July 23, 2020

Rarity is a quality of a gemstone that can either add or decrease its value. There is always a desire to collect rare stones, but in some cases, rarity may result in a lesser – known stone that in turn will lower the demand. Welcome, Larimar only found on one place on the planet which is the Dominican Republic.

Coloured and ornamental gemstones have catapulted into centre stage creating a resurgence of the appreciation of this stone in recent years. Although pectolite itself is not a rare mineral the blue variety is, with a limited deposit in the mountainous and relatively inaccessible area in the province of Barahona, Dominican Republic. This blue gem, known by the trade name larimar, has an almost floral pattern of soft oceanic blues reminiscent of the Caribbean Sea where it was first sighted. 

It is originally thought that larimar was found around 1916 by a priest who requested to mine the stones for commercial purposes but his request was denied. It was later discovered in 1974 by Dominican Miguel Mendez and Norman Rilling, a Peace Corp volunteer from the US, who found Larimar as small, weathered pebbles that had washed up on the beach shores. In fact because they had washed up on the beach shores, the natives believed the stone came from the sea, when it really had just been dragged into the ocean by the Bahoruco River. It wasn’t until the late 1970s that an upstream search revealed the original, in-situ outcrops of the mineral and mining began.

Found in cavities and veins of altered basalt from the transport of volcanic gasses and subsequent minerals deposition. Larimar is a sodium calcium silicate mineral and it is believed it owes its blue colour to small amounts of copper. This mineral forms in fibrous, globular masses with individual crystals being scare and very small. A curiosity for gem collectors, stones that display vivid blue and a striking pattern are highly sought after either as polished gemstones, beads or curious objects.

Large amounts of the gemstone entered the American market in 1989 with the height of its popularity in Australia during the early 2000’s. Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at Made In Earth, made a decision over a decade ago to invest in this stone and has never looked back.

“I have worn a larimar pendant for the last 10 years, literally never taking it off. A stone for successful business, it helped me make the decision to invest in a huge parcel of stones many years ago and what a good choice that was.” 

“Although larimar rough is much cheaper, being a soft stone of just 4.5-5 MOHs, there is a lot of wastage. Large stones up to 40mm in size are easy to come by but cabochons with a mostly blue pattern are expensive and difficult to find. In recent years, prices have drastically increased due to limited resources and a thriving popularity.”

Larimar is a very rare gem and as the stardom of larimar continues to rise as supply continues to fall. Rare or abundant, each stone is unique and a finite resource so the ideal time to invest in resource so the ideal time to invest in a gemstone is when you find something you love and adore.

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