Larimar Gemstone Information
When people think of stones, the larimar gemstone likely isn’t what comes to mind. The thing is, that’s actually quite a shame. The larimar stone is absolutely mesmerizing, having a dreamy, mermaid-like quality that’s hard to find anywhere else.
There’s a reason some of the larimar gem’s nicknames include the “dolphin stone” and the “Atlantis stone.” It has a gentle vibe that’s beautiful, calming, and serene. If you are curious about the larimar stone, here’s what you need to know about the larimar properties, colors, history, and more.
Larimar is a rare form of pectolite, a crystal-type mineral that features delicate, elongated fibers that radiate out from a central point. When the fibers are packed densely, it creates beautiful but, at times, fragile stones, often with prismatic qualities.
Usually, pectolite stones like the larimar gem are found within cavities, essentially filling voids in and around other minerals, like basalt. At times, larimar may form as a geode, only to be discovered when the main stone is cracked open to reveal it.
The larimar gemstone actually gets its coloring due to the presence of copper or cobalt. However, the strength of the shade can vary dramatically.
The larimar stone name (and nicknames) gives a lot of clues about the gem’s coloring. After all, “mar” means “sea” in Spanish. It has a light, water-like feel, with many of the colors mimicking tropical waves.
Usually, the base hue for larimar stones is a light, airy or ocean-like blue. It’s also dotted with darker blue segments or mixed with white ribbons. At times, the blue hue can lead green, giving it a tropical waters vibe.
Sometimes, larimar can have sandy-colored streaks instead of pure white. This is usually due to specific inclusions or other minerals present within the stone, leading to a sand and surf look.
Blue larimar tends to be more popular than primarily white versions. They are more likely to show up in jewelry pieces, as it’s the breathtaking coloring that really makes the gem stand out.
The History of Larimar
Larimar was initially found in 1916 in the Barahona Province in the Dominican Republic by Father Miguel Domingo Fuertes Loren. However, it wasn’t actually mined until 1974.
In 1974, Miguel Mendez, a local, and Norman Rilling, a volunteer with the Peace Corps, found a sample on the shoreline, generating increased interest in the stone. In fact, larimar was named after Miguel Mendez’s daughter, Larissa, as well as the Caribbean Sea.
Mainly, larimar is an ornamental or lapidary stone. It isn’t used for industrial purposes, at least not at scale.
Where Is Larimar Found?
Larimar is incredibly rare, both overall and when compared to other forms of pectolite. Generally, the only significant larimar deposits that have been found are in the Dominican Republic, which is where it was initially discovered. More specifically, larimar is predominately mined in the Barahonas province in one of the region’s more mountainous areas.
However, some other small larimar mines do exist. There are a couple in Canada and the United States. However, they don’t produce nearly the same amount of stone as the Dominican Republic mines do.
Larimar stone jewelry isn’t something you’ll spot in chain jewelry stores. Instead, it’s more commonly used by smaller designers and independent artists. However, you can find a larimar bracelet, larimar necklace, larimar earrings, and other kinds of pieces with relative ease.
Generally speaking, larimar jewelry features cabochons or freeform polished stones. While you may find faceted larimar, this approach isn’t as popular. Larimar can be a bit fragile, so it doesn’t always lend itself well to cutting.
Larimar beads are another popular option. They are often used to create strand necklaces, strand bracelets, and even earrings. Wire-wrapped pieces are also widely used, particularly for freeform polished larimar gems.
As for supporting metals, nearly any color works well with larimar. When paired with silver, the jewelry piece maintains a light, airy quality. When matched with gold, copper, or antiqued metals like bronze or brass, there’s a dramatic contrast, creating visual interest.
The larimar stone meaning does vary depending on a person’s belief system. For some, larimar stones are incredibly calming, partially because the coloring mimics a tranquil sea or bright sky. Others believe that larimar represents balance and harmony, representing both the yin and yang energies. It is also associated with emotional bonding.
Larimar may be connected to the throat chakra, as well, which is characteristically represented by blue. This could also explain why certain groups think larimar promotes good communication and supports a person’s ability to speak from the heart, even when it takes great courage or strength. However, larimar isn’t a traditional chakra stone.
Now, some belief systems do think that larimar healing properties exist. However, it’s important to remember that gems are not substitutes for genuine medical care from a professional. There isn’t any scientific evidence that holding, wearing, or meditating on a stone provides any physical benefit.
However, there generally isn’t any harm in possessing larimar. If holding, wearing, or meditating on larimar improves your mood, doing so isn’t likely to introduce any meaningful risk. Just be aware that medical conditions usually require care from a trained, licensed medical professional, so don’t use larimar in lieu of seeing a physician.
Stones Similar to Larimar
If you’re looking for stones similar to the larimar gem, you do have a few options. Larimar is often used as a turquoise substitute, so turquoise could also stand-in for larimar.
Some pieces of moonstone may resemble larimar gems that are predominately white or very light blue. Similarly, certain opals – particularly common opals – might also compare to lighter versions of larimar.
At times, blue chalcedony may work as a substitute. The same goes for blue jadeite, hemimorphite, and smithsonite. However, blue jadeite, hemimorphite, and smithsonite are incredibly rare, so they may not be cost-effective alternatives.
It’s also important to note that fake larimar does make its way into the market. Some of these are purely synthetic, while others may be stones that are dyed to look like larimar. These can be low-cost alternatives, though they often don’t measure up to the genuine article.