Larimar: The Dominican Gem

Larimar is a beautiful sky-blue gemstone that is exclusively found in the Dominican Republic.

It makes for a gorgeous gift to take back to loved ones at home, or keep it for yourself as a unique souvenir of your Dominican adventure.

Larimar, also known as ‘Stefilia’s stone’, is a blue gemstone variety of pectolite, a silicate mineral. Pectolite means ‘compacted stone’ in Greek and is usually a white-gray colour. It is the copper atoms in the crystalline structure that give larimar its recognisable blue colour.

While most commonly found in this soft, sky-blue colour, larimar can also be pale white-blue, green-blue and even deep blue.

The stone can also contain colour variations like red spots or brown streaks, due to oxidation or the presence of other minerals.

The bright blue colour can fade over time, so store your treasure safely out of direct sunlight.

When was larimar first discovered?

It’s uncertain exactly when larimar was discovered on the island. National mining records show a request to explore a mine of blue rock in 1916, but permission was denied. Natives are said to have referred to it as ‘blue rock’.

Decades later, in 1974, Miguel Mendez and Peace Corps volunteer Norman Rilling found the blue rock again, on the coast of Barahona. They named it larimar by combining the name of Miguel’s daughter Larissa with the Spanish for sea, ‘mar’.

The Los Chupaderos mine was set up soon after, on the southwesterly side of the island. The mountainside is now covered with about 2,000 vertical mining shafts; the surface littered with the blue rock deposits.

An Energetic Gemstone

Crystal spiritualists say that larimar holds tranquil sea and sky energy. It is believed to have balancing powers because of its connection to the elements of water, earth and fire.

Larimar was forged by volcanic activity but its colour dances with the ease of the Caribbean sea. Apparently, this gives it the power to calm fiery tempers and soothe a worrying mind.

Many Dominicans use it as a lucky charm, and find comfort in its harmonious, feminine energy. It is also associated with the dolphin, and the animal’s playful wisdom.

The gem is usually set in silver, though high quality larimar is sometimes set in gold.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Dominican local gemstone, you could pay a visit to the Larimar Museum in Santo Domingo.

In Cabarete, you can pop into a larimar jewellery store and see many varieties of the gem. The staff at Yocahu in Cabarete town centre will be happy to talk to you about the stone.

Who knows, maybe the soothing larimar will inspire some peaceful rest in your active Caribbean vacation!

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