The finest lapis has uniform body colour, free of visible pyrite and calcite. Lapis often contains varying amounts of whitish calcite matrix - the host rock - or flecks or veins of yellow pyrite, or both.
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What to look for
Variously described as indigo, royal, midnight or marine blue, lapis lazuli’s signature hue is a slightly greenish blue to violetish blue, medium to dark in tone, and highly saturated. In its most-prized form, lapis lazuli has no visible calcite, although it might have gold-coloured pyrite flecks.
If the pyrite flecks are small and sprinkled attractively throughout the gem, their presence doesn’t necessarily lower lapis lazuli’s value. The lowest-quality lapis looks dull and green, the result of an excess of pyrite. Lapis with white calcite streaks is less valuable.