Evoking the deep blue of the night sky, lapis lazuli has enchanted civilization since ancient times. This stone, mined in the most inaccessible reaches of Afghanistan, is used for jewelry, inlay, and carvings. Lapis lazuli is widely available. Its signature bold, blue color can make a striking accent as well as a feature stone in a jewelry piece. Best of all, lapis lazuli is quite affordable. Even on a budget, you can purchase high-quality stones.

Lapis Lazuli Buying and the Four Cs

The IGS lapis lazuli value listing has price guidelines for cabbed pieces.

Color

Lapis lazuli gets its color from the sulfur in the mineral lazurite. Crystalline lazurite is extremely rare. It generally forms as part of the lapis lazuli rock.

The highest quality stones have a blue to purplish-blue hue and an even color, with a tone of 75-85%. Bluer lapis tend to be in the lighter range, and stones with purple hues tend toward the darker range. Prices drop rapidly for stones darker than 90%, which appear dark and drab (Wise, 2016).

Clarity

Lapis lazuli stones are opaque, but most stones are included with pyrite, calcite, or both. Small, well-distributed pyrite inclusions