Sunday, January 22, 2012

LARIMAR - Jewelry of the Caribbean ! is blue, and a very pretty blue at that. It is more durable and longer wearing than many of the other non-faceted gemstone or mineral on the market. It makes up into beautiful beads and great pendants. Sometimes called Pectolite, Larimar (many times misspelled: Lorimar) is a rare blue variety of the mineral Pectolite, and is found only in the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. Although Pectolite is found in many locations worldwide, none have the unique volcanic blue coloration of Larimar. This blue color, distinct from that of other Pectolites, is the result of cobalt substitution for calcium. Its coloration varies from white, light-blue, green-blue to deep blue. This stone is cut into cabochons and carved into shapes for setting to a variety of jewelry items throughout the Caribbean islands. Its a must buy if you are planning a cruise any time soon.

The most important outcropping of Larimar is located at Los Chupaderos, in the section of Los Checheses, about 10 kilometers southwest of the city of Barahona, 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.

Quality grading is according to coloration and the typical mineral crystal configuration in the stone. Larimar can also be found with green and even some with red spots and brown stripes, due to other chemicals 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. So when wearing Larimar Jewelry, one must be careful to keep it away from intense sunlight so as not to ruin that very expensive piece of Nature you just bought.


However, be careful and do not let anyone sell you the cheaper but also very beautiful blue, many times called Caribbean Blue or Paraiba Blue, Chalcedony, which looks very much like very high quality Larimar. At recent shows, slabs of true rich Larimar a few inches in each direction and 1/4 inch thick can be seen going for $100 or better.