In ancient times Lapis Lazuli was most highly regarded because of its beautiful color and the valuable ultramarine dye derived from it. Its name comes from the Latin lapis, “stone,” and the Persian lazhuward, “blue.” It is rock formed by multiple minerals, mostly Lazurite, Sodalite, Calcite and Pyrite, and is a rich medium to royal blue with gold flecks (pyrites).
Lapis Lazuli was among the most highly prized tribute paid to Egypt, obtained from the oldest mines in the world, worked from around 4000 B.C. and still in use today. The golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamen was richly inlaid with Lapis, as were other burial ornaments of Egyptian kings and queens. It was used extensively in scarabs, pendants and other jewelry, and ground into powder for dyes, eye shadow and medicinal elixirs.
In ancient Persia Lapis Lazuli was a symbol of the starry night, and a favorite stone for protection from the evil eye.
Buddhists recommended Lapis as a stone to bring inner peace and freedom from negative thought.