Silversmith Bruce Moffitt presents More About Lapis Lazuli
|Lapis Lazuli Continued
Lapis as a stone is mostly lazurite, which is a rather complex sodium, calcium alumino silicate with some sulfur, chlorine, and bits of light
metals thrown in. There is often calcite, pyroxenes, pyrite and the such as matrix. Lapis usually occurs in contact metamorphic
zones in limestone. It is generally crypto-crystalline, with a hardness in the fives, and takes a nice polish. The indispensable and incredibly expensive pigment of early oil painting, Ultramarine, was ground up Lapis Lazuli.
The great and ancient mines where the best of the world's Lapis Lazuli has been found are in mountains in the northeast of Afganistan. The mines are said to be in some of the roughest country on earth. Some of the old trade routes have recently been opened by the demise of the previous Afgani regime, and in this time of relative peace some most excellent Lapis Lazuli is coming down out of the mountains. Now we are able to feast on the availability of some very nice Lapis, but do it now. The political structure of the area is in constant flux, and mine production may cease or be diverted at any time. If you plan on getting your own Lapis Lazuli, I would suggest bringing an AK47 with your sunbrella.
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