What is lapis lazuli?
It is a deep blue rock used as a semi-precious gemstone. It is what was used for the dark blues in Tutankhamun's mask (1323 BC). (It obviously lasts!)
Towards the end of the middle ages, it was ground into powder to make Ultramarine, the most expensive blue pigment, used by some of the great artists of the Renaissance & Baroque periods.
It is mainly mined in Afghanistan, where it has been mined since 7,000 BC. Another major source is in Siberia, Russia. Smaller deposits are mined around the world, including California and Colorado in the USA.
Lapis means stone and lazuli means sky or heaven. So its a stone from the sky or heaven. The blue representing the sky, the gold flecks, the sun. Lapis lazuli is said by some scholars to be the stone on which God wrote the 10 Commandments. (He must have had a white marker pen!)
Warm, soapy water is the best way to clean Lapis lazuli.