Prized for its intense blue colouring (the deeper the better), it often comes from Afghanistan. For centuries powdered lapis was used as an ingredient in paint to create a very special blue, but the pigment now used in paint is man made as Lapis is far too expensive a component for such an application these days. Its name derives from medieval Latin and means 'blue stone'. It is said to promote friendship and goodwill and to guard the wearer against evil. It is one of the birthstones for December (along with Turquoise) and symbolises Prosperity.
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