The Value Of Lapis Lazuli In 2024 By Color (Reasonable prices!)

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

| Updated

The Value Of Lapis Lazuli In 2024 By Color (Reasonable prices!)

By Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Updated

Ever gazed upon a deep blue stone that seems to hold the mysteries of the night sky? That’s lapis lazuli! It has been turning heads for millennia, and there’s a whole world behind its blue brilliance that makes lapis lazuli’s value soar high.

Simply called lapis, this wonder isn’t just your average rock. It has a rich tapestry of stories, values, and uses that date back to ancient times.

Think of the grand Egyptian pharaohs, the bustling markets of the Silk Road, or the intricate art pieces in museums. Lapis has been there, done that!

Several things make this beauty stand out and the reasons behind how much lapis lazuli is worth are more intricate. We’re about to dive deep into this blue wonderland and uncover all the benchmarks that set the best apart from the rest.

By the end, you’ll be looking at lapis lazuli with newfound admiration and understanding. Let’s begin!

What Lapis Lazuli Is

Wrap bracelet adorned with beautiful, deep blue lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli wrap bracelet photo provided by and available for purchase at BohoStoneJewellery

With its deep blue color and shiny golden specks, lapis lazuli looks like a tiny galaxy trapped inside a stone. These golden specks are actually bits of pyrite, which adds to lapis’s charm.

Originating from the Latin words “lapis” meaning stone and “azula” meaning blue, this gem truly lives up to its name as the “blue stone.” Found mainly in Afghanistan, it isn’t just your everyday find. Its rarity makes it all the more special.

Lapis lazuli has been loved for thousands of years. Ancient folks, like the Egyptians, didn’t just wear it as jewelry. They ground it into powder to make cosmetics. Imagine having a rock as part of your makeup routine!

Now you might ask, how much is lapis lazuli worth? Like many gems, its value can vary. A handful of factors affect lapis lazuli’s value, but generally speaking, the brighter and more pure the blue is, the more valuable it can be.

While some pieces might be affordable, the highest quality lapis lazuli can fetch a pretty penny.

Why Lapis Lazuli Is So Expensive

Gold ring with hand-carved castle in gold over lapis lazuli
Lapis lazuli ring photo provided by and available for purchase at YvbardJewelry

Holding a piece of lapis lazuli is like holding the night sky in your hand, where deep blue meets the sparkling twinkle of distant stars. This captivating rock has dazzled people for centuries, and there are a bunch of cool reasons why it’s so cherished.

First off, its color is simply mesmerizing. That deep blue isn’t something you stumble upon in every rock you pick up. It’s a shade that has inspired countless artists.

In fact, painters once ground it up to make ultra-expensive blue paint. Think of all the famous paintings you’ve seen with brilliant blue skies— some of those might just owe their vibrance to lapis lazuli.

Then, there are those little golden specks. They aren’t actually gold but are flecks of pyrite. They give lapis that unique, star-studded appearance. It’s like holding a tiny universe in your fingers!

Lapis lazuli also has some fantastic stories from history. Ancient Egyptians loved it so much that they wanted to take it with them to the afterlife! It was found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb, which shows just how precious it was. Not just for kings, it was also ground to make eye shadow for queens and noble ladies.

The places where it’s found also add to lapis lazuli’s price. It’s mainly sourced from the remote mountains of Afghanistan, which means getting it involves a bit of an adventurous journey.

Lastly, it’s not just about looks and history. In many cultures, lapis is believed to bring peace and enhance creativity. Whether or not you believe in its metaphysical properties, there’s no denying that lapis lazuli is one unforgettable rock.

How To Determine The Value Of Lapis Lazuli

Cute golden pendant with a deep blue lapis lazuli as center stone
Lapiz lazuli pendant photo provided by Amanda Joy Rubin

As we’ve mentioned above, there are a number of factors that affect lapis lazuli’s price and value. Below are some of the most significant ones:

Color

The most sought-after lapis lazuli has an intense, rich blue color. When the blue is uniform and deep without patches of lighter shades, it’s considered top quality. Just like a sapphire, the depth and consistency of the blue can drive up the price.

Presence of Pyrite

Those glimmering golden specks of pyrite in lapis lazuli can be both a blessing and a curse.

