Lapis Lazuli Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

Wondering what lapis lazuli means? We can help! Read on as we explore the term Lapis Lazuli to uncover its meaning, origin, and more.

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Considered one of the most cherished and sought-after opaque gems in the history of humankind, lapis lazuli is defined by the dictionary as a semiprecious stone that is usually rich azure blue and is essentially a complex silicate, often with specks of pyrites. Let’s learn more about this fascinating stone together!

What Is the Origin of Lapis Lazuli?

Often referred to simply as lapis, lapis lazuli means “stone of azure” or “blue stone.” This name comes from the Latin word lapis meaning “stone” and the Persian لاژورد meaning “blue. لاژورد comes from the Arabic (al-)lazward and is derived from the genitive form of the medieval Latin lazulum.   

Historically, lapis lazuli was mined in the Badakhshan area of upper Afghanistan and in Lājevard, Persia. This source may be the oldest continually worked set of mines for lapis in the world—the same mines operating today supplied the stone to the pharaohs and ancient Sumerians. 

In addition to Afghanistan, lapis lazuli has been found in Chile, where it is usually pale blue rather than deep blue. 

Other sources for the popular gem include the Lake Baikal region of Russia, Siberia, Burma, Angola, Pakistan, Canada, India, and the United States (Colorado and California).  

Lapis Lazuli Used Throughout History

Although the history of this stone isn’t crystal-clear, historians believe the link between lapis lazuli and humans goes back more than 6,500 years. The gem was treasured by the ancient civilizations of Egypt, China, Greece, Rome, and Mesopotamia. 

Here are a few examples of how lapis lazuli was used throughout history:

  • In ancient Egypt, pharaohs were often buried with objects made of lapis lazuli. They even used it to create cosmetics, such as eye shadow. Celebrated as the Wisdom Stone, the beautiful stone was one of the highest regarded gems in all of Egypt. 
  • Referenced in the Old Testament as sapphire, lapis is likely the fifth stone in the original breastplate of the High Priest.
  • In Renaissance Europe, the stone was used as a valuable blue pigment. It’s said that Michelangelo used lapis lazuli in powder form to create the striking blue pigments seen in his Sistine Chapel.  
  • According to Buddhist tradition, lapis lazuli can help one find inner peace and relief from negative thoughts — hence why it’s made into jewelry and carved into practical and decorative objects, including sculptures, bowls, combs, and more. It’s a favorite crystal to use for feng shui applications, as well. 
  • In Persian folklore, the deep blue stone was said to be the starry sky shrunken down into a precious gem, perhaps already holding the knowledge of the universe. 
  • A favorite stone of the Islamic Orient, lapis lazuli, was chosen to be a protector against the evil eye. 
  • For many centuries, ground lapis lazuli was the only reliable way to obtain blue pigment for paints and inks. Scribes and painters highly prized it until the early 19th century. A synthetic variety called “French ultramarine” finally displaced lapis’ status, though it still retains its value and undeniable beauty today.

What Exactly Is Lapis Lazuli?

Despite what many people think, lapis lazuli is not an element or mineral — it is geologically classified as a metamorphic rock because it is made up of multiple minerals, such as lazurite, calcite, diopside, pyrite, and more. To be considered a mineral, the rock would have to be composed of a single constituent. 

The primary component of lapis lazuli is lazurite, a blue feldspathoid silicate mineral that is composed of aluminum, sodium, silicon, oxygen, chlorine, and sulfur. Most lapis also contains calcite, sodalite, and pyrite. 

Lazurite’s chemical formula can be written as: (Na,Ca)8(AlSiO4)6(S,SO4,Cl)1-2.

What Are the Metaphysical Properties of Lapis?

A stone of protection, the Sumerians long believed that the spirit of their gods lived within lapis lazuli, while ancient Egyptians saw the stone as a powerful symbol of the night sky. 

Since the earliest of times, lapis lazuli has been closely associated with royalty, wisdom, strength, courage, and intellect, as well as truth, and has been used to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

What Chakra Uses Lapis?

Lapis lazuli is commonly affiliated with the throat chakra and the third-eye chakra. Both of these chakras are represented by deep blue and purple shades and pertain to elements of spiritual connection and self-expression.  

  • The Third Eye Chakra, which is known for being the eye of consciousness, can be found at the brow and is highly motivated by knowledge, intuition, wisdom, and insight. When the Third Eye Chakra is in balance, we see clearly and understand what we see. 
  • The Throat Chakra is all about communication and expression — it is the voice of the body. When this chakra is in good balance, it allows the expression of what we think and what we feel. 

As a protection stone, lapis recognizes and blocks psychic attacks, returning the energy back to its source. 

In Conclusion

So, what does lapis lazuli mean, you ask?

Simply put, lapis lazuli is a metamorphic rock made up of calcite, lazurite, and pyrite. It is the birthstone for September and is affiliated with the Throat Chakra as well as the Third-Eye Chakra. 

The stunning bluestone brings harmony and deep inner self-knowledge while encouraging self-awareness and self-expression to reveal an inner truth, ultimately providing qualities of honesty, compassion, and morality to one’s personality. 

It is also a stone of peace and serenity, calming tempers, releasing stress, and bringing the mind and body together in harmony.


  1. Lapis Lazuli History and Lore | GIA
  2. What is a Mineral | Britannica
  3. Lapis lazuli Definition & Meaning |