Lapis Sources and the 3 C’s of Grading

June 17, 2017

LAPIS SOURCES AND 3Cs

Lapis Sources and the 3 C’s of Grading

Lapis lazuli comes in a variety of shades of blue. The opaque crystal is loved for its brilliant shine and color. Interestingly, it is one of the oldest gemstones used for ornamental as well as healing purposes.

But did you know, that Lapis isn’t actually a mineral, rather it is a stone that comes in various mineral combinations; responsible for the variety of the shades that we see.

The major constituent of lapis is mineral Lazurite, which gives the stone its characteristic royal blue color. Other minerals associated with Lapis crystal lattice include calcite (white), Sodalite (blue) and pyrite (golden).

Remember, not all minerals are required for the stone to be termed as Lapis; the only measure of authenticity and grade of lapis stone is the percentage of Lazurite mineral (the greater, the better).

Lapis Origin

The history of the Lapis stone stretches back 7000 years; it’s importance spreading across many civilizations. There’s a rich history associated with the stone - a rich history that’s been held precarious for years. For centuries mines in Badakhshan, Afghanistan have remained the only source for the production of lapis. Even today almost all of the highest quality lapis are being produced in the Sar I Sang mines.

Other places that do produce lapis stones include Argentina, Pakistan, Russia, China and Canada and USA.

The 3 C’s of Lapis Quality

The Cut

Since lapis isn’t a mineral but a rock, its hardness varies somewhere 4.5 to 5.5 on the MOHS scale. That’s why lapis cut is highly crucial for its overall appearance.

The crystal of lapis is often cut in tablets, beads or cabochons. However, in past, the crystal was extensively used in making sculptures and ornaments. Though the carvings can increase the value of stone; it has no effect on its color (which is the most prized attribute of lapis).

Recently free-form cut (comprising of organic to geometrical shapes).

LOCO LAPIS CUT

The Clarity

Lapis is an opaque crystal, which means there aren't any traditional issues of clarity in question here. However, the mineral constituents found in the stone determines the clarity/value of lapis crystal. A high calcite percentage isn’t valued well.

The most determining factor for lapis quality is the amount of lazurite present. Lazurite is responsible for the deep blue color that is characteristic of the stone.

The Color

The value of the Lapis stone is determined by its color. Highest grade lapis crystal comes in royal deep blue color with little or no pyrite and calcite.

Presence of calcite isn’t desired much. Because it produces the white textures that reduced the market value of the stone. Similarly, too much pyrite also decreases the worth of stone.

LOCO LAPIS COLOR





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Quality Guide
LOCO LAPIS LOGO

Lapis Lazuli Composition and Quality Grade

Lapis Lazuli is a semi precious stone that is formed with combination of different minerals naturally in form of crystalline marble. Main components of Lapis Lazuli are

  • Lazurite as main constituent forming original Blue color.

  • Pyrite as sprinkles giving patterns of golden color.

  • Calcite causing white color.


  • Royal blue Lapis sometimes with pyrite with no inclusions and no calcite

    Grade: AAA


  • Fine Quality Lapis Dark Blue color with pyrite and without calcite

    Grade: AA


  • Best Quality Lapis Dark Blue color with pyrite and some calcite

    Grade: A


  • Medium Quality Lapis Blue color with pyrite and some calcite outer and inner

    Grade: B


  • Low Quality Lapis Blue color with pyrite and a lot of calcite

    Grade: C

We sincerely hope that this guide is helpful and provides you with valuable information on the various quality grades Lapis Lazuli is being displayed on our store. All of the information that we’ve provided has been collected from various sources for your convenience. Feel free to find the best product for the best price. Happy Shopping, Good Luck..

Quality Guide
LOCO LAPIS LOGO

Lapis Lazuli Composition and Quality Grade

Lapis Lazuli is a semi precious stone that is formed with combination of different minerals naturally in form of crystalline marble. Main components of Lapis Lazuli are

  • Lazurite as main constituent forming original Blue color.

  • Pyrite as sprinkles giving patterns of golden color.

  • Calcite causing white color.


  • Royal blue Lapis sometimes with pyrite with no inclusions and no calcite

    Grade: AAA


  • Fine Quality Lapis Dark Blue color with pyrite and without calcite

    Grade: AA


  • Best Quality Lapis Dark Blue color with pyrite and some calcite

    Grade: A


  • Medium Quality Lapis Blue color with pyrite and some calcite outer and inner

    Grade: B


  • Low Quality Lapis Blue color with pyrite and a lot of calcite

    Grade: C

We sincerely hope that this guide is helpful and provides you with valuable information on the various quality grades Lapis Lazuli is being displayed on our store. All of the information that we’ve provided has been collected from various sources for your convenience. Feel free to find the best product for the best price. Happy Shopping, Good Luck..