When it comes to beautiful blue gemstones, both lapis lazuli and sapphire often come to mind. However, despite their similar hues, these two stones have distinct differences in composition, history, and value. At Goldsmith Jewelers, we’re here to provide a clear understanding of what sets these gemstones apart.

Understanding Lapis Lazuli

Composition and Appearance

Lapis lazuli is a metamorphic rock primarily composed of lazurite, which gives it its vibrant blue color. It often contains calcite (white streaks) and pyrite (golden flecks), adding to its unique beauty.

Historical Significance

This gemstone has been prized since ancient times, used in jewelry and to create the pigment ultramarine. It was a symbol of royalty and wisdom.

Understanding Sapphire

Composition and Properties

Sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum and is known for its excellent hardness (9 on the Mohs scale). While it comes in various colors, blue sapphires are the most famous.

Value and Rarity

Sapphires are considered precious gemstones and are highly valued, especially those with a deep, vivid blue color. Their value is determined by their color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.

Key Differences Between Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire

  • Composition- Lapis lazuli is a rock with a mixture of minerals, while sapphire is a single mineral gemstone.
  • Hardness- Sapphire is much harder and more durable than lapis lazuli, making it suitable for everyday wear in jewelry.
  • Value- Sapphires are generally more valuable and sought after in the fine jewelry market compared to lapis lazuli.
  • Color Variations- Lapis lazuli is primarily known for its blue color with potential white and gold inclusions. Sapphires, though famous for their blue hues, can also come in pink, yellow, and other colors.

Gemstone Treatments: Sapphire and Lapis Lazuli

Both sapphires and lapis lazuli can undergo treatments to enhance their appearance, but the nature and extent of these treatments differ significantly. While sapphires may be heat-treated or subjected to other enhancements, lapis lazuli is typically only polished, with occasional dyeing for color uniformity.

Sapphire Treatments

Heat Treatment

  • Purpose: Heat treatment is the most common method used to enhance the color and clarity of sapphires. It can intensify the blue hue and reduce the visibility of inclusions.
  • Process: The sapphires are exposed to high temperatures, ranging from 800°C to 1800°C, for a specific duration. This process can either be done shortly after mining or later as part of the gemstone’s preparation for sale.
  • Disclosure: It’s essential for jewelers to disclose heat treatment to customers, as it can affect the value of the sapphire. At Goldsmith Jewelers, we ensure transparency regarding any treatments our gemstones have undergone.

Other Treatments

  • Diffusion Treatment: This involves adding elements like beryllium or titanium to the sapphire at high temperatures to alter its color. Diffusion-treated sapphires usually have a lower value than naturally colored or heat-treated ones.
  • Fracture Filling: Some sapphires may have surface-reaching fractures filled with a substance like glass to improve their appearance. This treatment is less stable and should be disclosed to the buyer.

Lapis Lazuli Treatments


  • Surface Enhancement: Lapis lazuli is often polished to bring out its natural luster and vibrant blue color. Polishing helps to smooth the surface and highlight the stone’s beauty.
  • Minimal Alteration: Unlike sapphires, lapis lazuli is not commonly subjected to treatments like heat or chemical alterations. Its beauty is mainly enhanced through expert cutting and polishing.


  • Color Enhancement: In some cases, lower-quality lapis lazuli may be dyed to achieve a more uniform or intense blue color. While not as common as treatments for other gemstones, it’s important for buyers to be aware of the possibility of dyeing.

Fashion and Style Tips: Lapis Lazuli and Sapphire Jewelry

Both lapis lazuli and sapphire offer unique opportunities to enhance your personal style. Here are some tips on how to incorporate these stunning gemstones into your wardrobe:

Lapis Lazuli: Bold and Bohemian

  • Casual Chic: Pair lapis lazuli earrings or a pendant with a white linen shirt and jeans for a relaxed yet sophisticated look. The deep blue adds a pop of color to a casual outfit.
  • Bohemian Flair: Lapis lazuli beads strung on a bracelet or necklace can add a bohemian touch to a flowy maxi dress or layered, patterned outfits.
  • Evening Elegance: For a more formal occasion, a lapis lazuli cocktail ring set in gold can make a bold statement. Pair it with a little black dress for a striking contrast.

Sapphire: Classic and Versatile

  • Office Elegance: Sapphire stud earrings or a delicate sapphire pendant can add a touch of sophistication to a business suit or a pencil skirt and blouse.
  • Romantic Nights: A sapphire and diamond halo ring or bracelet can add sparkle and elegance to a cocktail dress or an evening gown.
  • Casual Luxury: For a more casual look, pair a sapphire bangle or ring with a denim jacket and a simple t-shirt. The sapphire will elevate the outfit with a touch of luxury.

Pairing with Metals and Other Gemstones

  • Metal Choices: Both lapis lazuli and sapphire pair well with various metals. For a classic look, opt for yellow gold. White gold or platinum can offer a more contemporary feel, while rose gold can provide a warm, romantic touch.
  • Combining Gemstones: Lapis lazuli can be paired with warm-toned gemstones like citrine or garnet for a vibrant, colorful look. Sapphire, on the other hand, pairs beautifully with diamonds for a timeless and elegant combination.


While lapis lazuli and sapphire share a beautiful blue color, they are distinct in their composition, value, and uses. Whether you’re drawn to the historical allure of lapis lazuli or the classic elegance of sapphire, both stones offer unique beauty and charm. At Goldsmith Jewelers, we’re dedicated to helping you find the perfect gemstone that aligns with your personal style and budget. Visit us or contact us to explore our exquisite collection of lapis lazuli and sapphire jewelry.