Gemology: L is for...
Our twelfth visit to the Gemology Guide brings us gemstones beginning with L. We've found four beautiful gems for you! Labradorite Labradorite is a form of feldspar; one of the most abundant minerals on earth. It glows with a sheen of green, blue, and red – like oil on a puddle – and is beautiful when polished into jewellery. It was first named after being found on the Labrador coast of Canada in 1805, but is also found in other parts of Canada, the Ukraine, and America. Labradorite is usually polished as a flat slab for jewellery use.
Lapis Lazuli Lapis Lazuli is technically not a gemstone. It's a composition of up to 15 other minerals all fuzed together. Lapis Lazuli is famous for its rich blue colour and flecks of gold, which made it a popular choice for Cleopatra to crush into a powder for her eyeshadow! Humans have used Lapis Lazuli for personal decoration for thousands of years. The more 'gold' in the lapis lazuli, the more valuable it is, however, the more white (calcite) in it, the lower its value. The main minerals which give it this colour are lazurite and pyrite (fools gold). There's a lot of lore attached to this gemstone, in particular Egyptians believed it was impossible to lie while holding lapis lazuli, and many modern crystal healers believe lapis lazuli can aid in improving positivity and mood. Lapis Lazuli is quite a porous soft stone and should be worn, stored, and cleaned with care. Lapis is Persian for blue.
Lava Yes, lava is sometimes cut and carved into gemstones! In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, following the rediscovery of Pompeii in 1748, there was a surge in demand for souvenir lava jewellery cut from the ruins of Pompeii. This brooch dates from the 1840s and features the Roman Empress Antonia Minor. Lava jewellery is not technically 'lava' as Pompeii was smothered with volcanic ash and debris, not lava, but the jewellery is beautiful none-the-less, and many intricately carved cameos and intaglios still exist today.
Lazurite Lazurite is the 'blue' in lapis lazuli. It's not frequently found in single crystal form, but there have been some wonderful discoveries of fairly large lazurite crystals, which are in high demand amongst mineral collectors. Lazurite can be polished into cabochon or gems, but many gemstone collectors prefer it in its raw state.