I went to Quartzsite, AZ late one January on a whim hoping to shop the gem dealers before they made their way to Tucson, AZ for the annual explosion of gem shows that happen for two weeks each year. Since I was going a week before 'Tucson', I thought I'd catch the dealers, but I was wrong. Most of the dealers were gone and those that remained in Quartzsite apparently close business early in the day. However, I did see one RV parked in a dusty lot with canvas awnings still up and people milling about, so off I trudged through the dust. There under a dirty blue plastic tarp, on a sagging wood table was a huge mound of Lapis Lazuli tailings. The lapis was the most marvelous color and I greedily eyed the size of the pile. I wish I could say I came away with pockets full, but... this experience taught me that location and amount of material doesn't always mean inexpensive.
I cut and polished the few pieces I could afford, er... selected and they are beautiful. This lapis cabochon is the highlight of the bracelet and doubles as the clasp. A one of a kind piece.