Lapis Lazuli – Mines in northeast Afghanistan continue to be a major source of lapis lazuli. Important amounts are also produced from mines west of Lake Baikal in Russia, and in the Andes mountains in Chile. Smaller quantities are mined in Pakistan, Italy, Mongolia, the United States, and Canada. It is a stone prized for its intense blue color. The name Lapis Lazuli comes from the Arabic word lazward, from which the word azure comes, which means blue. Ancient Romans used to call it “sapphires,” which was subsequently applied to the blue variety of corundum we know today as sapphire.