How to tell the difference between Sodalite and Lapis Lazuli…

How to tell the difference between Sodalite and Lapis Lazuli...

By Marie Chalmers FGA DGA

I’m Marie Chalmers, I’m a Gemmologist, but I’ve been working in the Jewellery and Gemstone industry for over 20 years, and I can help you!

Sodalite and Lapis Lazuli look quite similar in appearance. They are both a beautiful bright blue colour, quite often with blacks and greys and whites. Lapis commonly contain Pyrite, but Sodalite can also contain Pyrite, so they get misidentified.

Lapis Lazuli or Sodalite?

Here are some tips on how to identify between Sodalite and Lapis Lazuli.


Sodalite is a Mineral we generally recognise as being a lovely blue colour; it’s a bright blue. It tends to have black veins, white patches, and sometimes an odd dash of red in it. But it can actually come in very many other colours. So if you think of Fluorescent Sodalite, which is sometimes sold as Yooperlite, it has a grey body colour of Sodalite. Then Hackmanite is a pink-to-purple variation of Sodalite as well.

Sodalite Mixed Shape Top Drilled Cabochons Approx 35 - 45mm with 0.8mm Drill HoleFluorescent Sodalite Large Palmstone Approx 65 x 45 x 20mm Hackmanite Approx 9 x 6 - 10 x 8mm Smooth Tumbles 20cm Graduated Strand

It is the Lazulite in Sodalite that gives it that bright blue colour. That is the same colouring element that colours Lapis Lazuli. That’s why the two can be confused because they actually contain the same Mineral.

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli is actually a Rock; it’s not a Mineral at all, and a Rock is technically a mixture of all sorts of different materials all together in one piece. Now in Lapis, we tend to find over 25% of that is Lazulite, which is part of the Sodalite group of Minerals, and that is what gives it that bright blue colour. But it is also what gives Sodalite the blue colour as well.

Lapis Lazuli Micro Faceted Coin Beads Approx 4mm 32cm Strand Lapis Lazuli Oval Cabochons Approx 14 x 10mm 2 Piece Pack Lapis Lazuli Flat Top and Bottom Giant Olive Beads Approx 2 x 1.5cm 10 Piece Strand

Lapis also contains other Minerals, so quite commonly, it contains Calcite, that’s your white veins and also Pyrite, which is what gives Lapis that beautiful golden speckled effect and sometimes, you even get bands of Pyrite growing with that Lapis construction.

Identifying features of Lapis versus Sodalite

So for Lapis Lazuli, you should be looking for those Pyrite speckles; you are looking for those little gold speckles. Sometimes layers of Pyrite within the Lapis, and those are really desirable in Lapis. Now they can be found in Sodalite but not in the same quantity; it is much rarer.

Sodalite is a slightly darker blue. It often has black and white veins and sometimes red veins. And has a bit of a different look.

If you are working with the Gemstones, then you’ll soon recognise between Lapis and Sodalite, but always use a trusted Gemmologist to check and identify your Gemstones if you have any questions.

If you really need an absolutely guaranteed identification of your Gemstones, then make sure you send them to a trusted, reputable laboratory that will be able to identify what the Mineral is by looking at its chemical composition using some very fancy technology.

Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to follow us on Social Media for more Gemmy information.


Chalmers Gems was created by two best friends, Marie Chalmers and Sheena Gill, and is founded on the unwavering mission to source the best ethical Gemstones and Minerals in the world and supply them at the best possible price to our customers.

Having spent over two decades in the jewellery industry, Marie Chalmers FGA DGA, heads up our Buying Team. As a qualified Gemmologist and Fine Goldsmith, Marie has worked across continents such as India, Africa and China. Marie has travelled the world building strong relationships and a fantastic supply chain, enabling her to bring you the highest quality products at the best possible price. As well as having spent her career controlling multi-million £’s worth of stock, she is well versed in the global gemstone and mineral supply chain and can access some very unique and rare products.

As one of the UK’s most influential people in the jewellery industry (Professional Jeweller), Marie is committed to building the most exciting and honourable business. This encompasses product development and education, building on the training courses she managed at the Assay Office Birmingham – the world’s largest Assay Office.

Come with us to discover the world’s best Gemstones. At Chalmers Gems, we offer a unique and exciting way to buy and sell Gems from around the world. We travel straight to the source, visiting mines, cutting factories and manufacturers handpicking exotic, high-quality Gemstones and showcase them during our Live Shows, on our website and in our pop-up shop. All the Gemstones we find are exclusive to our international trips and are available for a limited time.

We regularly tour India, learning about the Gemstones with our Marie. This is your unique opportunity to be part of and understand your Gemstone’s ethical journey from the mine to your door.

We host amazing, inclusive Live Events across our social media channels on a regular basis throughout the week, so ensure to set notifications on Facebook & Instagram so as not to miss these.


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