The Dominican Republic is well known for its extremely beautiful, rich and diverse nature. Many plants, animals and minerals found here are unique. Among these rare phenomena is Dominican Larimar, the native stone and a main symbol of the country.
This semi-precious stone of volcanic origin is mined in the depths of mountains located in the south-west of the island and in the Sierra de Bahoruco.
One of the first discoveries of Dominican Larimar was made by a Spanish priest in the early twentieth century in the southwestern province of Barahona.
However, news of this discovery did not become widely known. Only decades later, in 1974, Larimar was again discovered by a local jeweler.
That lucky man was Miguel Mendes. On that day, as usual, he was walking in the mountains in search of material for his jewelry work when he suddenly came across a blue stone of great beauty. He was very surprised because before then, he had never seen anything like it.
First, Miguel assumed that it was turquoise. But later, when he returned to his studio and started processing the stone, he realized that he was dealing with something completely new. It was a much harder stone than turquoise and, on closer examination, found the surface to be different.
He then sought help from American colleagues and sent them samples of the Dominican stones. As a result of laboratory tests conducted at the Smithsonian Institute in the United States, it was discovered that this was indeed an entirely new phenomenon, not previously registered.
The stone was given the scientific name "Blue Pectolite". But Miguel came up with a more poetic name for his find - "Larimar".
The name consists of two parts: "Lari" - for his daughter Larissa and "mar" -the Spanish word for sea because Larimar, like the Caribbean, attracts the eye, delighting with its azure tints.
How else is this unique blue stone from the Dominican Republic called? At the jewelers, it may be called such names as Haitian turquoise, Atlantic stone or dolphin stone. Well, in the Dominican Republic itself, it became famous as the stone of love.
There is a tradition in the Dominican Republic that if the boy liked a certain girl, he would give her an engagement ring made of Larimar.
Lonely young ladies dreaming of true love are even recommended to wear jewelry from Larimar because this stone brings to life harmony, prosperity and love. It is Important that it be worn with a pure heart and thoughts and then the full power of its magical properties are revealed.
It is believed that the Dominican Larimar facilitates overall spirituality, a deeper self-knowledge and an increase in confidence. Larimar also contributes to the resolution of all sorts of conflicts and improves relations with loved ones.
In addition, the stone possesses healing properties. Larimar relieves depression, anxiety, stress, and indeed all neurological disorders. It gives peace of mind and optimism returns.
People who have problems with heart, lungs and blood pressure also feel relieved, especially if Larimar is worn on the chest or neck. The Dominican stone is beneficial for people undergoing surgery and neutralizes various inflammatory processes.
With regard to astrology, Larimar is best suited to air and water signs, especially Aquarius.
Dominican Larimar is often used as a talisman as well as for special concentration during meditation. Surely, these are not all the properties of the miracle Larima as it has only recently been revealed to the world and there has not been enough study. In any case, we can safely say that Larimar has an extremely beneficial effect on its owner.
Due to its exclusivity to Dominican Larimar, the stone is not inexpensive. However, in the Dominican Republic, you can find Larimar products for every taste and budget.
Here’s what affects the price of Larimar jewelry:
1. Saturation and color depth. The most striking, expressive stones are often framed in gold. Such properties are also called "volcanic blue". But in Silver, Larimar appears very organic, especially lighter, sky blue stones.
2. The size of the stone. Sometimes you can find not only ornaments of Larimar but even figurines. Figurines are made of the largest fragments. Well, of course, a massive Larimar necklace or bracelet will cost an order of magnitude higher than elegant Larimar earrings.
3. The quality and complexity of the work of the jeweler. In the Dominican Republic can be found modest decorations as well as unique design creations - real works of art!
Another factor influencing the cost of Larimar jewelry is where they are sold.
The cheapest option is to visit those selling at the beach. Take a look. See if there is anything you like. Prices start at $ 10 and are generally more than fair. However, when buying something from these fellows, there is a risk of running into a fake and the quality of product leave much to be desired.
Here you can find different manufacturers and different prices. The average order price is around 25-100 dollars. But often in hotels, there is the large overhead expense of fairly high rents.
A great choice. No tourist resort overhead expenses. Probably one of the best places for such shopping where you are sure to find something you’ll like.
In the historic center of the city, especially in the Columbus square area, you will find a rich selection of products with Larimar in the usual tourist shops and the famous jewelry stores.
The most famous - Laura Tosato and Harrison's, will delight lovers of exclusivity and are willing to spend on it. Prices run from 50-80 dollars and up.
Laura Tosato - Dominican jeweler, her stores are easily recognizable by the image a dragonfly - the main motif of Laura’s creativity.
Harrisons - American company that creates beautiful jewelry from Larimar and has long gained fame as a reliable manufacturer.
You can find them for example in the famous city of artists - Altos de chavon which is visited by most excursions to Saona. It was not for nothing that the city received such a creative name because there live real experts in their field who can complete the most fanciful and difficult orders. However, the customer will have to leave at least $100 deposit for the work and material.
There is also this caveat: the manufacture of products will take time, sometimes one, two or three weeks. So, if you can’t wait around, you can buy a stone that appeals to you and give it to a domestic workshop back home.
Read more: The top tour in the Dominican Republic
With the growing popularity of the unique stone however comes a growing number of counterfeits. Typically, they are produced in China of ceramic or plastic although there are of course local "artisans". In order not to fall for one of these imitation scams, you need a good idea of what natural Larimar looks like.
Thus, the color of the stone usually ranges from light, sky-blue tones to bright, deep blue. Each sample contains light streaks, most resembling a beam of sunlight on seawater. Each pattern is unique and can never be duplicated because was created by nature itself.
• The name of the stone. If it is in quotes - it is likely a fake.
• Be sure to check the country of origin. If it is not the Dominican Republic, you may want to think a bit because the stone is exported only in very limited quantities.
• Drawing. It should not repeat itself and be too precise. Also, the color is usually not uniform and has different intensity and depth.
• Price. Dominican Larimar is mined by hand in the mountains. Refinement is also a difficult process so a decoration into which so much effort was invested would hardly be sold for pennies.
In any case, when choosing Dominican Larimar, listen to your intuition and, of course, to your heart. It is then that you will find your stone of love.