A moderate amount of evenly distributed pyrite can enhance the stone’s appearance, giving it a starry night effect. However, an excess of pyrite or clumps that disrupt the blue can reduce its value.

Absence of Calcite

White streaks or patches in lapis lazuli are usually calcite inclusions. While a little can be accepted, a specimen with minimal or no white calcite is generally preferred. Large amounts of calcite can make the stone look less intense and can lower its price.

Origin and Rarity

The primary source of high-quality lapis lazuli is the mountains of Afghanistan. Stones from these mines are particularly valued for their rich color and minimal calcite.

The difficulty in mining and exporting from such remote regions adds to the stone’s rarity and cost.

Treatment and Enhancement

Just like many gems, lapis can be treated to improve its color. Natural, untreated stones that possess a deep blue color are rarer and, therefore, more valuable.

On the other hand, dyed or treated lapis is generally less costly, as the treatment might wear off over time.

Cut

While lapis lazuli is often found in cabochon shapes due to its opaque nature, the quality of that cut is essential.

A well-cut specimen will exhibit a uniform color throughout, optimizing the rich blue hue and showcasing any desirable golden pyrite inclusions evenly. On the other hand, a poorly cut lapis lazuli might expose unwanted calcite inclusions or disrupt the stone’s natural patterns, diminishing its overall appeal and value.

Carat Weight

As the carat weight increases, the price per carat can also rise. This means that larger, high-quality pieces might command exponentially higher prices than smaller ones of comparable quality.

This is due in part to the rarity of finding larger pieces of lapis that maintain a consistent, desirable color and quality throughout.

Lapis Lazuli Price By Color

The intensity and uniformity in color of a piece of lapis lazuli are the most important factors that determine its price in the market. Below are lapis lazuli’s price depending on these:

Lapis Lazuli values by color

ColorPrice
Light Blue Lapis Lazuli$0.5 – $2 per carat
Medium Blue Lapis Lazuli$2 – $8 per carat
Deep Blue Lapis Lazuli$30 – $150 per carat

As you can see, the price of this rock varies widely depending on its color quality.

Are you curious to know how much lapis lazuli is worth depending on different units of measurement? If you are, you’re in luck because we’ll answer it for you in the table below.

Lapis Lazuli pricing by unit of measurement

MeasurementPrice
A carat of Lapis Lazuli$0.50 – $150
A gram of Lapis Lazuli$2.50 – $750
An ounce of Lapis Lazuli$71 – $21,262
A kilogram of Lapis Lazuli$2,500 – $750,000
A pound of Lapis Lazuli$1,134 – $340,194
A ton of Lapis Lazuli$2,267,963 – $680,388,750

How To Get An Appraisal On Your Lapis Lazuli

Evil eye bracelet with lapiz lazuli beads
Lapiz lazuli braclete photo provided by 𝑷𝒖𝒓𝒑𝒍𝒆 𝑱𝒆𝒘𝒆𝒍𝒓𝒚𝒔

If you want to fully understand lapis lazuli’s value or have it insured, it’s crucial to get an appraisal for it. You can try different ways to get a credible valuation of this rock.

The most accurate and reliable way is through a certified gemologist. Many of them are affiliated with reputable organizations, such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). It’s wise to seek a gemologist who has specific experience with colored gemstones.

If the lapis lazuli is set in a piece of jewelry, a jewelry appraiser can be a good choice, too. Not only do they evaluate the gemstone itself, but also consider the craftsmanship, metal quality, and overall design of the jewelry piece.

Another way to get an appraisal is through online platforms offering gemstone and jewelry appraisals. Although these can provide a ballpark figure, they may not be precise, especially if the stone’s characteristics are challenging to capture in photos.

If you need a quick estimate, local jewelers or antique dealers might provide insights into your lapis lazuli’s value.

In all scenarios, it’s always a good idea to get a second opinion, especially if you feel the appraisal might not reflect your specimen’s true value or if you’re considering selling the item.

About Dr. Keith Jackson - Geology PhD

Keith Jackson is an avid rockhound who is constantly exploring new sites to expand his collection. He has worked as a professional Geologist for over 20 years and holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a Masters Degree in Geology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a Bachelors Degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut.

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