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A gemstone that is massive, typically of a deep blue color, but sometimes with mottlings of white. It is a complex mineral, composed of grains of several blue minerals, including hacyne, lazurite, and sodalite, in a matrix of calcite, and sometimes spangled with inclusions of brassy-coloured pyrites. The varying proportions of the minerals determine the color of the stone. As it is opaque, it is cut en cabochon or flat, and never faceted; it has a poor luster and is dull except when it is given a polished surface. it has been used since ancient times (known then as sapphire'). In some Anglo-Saxon jewelry the inlaid decoration, once thought to be lapis lazuli, is now considered to be blue glass. it has been made synthetically, and has been used to produce ultramarine, a coloring pigment now also made synthetically. the stone has been im-itated by Swiss lapis (blue-dyed jasper), by dyed agate, by sintered syn-thetic spinel, and also by paste, blue enamel, and ceramic ware, all of which a re readily distinguishable. Some lapis has been stained to make it darker.
From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson