In 1974 Miguel Mendez, a Dominican artisan, heard reports of unusual blue stones being found along the southern coast of the Dominican Republic.  Out of curiosity he took the long trip south from Santo Domingo along with an American Peace Corps volunteer geologist, Norman Rilling. Local fishermen had been finding the blue stones along the beach and had assumed that it came from the sea.  Miguel and Norman explored the area more thoroughly and deduced that the stones had actually been carried down the mountain by the Sito river that empties into Caribbean sea at the town of Bahoruco.  They told the locals that the source was somewhere upstream, not along the beach, and sure enough, the mine was discovered about 10km up in the rugged mountains that line the coast.  Miguel named the mineral Larimar, which is a combination of his daughter’s name, Larissa, and the Spanish word, “mar,” meaning ocean.

The Gemological Institute of America has identified Larimar as a blue pectolite found nowhere else in the world.  The color of the stones ranges from light blue with touches of aquamarine to strong, deep, electric blues. Natural white veined patterns make each piece unique.  While pectolite is found in other places throughout the world, unique volcanic circumstances on the island created the exquisite blues exhibited in the Larimar variety, which is very unique, with only one known mine in the world. Its lovely color is very reminiscent of the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea .

Miners use primitive mining methods, mostly picks and shovels and more recently pneumatic hammers to extract the deposits of this unique gemstone.  By the 1980’s the Dominican government assigned the mining rights for Larimar to the local community of Bahoruco, La Cienaga, and Los Checheses ensuring that only local residents can establish a mining claim.  Outside investors, whether Dominican or foreign, must be accepted as partners by the local claim holders in order to be involved, which results in a much wider distribution of profits throughout the local community.

In addition to being beautiful, Larimar is considered to have important metaphysical properties.  The website Crystal Meanings describes the stone,” The blue color of larimar reflects the “sea” of all consciousness, which gives freedom from self-imposed limitations and a sense of peace in finding truth. Larimar has excellent energy for working with sea creatures of all kinds. It is particularly good for communication with dolphins. It has some ability to enhance communication in general, with other animals, as well as people. It can be used for dimensional and cellular work, and stimulates the heart and higher chakras. Being open to answers from the sea of consciousness gives a sense of serenity, love and peace. Larimar is good for calming excess energies and it balances energies. It is also used in crystal healing and folklore for healing maladies of the throat and upper respiratory system, schizophrenia. In addition, it can help one maintain one’s personal energy and independence in a calm, collected fashion.  Larimar is associated primarily with the throat chakra and the Water element.  

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Larimar is a type of pectolite or a rock composed largely of pectolite, an acid silicate hydrate of calcium and sodium. Pectolite is found in many locations, but larimar has a unique volcanic blue coloration, which is the result of copper substitution for calcium.

Miocene volcanic rocks, andesites and basalts, erupted within the limestones of the south coast of the island. These rocks contained cavities or vugs which were later filled with a variety of minerals, including the blue pectolite. These pectolite cavity fillings are a secondary occurrence within the volcanic flows, dikes, and plugs. When these rocks erode, the pectolite fillings are carried down the slope to end up in the alluvium and the beach gravels. The Bahoruco River carried the pectolite-bearing sediments to the sea. The tumbling action along the streambed provided the natural polishing to the blue larimar, which makes them stand out in contrast to the dark gravels of the streambed.