Definition of lapis lazuli in US English:

lapis lazuli

(also lapis)


  • 1A bright blue metamorphic rock consisting largely of lazurite, used for decoration and in jewelry.

    • ‘Agates were apparently highly valued by the ancient Egyptians for their lapidary use and were mounted into gold with other precious stones such as lapis and emeralds.’
    • ‘To the Buddhists, lapis lazuli brought peace of mind and equanimity and dispelled evil thoughts.’
    • ‘For massive material such as turquoise or lapis lazuli, which is fashioned into cabochons and free-form shapes, the purity, durability, and color of the material contribute to its desirability.’
    • ‘Maiden, in this book, is obsessed by stones, for example: opals, moonstones, lapis lazuli, pearls, diamonds and so on; in the later poems she is obsessed by roses.’
    • ‘A beautifully decorated lyre from Ur depicts similar figures in lapis lazuli and shell.’
    • ‘Garnet, jade and lapis lazuli are crystals formed from rock which has quite literally transformed its shape and appearance.’
    • ‘The occurrences, particularly the Tultuy and Malaya Bystraya deposits, are in metasomatized dolonfitic marbles and have been worked for ornamental and architectural lapis sporadically since the mid-1870s.’
    • ‘It was a beautiful golden ring, decorated with coral and lapis lazuli.’
    • ‘The demons of the First Circle, the lowest class, only wear studs, though the wealthier of them can afford the more costly stones, like sapphires, emeralds, lapis, or diamonds respectively.’
    • ‘The calcite produces white streaks in the lapis and too much calcite will lower the value of the stone.’
    • ‘Some gemstones that cannot be placed in most commercial jewellery cleaners are: pearls, lapis lazuli, malachite, opals, coral, turquoise, and others.’
    • ‘Blue stones, such as lapis lazuli, and red stones are often added.’
    • ‘Lazuli Port earned its name from its placement near the sea that, in color, much resembled the azure blue of the precious stone, often brought from overseas, called lapis lazuli.’
    • ‘Do not let your precious lapis be broken into stone for the stoneworker.’
    • ‘Garnet, emerald, jade, and lapis lazuli are among the gemstones created by metamorphic processes.’
    • ‘Of the seven Sar-e-Sang mines, only mine number four produces exceptional lapis and is thought to be the source of the magnificent lazurite, sodalite, and afghanite specimens available today.’
    • ‘Much Afghan jewelry features lapis lazuli, a navy blue semiprecious stone that's mined in the mountains.’
    • ‘Afghanistan is the world's leading producer of the stone lapis lazuli, which is made into jewelry.’
    • ‘Precious stones like turquoise and lapis lazuli came from the West and silk from China via Central Asia.’
    • ‘Triangles, which represent hands, called khamsa, ward off the evil eye, as do blue stones such as turquoise or lapis lazuli; red stones will stop bleeding or reduce inflammation.’
    1. 1.1 A bright blue pigment formerly made by crushing this, being the original ultramarine.
      • ‘Instead of using traditional Japanese mineral pigments such as azurite, lapis, malachite and cinnabar mixed with gelatin, he employed his familiar oil paints and European gilding methods.’
      • ‘Instead I pull out my knife to scrape away the paint of her robe, stripping the blue lapis that drapes her shoulders and arms, flaking gold trim into a plastic bag.’
    2. 1.2 The color ultramarine.
      • ‘These works ranged from swirling, meditative patterns of onyx and white to startling hues of lapis lazuli.’
      • ‘Donaldson's first job was for a private client who wanted her bathroom completely decorated in lapis lazuli.’
      • ‘The little girls wore strings of lapis lazuli, and the little boys blue Chinese Wellies.’
      • ‘This bird, oh so sleek in its aerodynamic coat of black, white, and iridescent lapis lazuli, is one of the most beautiful species anywhere.’
      sky-blue, azure, cobalt, cobalt blue, sapphire, cerulean, navy, navy blue, saxe, saxe blue, oxford blue, cambridge blue, ultramarine, lapis lazuli, indigo, aquamarine, turquoise, teal, teal blue, cyan, of the colour of the sky, of the colour of the sea
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Late Middle English: from Latin lapis ‘stone’ and medieval Latin lazuli, genitive of lazulum, from Persian lāžward ‘lapis lazuli’. Compare with azure.