Few gems display a color as
rich as the deep royal blue of fine lapis. Lapis was one of
the most precious commodities of the ancient world, and was
even valued on an equal level with gold. Lapis was used in
medicines, cosmetics and paintings. The tomb of Tutankhamen,
Pharaoh of Egypt contained a wealth of gold and lapis jewels.
Lapis has been mined continuously though sporadically for more
than 6000 years in the Badakshan region of Afghanistan. Lapis
is actually a rock, composed chiefly of the minerals lazurite,
pyrite and calcite. Lazurite is blue, pyrite yellow and calcite
is white. The brassy-gold spots and flecks of pyrite in genuine
lapis are very distinctive.