Lazulite Value, Price, and Jewelry Information
Lazulite makes a magnificent, deep blue gemstone. Although the mineral itself occurs widely, gem-quality rough is limited. Specimens are prized by collectors but can also be faceted with care or cut into cabochons for jewelry.
The International Gem Society (IGS) has a list of businesses offering gemstone appraisal services.
|Crystallography||Monoclinic; crystals acute pyramidal; massive, compact, granular.|
|Refractive Index||Varies by series member, 1.604-1.680. See “Identifying Characteristics” below.|
|Colors||Blue, blue-green, light blue, deep azure blue.|
|Luster||Vitreous to dull.|
|Specific Gravity||3.08-3.38. See “Identifying Characteristics” below.|
|Birefringence||Varies by series member, 0.031-0.040. See “Identifying Characteristics” below.|
|Cleavage||Indistinct to good, 1 direction|
|Transparency||Transparent to opaque.|
|Absorption Spectrum||Not diagnostic.|
|Pleochroism||Strong: colorless/blue/dark blue.|
|Optics||Biaxial (-). See “Identifying Characteristics” below.|
|Etymology||From the German lazurstein, meaning “blue stone.” Scorzalite is named after E. P. Scorza, a Brazilian mineralogist.|
|Occurrence||Quartz veins; granite pegmatites; metamorphic rocks, especially quartzites.|
|Inclusions||Healed fractures, feathers, single and two phase liquid and gas inclusions.|
Although lazulite’s hardness of 5.5 to 6 makes it a marginal choice for jewelry use, lapidaries have cut cabs from massive material, such as that found in New Hampshire or California. Clean stones over 5 carats are extremely rare. Even small gems tend to be extremely included, thus making lazulites susceptible to fracturing during cutting.
Faceted lazulite strongly resembles blue apatite. Other common mistaken identifications for this gem include azurite, turquoise, and blue tourmaline and topaz. Furthermore, lazulite not only resembles lapis lazuli, its name comes very close to “lazurite.” Lazurite is one of the components of lapis lazuli rocks but has no relation to lazulites.
The lazulite mineral group includes the lazulite and scorzalite species. These form a solid-solution series: (Fe,Mg)Al2(PO4)2(OH)2. Lazulite is the magnesium member; scorzalite is the iron member. These gems show the same colors and strong trichroic pleochroism. However, their specific gravity (SG) and optical properties vary with their Fe/Mg ratio.
Lazulite has a white streak. Many common gemstones have a white streak, too. However, natural lapis lazuli should have a light blue streak. Please note: don’t conduct streak testing on finished gems. Test material in inconspicuous spots as a last resort only.
While scorzalite is a relatively rare mineral, lazulite is more abundant. Champion Mine, Mono County, California produces masses up to 6 inches across. Rapid Creek, Yukon, Canada yields fine, gemmy crystals.
Other notable gem-quality localities include:
- Bhandara district, India: gemmy crystals (RIs 1.615/1.635/1.645; SG = 3.17).
- Minas Gerais, Brazil: fine blue gemmy crystals; a = 1.604-1.629; β = 1.628-1.655; γ = 1.638-1.666; birefringence = 0.031-0.037; SG = 3.07-3.24.
- United States: Graves Mountain, Georgia; Palermo Quarry North Groton, New Hampshire; South Dakota.
- Lobito Bay, Angola; Potosi, Bolivia; Madagascar; Horrsjoberg, Sweden.
Faceted gems usually range from 0.5 to 2 carats. Anything larger, especially clean, is extremely rare. The large masses from California aren’t clean enough to facet.
Store lazulite gems and jewelry separately from more commonly encountered gemstones, such as garnet, quartz, topaz, etc. Contact with these harder stones as well as common objects like a steel file could scratch lazulites. Use protective settings for ring use. To clean, use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water. Consult our gemstone jewelry cleaning guide for more recommendations.