Lapis Lazuli is a sodium aluminum silicate-rich mineral combined with the metamorphic rock it grows within. It is a rock formed by multiple minerals, mostly Lazurite, Sodalite, Calcite, and Pyrite.
Lapis Lazuli was highly valued in Ancient Egypt, obtained from the oldest mines in the world, worked from around 4000 B.C. The golden sarcophagus of King Tutankhamen was richly inlaid with Lapis, as were other burial ornaments of Egyptian kings and queens. It was used extensively in scarabs, pendants, and other jewelry, and ground into powder for dyes, eye shadow, and medicinal elixirs.
The highest quality deposits are found in the Sar-e-Sand deposit in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan’s Kochka River Valley. It is important to note that unlike most minerals, Lapis Lazuli is found within caves and not traditional mines. Lapis is found worldwide.