Hephaestus's Blog

Word of the Month: Lapis Lazuli
May 16, 2016, 18:55
Filed under: Words of the Months

Etymology: Middle Latin lapis lazuli, ‘stone of Lajward’, from  lapis ‘stone’ + lazuili, genitive of lazulum, from Arabic lazaward; lazaward itself being derived from Lajward, a location in Western Asia where the stone was found.

Definition: A blue gemstone, composed of the mineral lazurite, along with calcite, pyrite, sodalite, and traces of others.

Lapis lazuli has been used in sculpture and jewelry for millennia. One of the most famous lapis lazuli objects is the funeral mask of Tutankhamen, with lapis lazuli inlays in the eyes and beard.

In addition to its use as a gemstone, lapis lazuli, powdered to make the pigment ultramarine, has been used in countless paintings; in addition, the word ‘azure’ comes from the same root as lapis lazuli.