Blue Calcite Beads

A blue gem used for cabochons, beads, inlay

Lapis Lazuli necklace

What is Lapis Lazuli?

Lapis lazuli, also known simply as "lapis, " is a blue metamorphic rock that has been used by people as a gemstone, sculpting material, and ornamental material for thousands of years.

Unlike most other gem materials, lapis lazuli is not a mineral. Instead, it is a rock composed of multiple minerals. The blue color of lapis lazuli is mainly derived from the presence of lazurite, a blue silicate mineral of the sodalite group with a chemical composition of (Na, Ca)8(AlSiO4)6(S, Cl, SO4, OH)2.

Geologic Occurrence of Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli forms near igneous intrusions where limestone or marble has been altered by contact metamorphism or hydrothermal metamorphism. In these rocks, lazurite replaces portions of the host rock and often preferentially develops within certain bands or layers.

Afghanistan is the world's leading source of lapis lazuli. Some parts of the country have been actively mined for thousands of years. Other countries that produce notable amounts of lapis lazuli include Chile, Russia, Canada, Argentina, and Pakistan. In the United States small amounts of lapis lazuli have been produced in California, Colorado, and Arizona.

Composition of Lapis Lazuli

In addition to lazurite, specimens of lapis lazuli usually contain calcite and pyrite. Sodalite, hauyne, wollastonite, afghanite, mica, dolomite, diopside, and a diversity of other minerals might also be present. To be called "lapis lazuli, " a rock must have a distinctly blue color and contain at least 25% lazurite.

Calcite is often the second most abundant mineral present in lapis lazuli. Its presence can be very obvious, appearing as white layers, fractures, or mottling. It can also be finely intermixed with lazurite to produce a rock with a faded denim color.

Pyrite usually occurs in lapis lazuli as tiny, randomly spaced grains with a contrasting gold color. When abundant, the grains can be concentrated or intergrown into distinct layers or patches. It can occasionally occur as a fracture-filling mineral.

Physical Properties of Lapis Lazuli

Classification A metamorphic rock that contains enough of the mineral lazurite to impart a distinct blue color. It may also contain significant amounts of calcite, pyrite, and minor amounts of other minerals. Color Blue. Often with white calcite veining or mottling, and gold grains of pyrite. Streak Blue. Luster Dull, but polishes to a bright luster. Diaphaneity Semi-translucent to opaque. Cleavage None, though it may split easily along foliation or calcite veins and layers. Mohs Hardness Varies between the 3 of calcite and the 5 to 5.5 of lazurite. Not well suited for use as a ring stone or in bracelets. Specific Gravity 2.7 to 2.9 or more depending upon the amount of pyrite Diagnostic Properties Blue color, association with pyrite, and hardness. Uses Cabochons, beads, carvings, spheres, inlay, and pigments.

Lapis Lazuli Historical

Lapis lazuli has been popular through most of recorded human history. Mining for lapis occurred in the Badakhshan Province of northeastern Afghanistan as early as 7000 BC. The lapis was used to make beads, small jewelry items and small sculptures. These have been found at neolithic archaeological sites dating back to about 3000 BC in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

uGems Lapis Lazuli 8mm Round Gem Royal Blue Beads Strand 15"
Art and Craft Supply (uGems)
  • Genuine Lapis Lazuli Beads
  • ~8mm size, about 49 beads
  • 15 strand
  • Nice royal blue enhanced colors with white calcite and golden pyrite
  • Temporarily strung not finished jewelry
Charisma Charisma 6mm Blue Lapis Lazuli Round Beads Semi Precious Gemstone Loose Beads Strand with Free Crystal String Cord
Art and Craft Supply (Charisma)
  • Stone: Dyed Color Blue Lapis Lazuli
  • Beads Size: 6mm
  • Hole Size: 0.8mm
  • Quantity: 1 Strand (~63pcs)
  • Remark: This Value Pack included FREE Crystal String Cord 1 Roll that can be used to made Gemstone Beads Bracelet. Charisma Brand provide Good customer service...
uGems Lapis Lazuli Royal Blue and White Calcite Golden Pyrite Round 6mm 16 Inch
Home (uGems)
  • Lapis Lazuli round beads strand
  • 6mm diameter, 16 inch, about 65 beads
  • Natural and genuine, not treated
  • Very good blue colors, golden pyrite, natural white calcite
  • Temporarily strung not finished jewelry
2pc Red Goldstone Premium Quality Small/Medium Crystal Healing 100% Natural Gemstone Tumbled Smooth & Polished Pre-Drilled Bead (** Brand New Item 2015 **)
Art and Craft Supply (P.L.U.R.)
  • 2pc Red Goldstone Premium Quality Small/Medium Crystal Healing 100% Natural Gemstone Tumbled Smooth & Polished Pre-Drilled Bead (** Brand New Item 2015 **)
  • Aprx Size 1/2 - 3/4 Minimum on all sides 2.5mm Pre-drilled Hole
  • Buyer Receives 2 pieces of the Exact Stone(s) In The Images Of This Listing. We Will Never Give You A Substitute. What You See, Is What You Get
  • Red - Brown Goldstone is associated with vitality and energyBlue - Purple Goldstone is associated with learning and communicationGreen Goldstone is associated...
  • Goldstone -Goldstone is a man-made gemstone that has been around since the European Renaissance. Early monks working at a glass factory near Venice, Italy were practicing...
Art and Craft Supply ()
  • Natural Semi Precious Gemstone Beads
  • round
  • 8mm
  • LIMITED QUANTITY We were able to find some of these at an incredible price and are passing the savings along to you.
Related Posts