Lapis has been used for more than 6000 years for fine jewelry and ornamental objects. Its name is from "lapis" the Latin word for stone, and "azul," the word commonly meaning blue. Lapis Lazuli is made up of 25 to 40 percent lazurite, plus several minerals (Sodalite, Hauyne, Calcite, and Pyrite) that influence color and its distribution. Lapis Lazuli is considered a semi-precious stone and is found throughout the Middle East, most specifically Egypt and Afghanistan. Because of its bright blue color, Lapis Lazuli was ground up to make paint and dye pigments. Prior to the 19th century, it was used as the pigment ultramarine in tempra, and oil paints. Ancient Egyptian nobility such as Cleopatra used finely ground lapis as eye shadow. Lapis Lazuli is commonly mentioned in folklore as the stone for truth and friendship, as well as emotional healing.
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