Lapis Lazula – The beautiful ancient gemstone.

Lapis is the latin word for stone and lazula, arabic word for blue.
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For centuries, Afghanistan has been an important source for top-quality lapis.

Historians believe the link between humans and lapis lazuli stretches back more than 6,500 years. The gem was treasured by the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Greece, and Rome. They valued it for its vivid, exquisite color, and prized it as much as they prized other blue gems like sapphire and turquoise.

Badakshan, a province in present-day Afghanistan, is a forbidding wasteland of mountains, bare of any vegetation. The sheer mountain faces rise as high as 17,000 feet, and are scored with treacherous ravines. Humans make their way there to seek one thing only: the azure treasure that is fine lapis lazuli.

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The miners’ supplies have to be brought into the desolate area by mule train. – Gary
Bowersox
The same was true as far back as 700 BC, when the region was part of a country known as Bactria. The lapis mines that were producing then are still producing today. They are, in fact, the world’s oldest known commercial gemstone sources.

Read the full article at GIA.

Source: Gemological Institute of America.

-Troels Olivero

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