Lapis Lazuli is a deep blue stone well known to all ancient nations, and is most probably the stone mentioned in early writings as the Sapphire, the Tables of the Law stated in the Bible as being of the latter, although there is not much doubt that Lapis Lazuli is the stone meant.
It is an opaque stone, and is frequently flecked with gold owing to the presence of iron pyrites in its composition.
The best qualities come from China, Persia, and Siberia; whilst the lighter - coloured and less valuable is found in Germany and South America. Its name is derived from Lapis, meaning "a stone," and the Arabic word Azul, meaning "blue".
It was very popular with the Egyptians, several of their Talismans being made of this gem, particularly the Eye and Heart, specimens of which may be seen in the fourth Egyptian Room at the British Museum. On account of its beautiful deep blue colour it has always been dedicated to Venus, and in Christian religions is regarded as the stone of the Virgin Mary. It was freely used by the Greeks and Romans both for ornamental purposes and for the cure of Apoplexy, Epilepsy, diseases of the Spleen, and all skin ailments and blood disorders. Also a necklace of Lapis Lazuli beads was considered beneficial to inspire courage in timid children, cure depression of spirits and melancholia, whilst it strengthened the affections, ensured fidelity in friends, and brought success in love.