Reference work entry
Lapis is a type of gemstone composed of lapis lazuli, sodalite, hauynite, calcite, and pyrite. It is blue or purplish blue with patches of copper-coloured pyrite, white calcite and other dark minerals. In ancient feudal China, lapis was considered a symbol of power and social status, so it was treasured by dignitaries. In the Qing Dynasty, court officials in the fourth rank had to wear Lapis with their court uniforms. Lapis is also a natural dye. It is mainly mined in Afghanistan, the Lake Baikal area of Russia, the Chilean Andes, Myanmar and California in the United States (Fig. 9).
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