Lapis Lazuli Value

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Lapis lazuli value is determined almost exclusively by color. A deep, intense, blue with violet tones would be at the apex. Fine grained, uniform specimens can attain a smooth, highly polished surface not seen in lower grades.

Lapis Lazuli, Afghanistan (solid blue), Chile (mottled), cabochons 5 to 25 carats. Photo © Joel E. Arem, PhD, FGA. Used with permission.

Calcite inclusions almost always lower the value, but pyrite inclusions enhance it in the minds of many collectors and jewelry lovers. Although enthusiasts may debate how much pyrite is ideal in lapis lazuli, most would agree that the less calcite, the better the stone. Calcite can be seen as streaks or patches within the darker blue or can predominate in the mix, giving the rock an overall lighter blue shade.

Polish quality and faceting artistry also affect value.

“Anel Espada D'ogum,” lapis lazuli and 950 silver ring by Renato Brunelli Graseffe

Lapis lazuli and 950 silver ring. Photo by Renato Brunelli Graseffe. Licensed under CC By 2.0.