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The Gemstone Larimar

Larimar is a blue variety of the mineral Pectolite. Pectolite is not a rare mineral and is found throughout the world, but the exquisite sea-blue color exhibited in the Larimar variety is very unique, and only comes from one place in the world. It is found only in a limited deposit in the Dominican Republic, and is virtually the only gemstone to be found in the entire Caribbean. Its lovely sea-blue color is very reminiscent of the Caribbean seas.
Chemical Formula NaCa2Si3O8(OH)
Color Blue, Green, Multicolored
Hardness 4.5 - 5
Crystal System Triclinic
Refractive Index 1.59 - 1.65
SG 2.7 - 2.9
Transparency Translucent to opaque
Double Refraction 0.038
Luster Silky
Cleavage 2,2
Mineral Class Pectolite


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.

Larimar is mainly used as cabochon and beads, and can be used for rings, earrings, bracelets, and pendants.

Larimar gemstones are not treated and enhanced. Some forms of inexpensive white gemstones are sometimes dyed blue to resemble Larimar.

The only source of Larimar is in the Dominican Republic at the Filipinas Mine in Los Checheses.

Larimar has a very distinct color pattern that is hard to confuse with other gemstones.

Larimar PHOTOS [Click photos for more details]

Larimar IN THE ROUGH PHOTOS [Click photos for more details]

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