Lapis lazuli, basically meaning "blue stone," is a deep blue metamorphic rock usually found in crystalline marble that has been extremely prized throughout history as both as a semi-precious stone used for jewelry and ground down to produce ultramarine -- the most expensive blue pigment. This pigment was reserved by some artists exclusively for depictions of the Virgin Mary. Most lapis lazuli also contains white pigment from calcite and yellow pigment from pyrite as well as blue pigment from sodalite. The characteristic intense blue of ultramarine, however, is derived from the presence of trisulfate in the stone.
Lapis lazuli has been mined in Afghanistan since the neolithic age, and lapis lazuli-containing artifacts have been found throughout the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia, Mycenae, Shahr-e Sukhteh, Sumeria, and modern day Syria as well as throughout the land once occupied by ancient Egypt.
Possible correspondences: Afghanistan, agelessness, blue, dye, Egypt, exclusivity, eyes, Mesopotamia, Syria, value from rarity, Virgin Mary.