Published On: 11-23-2014 10:47pm

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Category: Gemstones

Larimar is a type of pectolite, or a rock composed largely of pectolite, an acid silicate hydrate of calcium and sodium. Although pectolite is found in many locations, nowhere else does it have the unique blue coloration of Larimar.  The blue color is the result of cobalt substitution for calcium.  It only occurs in one square kilometer of a remote mountainous region in the Dominican Republic.  Making it one of the rares gems in the world.

It is among the newest gemstones to have been discovered and catalogued in geological literature.  Norman Rilling, a US member of the Peace Corps, and Miguel Mendez, a Dominican, officially discovered the blue pectolite gemstone in 1974.  The word Larimar was created by Mendez, who combined his daughter’s name Larissa with the Spanish world for sea, Mar.

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 and / or oxidation. But the more intense the blue, and the contrasts in the stone, the higher and rarer is the quality. The blue color is photosensitive and fades with time if exposed to too much light and heat. White colored Larimar is considered to be low in quality while intense blue (volcanic blue) is of the highest quality.  Larimar also comes with greenish coloration, which is not well regarded by some unless it is an intense green.  Larimar is used most often to make jewelry but has also been used to make beads, decorative objects and even handles on cabinets.

Larimar formed when hot gases push crystallized minerals up though volcanic ‘tubes’. In order to mine and excavate the stone miners must identify these tubes and dig deeper and deeper into old volcanoes.  Cutting Larimar is also very costly.  There is a tremendous loss of material when specific shapes are created.  Therefore, a precisely cut bead or a perfectly shaped cabochon or pendant is more expensive than a freeform one.

Most small blocks of Larimar are in situ, meaning they exist in the very place where they formed. However through soil erosion some pieces broke off and were moved by rainfall down the slopes of the hillsides to rivers. The river deposited them in the Caribbean Sea, some pieces washed up on the seashore by waves.

Larimar is considered a healing stone, and said to be finely tuned to the human body particularly to the throat area. It is said that it increases speech and communication skills and supports the body’s natural healing process.  Persons believing in this have been known to wear Larimar jewelry or to put pieces of Larimar in their pockets or under their pillows. Today, there are thousands of people, naturalists and persons practicing alternative and holistic healing methods, who use Larimar to assist and reinforce healing processes.

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