone' with Lapis latin for stone and Lazuli Persian for 'Azure' or 'Blue'.

Lapis Lazuli has been found in the Mesopotamian royal tombs near the Uron River of the Euphrates as gold flowers inlaid with lapis lazuli were found. Also in the tomb of a Royal Sumerian was found thousands of statues of animals carved in Lapis lazuli.

Lapis Lazuli is most well known as been used by the Ancient Egyptians. They used it for a number of things, from royal jewellery, to amulets to even carved statues of the Gods! It was believed the Gods could preside in the statues. It was also known by the Egyptians as Lazurite which was believed to symbolise beauty. Evidence of this can be seen on the Shabaka stone which says of the King's daughter:

'Her charms are like those of Anat

Her beauty is like the beauty of Astoreh

Her hair gleams like Lapis Lazuli'

It also shows how lapis lazuli was used as a status symbol within the Egyptian Royal circles. It was used by Cleopatra as eye liner as it was ground up into a fine grain.

Lapis Lazuli was also used by Ancient Egyptian Judges as a carved Maat amulet around their necks - Maat was a Goddess who symbolised Truth and justice within Egyptian society, and if Maat was not around, chaos would ensue.

The Romans, thought that this stone prevented miscarriages and epilepsy and could be used as a aphrodisiac. They named it 'Sapphirus' Hence it's misinterpretation as a sapphire in the Bible.

In South American cultures, Lapis lazuli was used in Ancient rites.

In the Far East, Lapis lazuli was incorporated into panels and Plaques as it was believed that Lapis lazuli had magical properties as the pyrite inclusions within the stone were seen as stars - these stars were believed to guide human fates.

In the Middle Ages it was used for medicinal purposes. It was believed to help prevent the 4 day fever. It was also used as a pigment to produce Ultramarine.

Marco Polo (1254-1324), was an Christian explorer who came across Lapis Lazuli and wrote:

'There is a mountain in that region where the finest Azure (lapis lazuli) in the world is found. It appears in Veins like silver streaks.'

Even in Christianity, this gemstone has been used and revered. In the bible it is believed to have been mixed up and referred to as a Sapphire, in the old testament as there is a description of a 'Sapphire sprinkled with gold dust'. This sounds like how we would describe Lapis now. It was incorporated in 14th century AD paintings of Madonna as it was seen as a Virtuous stone. The Roman order of Jesuits has a Lapis lazuli globe 60cm in diameter.

In 1520-1523, an artist Titian painted 'Bacchus and Ariadne', a Gre