Lapis Lazuli is an opaque deep royal blue stone used in jewelry for thousands of years - in fact, it is one of the first gemstones ever to be incorporated into jewelry. It is a complex stone composed of several blue minerals, including lazurite and sodalite, with a matrix of calcite and speckles of pyrite. It is distinctively fluorescent. Lower quality specimens are commonly color enhanced. Other forms of lapis: Lapis Nevada - a relatively recent discovery, it is pink and green, composed of 11 different minerals, and mined in Nevada. Denim Lapis - a less expensive form with lots of white calcite matrix, it is gaining popularity for use in more casual accessories. Hardness: 5-6 Care: Clean with a soft dry cloth, avoid water and chemicals. It is light fast, but easily scratched or chipped with rough handling. I have used beads of premium quality royal blue lapis in my Three Part Invention necklace - the color is so intense, I felt they were well suited to this minimalist design.