In ancient Egypt lapis lazuli was a favorite for amulets and ornaments. it was also used by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Lapis jewelry was uncovered at excavations of the Predynastic Egyptian site Naqada (3300–3100 BC), and powdered lapis was used by Cleopatra as eyeshadow.
In ancient times, lapis lazuli was known as sapphire, which is now what the blue corundum variety is called. It was the sapphire of ancient writers because Pliny refers to sapphirus as sprinkled with specks of gold.
The Romans believed that lapis was an aphrodisiac. In the Middle Ages, lapis was used to keep the limbs healthy, as it was believed to have medicinal properties. Lapis was ground down, blended with milk and applied to boils and ulcers.