Lapis lazuli, Afghanistan's blue treasure, is a metamorphic rock, deep blue to purple mottled with calcite, sodalite and pyrite. Lapis lazuli usually occurs in crystalline marble and the most important component is lazurite.
Prized for intense color since thousands of years BC, by the end of the middle ages lapis lazuli was used to make Ultramarine, the most refined and expensive of all blue tones.
Afghanistan, was the source of lapis lazuli for the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations, as well as Greeks and Romans.
In ancient Egypt, lapis lazuli was a favorite stone to carb amulets, adorned daggers and for jewelry. Powder lapis was used as eyeshadow by Cleopatra.