Lapis lazuli is an opaque stone with a vividly blue coloring. The stone also has a few golden specks, which makes it resemble a starry sky in late evening. Many mistake the golden specks to be gold, which it isn't. They're actually pyrite inclusions caused by the presence of iron.
Lapis lazuli was also used to make dyes, especially a rich blue hue known as ultramarine. This paint was quite expensive, seeing as it was created using the finest stones. A lot of artists creating pictures of the Madonna used paint created from lapis lazuli.
Lapis lazuli measures between 5 and 6 on the Mohs scale―this is determined by its composition. This makes it quite a delicate stone, which needs careful handling. Lapis is usually set with a smooth and sometimes highly-polished finish, but is rarely faceted. Here are a few tips to keep your precious jewels in their pristine condition.
▶ It is very important to be careful while handling pieces made of lapis. The stone is quite delicate, as already mentioned, and can chip or break if you drop it on to the floor. Therefore, always be seated and wear your jewelry with caution.
▶ After each wear, wipe your jewelry with a soft cotton cloth (preferably the one that came with the jewels) after you remove it. This action rids the piece of any oil residues from your skin, makeup, perfume, and other dirt.
▶ Ensure that you store each piece in a separate box, preferably the box that it came in. These boxes are designed with the purpose of protecting and cushioning the jewelry they contain.
▶ If you're pressed to store your lapis jewelry with other pieces, wrap it in velvet before you store it. Doing so will protect the stones from friction, scratching, and other means of wear and tear.
▶ Chemicals, acids, and heating can all cause irreparable damage to this gemstone and should be avoided. Never soak these pieces in hot water. Constant exposure to heat or sunlight can result in fading.
▶ Preferably, reserve your lapis lazuli jewels for special occasions, since they are not built to withstand daily wear and tear. These stones are at a risk of damage with constant exposure to the elements.
▶ If you are designing jewels with lapis lazuli, avoid using them in rings or bracelets, as these pieces are more prone to damage caused by friction. Use these stones to make necklaces, pendants, earrings, and brooches, especially if intended for daily use.
If you notice any dullness on the piece, you can get it polished; but make sure that it is done sparingly, as it can diminish the strength of your lapis stone.