Lapis Lazuli Polished Gemstones
Fine grade lapis lazuli cabochon gemstones cut from stone mined in Afghanistan. These five oval shaped stones which are being offered for sale individually were cut by hand in India for Stone Mania. The colour is completely natural.
The top of each of these lapis lazuli cabochons exhibits a vitreous lustre which means as a result of being highly polished, they reflect light in a similar way to glass. The sides and bottom have been polished to an exceptionally smooth finish but the lustre is dull. Rocks and minerals with a dull lustre means the surface absorbs light instead of reflecting to it.
Most of the world's lapis lazuli and certainly the finest grade material comes from the Sar-i-Sang mines in the Badakhshan Province of north eastern Afghanistan. We stopped buying lapis lazuli in 2014 after control of the ancient mines in this quiet and relatively safe area of the country were seized by the taliban. Profits from lapis lazuli and other valuable commodities then started being used by insurgents.
The rich blue colour of this relatively rare metamorphic rock has fascinated man for thousands of years. As well as being widely used in Ancient Egypt for decorative purposes, lapis lazuli was also ground down and used as a cosmetic. In Medieval times it was used as a pigment in paint particularly by Italian Renaissance artists. Known as ultramarine, Michelangelo and Leonardo Di Vinci both used this highly sought after blue pigment. Due to the price being similar to gold it could only be used in very small quantities.
Other than its impressive colour the advantage of using ultramarine was that its dust was not toxic and the colour was stable. That meant it didn't fade or change colour either over time or when exposed to natural light.
In 1824 a synthetic alternative was produced that was much cheaper to manufacture. It was subsequently used by French artist Renoir in his painting The Umbrellas.
For more interesting facts about lapis lazuli and details about the stone's metaphysical healing properties, take a look at the Articles and Photos section of our website.
The stones are laid out in order of weight starting with the lightest which is the first stone on the left in our photos. In the adjacent dropdown list these lapis lazuli cabochons are numbered 1 to 5. Number 1 is the first stone on the left, number 5 is the last stone on the right.
Weights and Sizes
Stone 1 | 5.5 grams, 2.6 x 1.9 x 0.5 cms
Stone 2 | 6.3 grams, 3.3 x 2.1 x 0.4 cms
Stone 3 | 7 grams, 2.9 x 2 x 0.5 cms
Stone 4 | 8.3 grams, 3.2 x 2 x 0.6 cms
Stone 5 | 8.6 grams, 3 x 2.2 x 0.6