Lapis Lazuli

This exquisite blue mineral has been mined for over 5,000 years, with artifacts containing the precious gemstone unearthed in Afghanistan, Sumeria, Siberia, and Egypt. Known as sapphire to ancient cultures, its brilliant color led to its use as a pigment in oil paint up until the 19th century.
The name lapis lazuli comes from both the latin word for stone (lapis) and the Arabic word for blue (azula). The gemstone is now found in many parts of the world, including Colorado in the United States, as well as Myanmar, Sicily, Mexico, Germany and Canada.
A relatively soft gemstone, lapis lazuli is prone to scratching and should be protected from other jewelry in storage. The softness, however, allowed for lapis lazuli to be ground up and used in many famous paintings such as several images of the Madonna. Its stunning, vibrant color has survived the test of time and remains highly fashionable even today.