What is Larimar?
Larimar is a rare blue variety of Pectolite and is found only in the Dominican Republic. Known also as Stefilia’s Stone, Larimar’s color spectrum ranges from white, through light blue and green blue, to a deep, dark blue.
Pectolite is a combination of calcium and sodium. What makes Larimar unique, and gives it the unique coloration, is the presence of copper in lieu of the calcium. The most prized larimar comes a single mountain called Los Chupaderos, located about 6 miles from Barahona.
History of Larimar
It is believed that Larimar was first discovered in 1916 by a priest in Barahona, Dominican Republic. The priest requested a permit to mine a blue rock he had discovered. Apparently blue rocks had no value in 1916 as the permit was rejected and Larimar would have to wait almost 60 more years to be re-discovered.
In 1974 Miguel Mendez & Norman Riling found Larimar on a beach in Barahona. It was called blue stone by locals who said it came from the sea. Mendez combined his daughter’s name, Larissa, and the Spanish word for sea, mar, and named the stone Larimar. However the source of Larimar turned out not to be the sea, but the mountains. Larimar was present in rocks that eroded and fell into the river. The tumbling action of being carried by the river until dumped in the sea helped polish the larimar and made finding it on the beach much easier.
Larimar is typically set in silver, but it can also be set in gold. Larimar is graded based on color and purity. The most valuable Larimar is a stone with a deep intense volcanic blue color and little to no visible spots of “lesser” colors. Lesser colors are considered impurities of the main color and detract from a stone’s value.
Larimar is graded according purity and the following coloration standards:
Volcano Blue - Less than 1% of all Larimar is grade AAA1, volcanic blue. It is extremely rare and valuable when in its purest form.
Extreme Blue - Very rare AAA2 grade. Roughly 5% of Larimar makes the extreme blue coloration.
Sky Blue - AAA(or AAA1) is the preferred grade used in the Larimar jewelry industry. Sky blue Larimar is still difficult to find, but it is the color and grade most likely to be found in jewelry shops and in the collections of Larimar fans.
Blue - Blue Larimar can be seen in grades AA(the official designation) or AAA(normally used by Chinese and Japanese markets). Blue is the most commonly sold Larimar jewelry color. Blue Larimar is set aside for large, powerful buyers with preset contracts.
Light Blue - With an A grade, Light blue is the very bottom of the blue Larimar grades. It is the most common color found, and is the type of Larimar you would find in the local gift shops.
White - Grade B white Larimar is very common and often found in the Larimar core. It has little to no value in the jewelry industry. White Larimar or Perlite has value when it is translucent or transparent, not opaque.
Green - Garde G Larimar is Larimar in the green spectrum. While not particularly sought after in its common light green to gray form, green Larimar that is an intense green mixed with blues can be quite valuable.
Red - Larimar graded R has a higher concentration of copper. Due to its inconsistent and pale color, common red Larimar is not typically prized by collectors. However, the rare bright red Larimar has a much higher premium and has its share of admirers.Black - Black Larimar is petrified palm. The Locals call it “carbon” and it has only a curiosity value.