Royal blue lapis lazuli comes from the silicate mineral lazurite. Polished stones often show gorgeous veins of white calcite and flecks of golden pyrite. Used by ancient civilizations from China to Sumeria, lapis lazuli inlay adorned the mask of ancient Egypt's King Tutankhamun. Lapis lazuli is somewhat rare and much of the deepest blue stone is mined in Afghanistan. Denim lapis has a lighter blue color and Aztec lapis features dramatic veining of black and brown minerals.
Beautiful turquoise is a phosphate mineral popular all over the world. Mined since 5000 BC, it is one of the first gemstones known to be used by humans. Color variation from sky-blue to medium green is affected by differing amounts of copper and iron, more copper giving the stone a bluer color and more iron a greener one. Beautiful light blue turquoise is mined in Northern Iran and other varieties occur in Mexico, the United States and elsewhere.
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