Lapis lazuli  or lapis for short, is a deep blue semi-precious stone prized since antiquity for its intense color. Lapis lazuli was mined in the Sar-i Sang mines, in Shortugai and in other mines in the Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan as early as the 7th millennium BC. Lapis was highly valued by the Indus valley civilization (3300–1900 BC), and Shortugai was a major mining and trading colony of the civilization in Afghanistan. Lapis beads have been found at neolithic burials in Mehrgarh, the Caucasus, and even as far from Afghanistan as Mauritania. It was used for the eyebrows, among other features, on the funeral mask of Tutankhamun (1341–1323 BC).

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