A gemstone (also called lapis according to my experience and all my mineral books, despite Webster 1913 saying its shortened name is lazuli). Gem-grade lapis lazuli is royal blue, but the stone can also be found in red, purple and black. The gem-grade material generally comes from Afghanistan (though lower-quality lapis can be found in other parts of Asia, the U.S., and Chile).

Lapis is actually made up of three different minerals: lazurite (major source of the blue color), pyrite (source of the gold-colored flecks often seen in it) and calcite (which can cause white specks)

Some ancient cultures actually valued lapis lazuli as much as or more than gold, and by the Renaissance powdered lapis was used in making paints, including the shade called ultramarine. It has become less-used in jewelry and paint because of plastics and synthetics (chalcedony can be dyed for a convincing fake, as well as spinel and glass).