A rare and spiritually important stone, Lapis Lazuli is characterized by its deep porcelain blue and denim coloration. Widely regarded a 'royal' stone by many African tribes, its name derives from the Persian “Lazhuward” meaning “blue heaven”. The Ancient Egyptians are among the earliest known civilizations to have utilized Lapis Lazuli for jewelry, believing it to channel the voices of the gods, and promote awareness and intellect. Many African tribes share similar beliefs to the ancient Khemet peoples -specifically in regard to both medicinal and spiritual properties of the stone. Lapis Lazuli is said to protect the eyes from horrors, and sick children from death.
With its beautiful porcelain blue colorations and distinctive natural inclusions, Lapis Lazuli is a popular gemstone used in modern African silver jewelry, the vast majority of which is now made in Afghanistan. Although its rarity has had significant impact upon its value in Western markets, this is only applicable to darker, less included stones. Afghani Lapis Lazuli Beads are produced in a wide range of sizes and shapes ranging from small chips, to large graduated oval beads. You'll generally find that price is dictated by the size and weight of beads on a string, the older and heavier of which have been known to exceed $300 at online auctions!