AskDefine | Define lazurite

User Contributed Dictionary



Named for the distinctive blue coloration.


  1. A mineral of metamorphosed limestones. Lazurite forms the gemstone lapis lazuli, and crushed lazurite provided the ultramarine color in artists' paint of the old masters. sodalite and lazurite form the sodalite group of silicate minerals.
  • Chemical composition: Sodium aluminum silicate with sulphur, Na_Al_3Si_3O_S

Extensive Definition

Lazurite is a tectosilicate mineral with sulfate, sulfur and chloride with formula: (Na,Ca)8(AlSiO4)6(SO4,S,Cl)2. It is a feldspathoid and a member of the sodalite group. Lazurite crystallizes in the isometric system although well formed crystals are rare. It is usually massive and forms the bulk of the gemstone lapis lazuli.
Lazurite is a deep blue to greenish blue. It has a Mohs hardness of 5 to 5.5 and a specific gravity of 2.4. It is translucent with a refractive index of 1.50. It is fusible at 3.5 and soluble in HCl. It commonly contains or is associated with grains of pyrite.
Lazurite is a product of contact metamorphism of limestone and typically is associated with calcite, pyroxenes, and pyrite.
Other blue minerals such as the carbonate azurite and the phosphate lazulite may be confused with lazurite, but are easily distinguished with careful examination. Lazurite at one time was used as a synonym for azurite.
Lazurite has been mined for over 6,000 years in the lapis lazuli district of Badakhshan, Afghanistan. It has been used as a pigment in painting and cloth dyeing since at least the sixth or seventh century AD (Eastaugh 2004, p. 219). It is also mined at Lake Baikal in Siberia; Mount Vesusuvis; Burma; Canada; and the United States (Eastaugh 2004, p. 219). The name is from the Persian lazward for blue.


  • Hurlbut, Cornelius S.; Klein, Cornelis, 1985, Manual of Mineralogy, 20th ed., Wiley, ISBN 0-471-80580-7
  • Eastaugh, Nicholas et al., 2004, The pigment compendium : optical microscopy of historical pigments Oxford: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann, ISBN 0750645539
  • Mindat with location data
  • Mineral galleries
  • Webmineral data
lazurite in Spanish: Lazurita
lazurite in Basque: Lazurita
lazurite in Italian: Lazurite
lazurite in Lithuanian: Lazuritas
lazurite in Dutch: Lazuriet
lazurite in Japanese: 青金石
lazurite in Polish: Lazuryt
lazurite in Russian: Лазурит
lazurite in Finnish: Latsuriitti
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