Major sources are at Badakhshan in Afghanistan, Lake Baikal in the USSR, and Ovalle in Chile.
The best lapis comes from Afghanistan and Chile.
The name comes from Arabic "allazward" meaning sky or blue. At one time it was valued on an equal level, in weight, with gold.
Lapis may contain other minerals, such as calcite, pyrite, amphibole, apatite, diopside, feldspar, sphene, and zircon.
Lapis lazuli is distinguished from artificially colored jasper by the presence of gold colored flecks of pyrite and the lack of the tiny, colorless quartz crystals present in jasper.