|Polished Larimar. Photo: Lovingthyselfrocks/Instagram|
Larimar is a rare precious gemstone found exclusively in the Caribbean, on the island of Hispaniola. It is only found in a dormant, volcanic mountain range in the Baoruco Mountain of the Dominican Republic.
Larimar, also called "Stefilia's Stone", is a rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. Its coloration varies from white, light-blue, green-blue to deep blue.
Pectolite is usually a soft and very delicate mineral composed of dense radiating fibers, but sometimes the fibers are tough and interlocking and make it very solid. The Larimar variety is of the tough type hence its ability to withstand carving and faceting.
There is a legend that Larimar was originally discovered in 1916 and its locality subsequently forgotten. In 1974, Norman Rilling, a visiting member of the US Peace Corps, found the locality together with Miguel Méndez, a Dominican native. Together they named this stone "Larimar", which is a combination of "Larrisa" (Méndez's daughter's name) and "mar" (sea in Spanish). Due to its scarcity and limited source, Larimar is difficult to obtain outside of the Caribbean.
The color of Larimar is caused by copper inclusions. Its color is rarely solid; it is almost always blue with interconnecting white lines and rough circles. A radiating pattern of crystal needles can often be observed within the Larimar. The blue color can vary in intensity from very light to greenish-blue to deep sky blue. Deeper blue colors and less white are more desirable.
Although Larimar has a very attractive color, it is a soft gemstone and is easily scratched. Its color may also fade upon prolonged exposure to strong sunlight. This, combined with its scarcity, limit its popularity as a mainstream gemstone.
|Cut Larimar (var. pectolite) From The Dominican Republic|