Lazurite pseudo. after Scapolite
Ladjuar Medam, Sar-e Sang, Koksha Valley, Badakhshan, Afghanistan
Small Cabinet, 6.1 x 5.0 x 3.8 cm

A large, single, very well-formed, sharply terminated lazurite of unusual habit attracted our eye to this piece when it was larger and in need of a trim. The lazulite pseudomorphing (a replacement of) scapolite is adroitly perched on white marble matrix in this nicely composed small cabinet specimen. This is an intriguing piece in that at first glance the crystal looks like a lovely blue lazurite...except for the crystal habit! Upon close inspection of the crystal and the rest of the matrix, it becomes obvious that this is a pseudomorph and other partial pseudomorphs in early stages of replacement are also present. These partial pseudomorphs have thin rims of blue lazurite replacing sugary, translucent, colorless to white scapolite (or possibly nepheline - although that seems unlikely). This also explains the lighter than expected blue color for the main crystal, which may have a remnant core of scapolite. A great pseudomorph from this ancient deposit, that stands out for color and shape both among the more common crystals of this species!