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Larimar specimen

The original birthstones for March are aquamarine and bloodstone, but we want to tell you about another blue gemstone discovered in XX century, it's called larimar. Larimar, also called "Stefilia's Stone", is a rare blue variety of mineral pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. Although pectolite is found in many locations, none have the unique volcanic blue to deep blue coloration of larimar. This blue color, distinct from that of other pectolites, is the result of copper substitution for calcium.

The Dominican Republic's Ministry of Mining records that on 23 November 1916 Father Miguel Domingo Fuertes Loren of the Barahona Parish requested permission to explore and exploit the mine of a certain blue rock he had discovered. Pectolites were not yet known in the Dominican Republic and the request was rejected.

Larimar pendant in silver
click to enlarge

In 1974, at the foot of the Bahoruco Range, the coastal province of Barahona, Miguel Mendez and Peace Corps volunteer Norman Rilling rediscover larimar on a beach. Natives, who believed the stone came from the sea, called the gem Blue Stone. Miguel took his young daughter's name Larissa and the Spanish word for sea (MAR) and formed Larimar, by the colors of the water of the Caribbean Sea, where it was found.

The most important outcrop of blue pectolite is located at Los Chupaderos in the south-western region of the Dominican Republic. It is a single mountainside now perforated with approximately 2,000 vertical shafts, surrounded by rainforest vegetation and deposits of blue-colored mine tailings.

Larimar jewelry is offered to the public in the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere in the Caribbean as a local specialty. Most jewelry produced is set in silver, but sometimes high-grade larimar is also set in gold. Quality grading is according to coloration and the typical mineral crystal configuration in the stone. Larimar also comes in green and even with red spots, brown strikes etc. due to other matters. But the more intense the blue and the contrasts in the stone, the higher and rarer is the quality.

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