Lapis lazuli (Lajaward in Dari) is a semi-precious stone that has been mined in the Badakhshan Province in Afghanistan for over 6,000 years. It is known for its brilliant blue color, golden specks of pyrite, and sacred uses in ancient times. Afghan lapis has been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs and was often used to decorate religious shrines. For centuries, lapis traveled along the Silk Road to be used in jewelry, sculptures, and various forms of art. Artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci pulverized the stone to form a radiant blue pigment for painting.