Medium to Dark, Slightly Greenish Blue to Violetish Blue
HARDNESS & TOUGHNESS
Hardness: 5 to 6 on Toughness: fair
Afghanistan (finest quality), Chile, Myanmar, Russia, Tajikistan
Lapis lazuli belongs to a small category of gems called “rocks” because it’s an aggregate of several different minerals. (A mineral is a natural inorganic material with a specific and unique chemical composition and crystal structure). It’s often simply called “lapis” in trade. Lapis is typically opaque, and its colors are medium to dark greenish “navy” blue, pure “royal” blue, or violetish “midnight” blue.
It sometimes shows white calcite veining, which lowers its value, or golden-looking flecks of the mineral pyrite. The pyrite spangles nestled in the blue body color like golden star in a summer sky produce a unique visual appeal. Lapis trade grades are based on color and the presence or absence of calcite or pyrite.