Lapis lazuli is a metamorphic rock. It is famous for its beautiful blue colour. Its name means "stone of blue", and comes from the word "lazward", from Ancient Persia (now known as Iran and Afghanistan). Lapis Lazuli has been used for many things. Its has been made into beads and used in jewellery since Prehistoric times. It can be carved into statuettes (little sculptures). The major use was as a "pigment" (colour) in artists' paint. During Medieval and Renaissance times, Lapis lazuli was ground up into powder, and mixed into paint as the colour for painting the sky and the robe of the Virgin Mary. It can be seen in the fresco paintings of Giotto and the tempera paintings of Fra Angelico.
[change] Scientific description
Lapis lazuli is a metamorphic rock made from several minerals. The main mineral in Lapis lazuli is Lazurite. Lazurite is a silicate mineral with sulfate, sulfur and chloride. Its formula is (Na,Ca)8(AlSiO4)6(SO4,S,Cl)2. Lazurite has been mined for over 6,000 years in the district of Badakhshan in Afghanistan. It is also mined at Lake Baikal in Siberia; at Mount Vesuvius in Italy; in Burma; Canada; and the United States.
This statuette carved in Lapis lazuli was possibly made in India.
- Eastaugh 2004, p. 219
- Hurlbut, Cornelius S.; Klein, Cornelis, 1985, Manual of Mineralogy, 20th ed., Wiley, ISBN 0-471-80580-7
- Eastaugh, Nicholas et al., 2004, The pigment compendium : optical microscopy of historical pigments Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, ISBN 0750645539
- Mindat with location data
- Mineral galleries
- Webmineral data