Imitation Lapis Lazuli

lapis lazuli

General Information

What color is it?: A very nice blue color that is a very good imitation of natural lapis lazuli.

What is the story behind this gemstone?: Just another effort by some people to fool other people. And not a very good one at that. This is definatly an imiation and not a synthetic. Because it only looks like lapis lazuli and is not really a true synthetic. But in the right light I suppose it could fool a lot of people. Otherwise it would not be out on the market.

Source: Who knows? Probably somebody’s garage or attic. Or both!

Chemical: Unknown. It looks like blue dry wall compound from a distance but is textured like lapis lazuli to the touch.

Formation: Most likely a paste that is hardened into forms, as that shown above. Then cut and polished as needed.

Crystal System: None.

Unusual Properties: Other than pretty well emulating a true lapis lazuli color its really nothing special.

Gemological Information and Identification

A rock of natural lapis lazuli. Compare the structure to the imitation shown at top

Primary Test: Chelsea Filter

Natural, untreated lapis lazuli will show a faint but distinct red color to the Chelsea Filter. This imitation will not. And the RI and just about every other test will distinguish this imitation from the real thing to any gemologist worth their salt.

With greatest appreciation to: Synthetic Imitation & Treated Gemstones by Michael O’Donoghue, Butterworth Heinemann, London, 1997, and Gems Made by Man, Kurt Nassau, Gemological Institute of America, Santa Monica, 1980

Without whose excellent books on this subject these web pages would not be possible.

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