Lapis…An Ancient Stone in a Modern World

Lapis Lazuli is a gem that has been prized by the ancients in Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Greece, and Rome for thousands of years. It’s vivid blue just speaks to your soul.

One would think that Badakhshan, a seemingly forbidding mountainous skeleton of an ancient land would have such a treasure.

These stark mountains rise up thousands of feet in the area and are guarded by dangerous ravines, yet many go there for one. thing: a treasure that is a blue as the deep waters of the sea: Lapis Lazuli.

 

Hidden within these mountains are the world’s oldest commercial mines that are still producing Lapis today. Back then, the land was called Bactria.

Even Marco Polo mentioned the ancient mines in 1271. There is a small river, the Kokcha River, which is the eastern tributary of the River Oxus where he traversed.

 

“There is a mountain in that region where the finest azure in the world is found. It appears in veins like silver streaks.”

-Marco Polo.

 

Lazurite, the blue in Lapis, is often found in the gem veins mixed in with calcite. Other minerals include pyrite, diopside, sodalite, which is often mistaken for Lapis–garnet, dolomite, apatite and others. Gem lazurite is found in three Persian color classifications: nili which is a dark blue, assemani, a light blue, and sabz which is green.