Larimar is a relative newcomer to the jewellery world. It was first brought to the attention of the powers that be in the Dominican Republic on November 21, 1916 that it may have some economic significance. The powers that be declined. Then, in 1974, Larimar was rediscovered on a beach by Peace Corp workers and some natives who were accompanying them. This time, one of the natives, Miguel Mendez took some home and named it after his daughter Larissa and the sea (mar) hence “Lari – mar”. Previously, the locals had called it “blue stone” and thought it came from the sea as it was found in the alluvial sediment at the beach. Further searching led to the real source up in the ranges farther inland and the Los Chupaderos mine was formed to bring the material to market.
Larimar is composed primarily from an Acid Silicate Hydrate of Calcium and Sodium with Manganese, or Pectolite. Pectolite is relatively common, but this deposit is unique because it has traces of Copper occurring as a substitution for some of the Calcium. This substitution is what gives it this material the distinctive Volcanic Bluish tints, found only in the Dominican Republic. Erosion of the highlands released the Larimar to be washed downstream by the Bahoruco River to the stream beds and beaches.
Larimar is soft and easily worked. It is photosensitive and will fade if exposed to bright light over an extended period of time. It is also reactive to acids and will begin to dissolve in vinegar or citric juices. Care should be taken by preventing it from striking anything too hard, or it will fracture.
Larimar has recently become a Nationalized item and the raw material is restricted for export to government authorized entities. Collecting small amounts by enthusiasts is still allowed but not on a commercial scale.
This gem is not generally expensive and is usually set in Sterling. But, as with all things, there are exceptions. Very solid, clear Blue pieces without any trace of Green, White, Red, or Brown at all are rare and therefore much pricier. These chosen few pieces are usually set in Gold and accented with Diamonds or other faceted gems.
We have finished Larimar in stock in both Sterling and Gold. We have some raw material as well and we can custom cut it, in house, to your specifications. Please feel free to bring in pictures or drawings to give us an idea of what you would like. If you don’t have any definite ideas, we can show you hundreds of our samples for you to mix and match from. Or we can design something unique just for you.