Lapis lazuli has been one of the most sought after stones throughout human history. Its deep blue is a symbol of royalty and power, wisdom and truth. In antiquity, lapis lazuli was used to make the dye ultramarine. The cost and rarity of lapis lazuli made this paint very expensive and it was used sparingly in paintings representing the highest powers in royalty and religion. Recently, an unusual archeological find discovered flecks of lapis lazuli in the teeth of a nun in Italy. It had been thought that nuns painted scriptures just as monks did, but no scriptures had been definitively signed by nuns and none could be pointed to them directly. This discovering of this rare pigment in her teeth strengthens this idea, as only paintings of the highest stature would have used this pigment. They believe that the pigment was incorporated into her teeth when she would lick the end of the brush to point it. As brushing teeth was not practiced at that time, many things have been discovered amongst the plaque of teeth, but this is the first time the pigment was found.
Lapis mines have been active since 4000BC. It is referenced in the old testament as sapphire (which was not found in that part of the world) and was likely the fifth stone in the breast plate of the high priest. For the egyptians, the deep blue was a stark contrast to the desert colors and the golden flecks were like stars in the sky.
Lapis is used for stimulating the mind and intelligence.