Larimar

The beautiful, baby-blue Larimar is a very rare pectolite that can only be found in the rather inaccessible mountainous region in Hispaniola Island, Barahona, Dominican Republic. Larimar is also known as Dolphin Stone, Atlantis Stone or Caribbean Gemstone (due to the ocean blue waves at the beach  where it was found). It was Norman Rilling, a member of the United States Peace Corps, and Miguel Méndez, a Dominican local, who discovered larimar on the seashore in 1974. Larimar is a term created by Mendez, who combined the Spanish word for sea, Mar, with his daughter’s name Larissa. However, the local residents and their Taino ancestors had known about the stone for many centuries.

Formation

Larimar was created during volcanic activity, when hot gases forced crystallized minerals to rise through volcanic tubes. For Larimar mining, people must identify these tubes and dig very deep into the site of ancient volcanoes, since larimar blocks are usually found on the site where they formed. The stone is still extracted from narrow crevices today by locals, by hand, with very basic tools. 

In the past, soil erosion and rainwater moved parts of the soil with Larimar fragments down the hillsides to rivers. River water deposited some pieces in the Caribbean Sea, which were later washed ashore by the waves. Locals old folklore says that people could find a lot of small pieces on the shores, then one day they were all gone – which is very possibly true.

Properties

This stone has a serene blue color caused by the substitution of cobalt for calcium in its structure. It is a blue pectolite containing cobalt. Some stones can contain small amounts of hematite. It forms as aggregates of tiny rod shaped crystals intergrown in a solid mass, most often in cavities within basaltic lava. The intensity of the color can vary, and the stone has white swirls and bands patterns said to be similar to the Caribbean sea at its place of origin. It is semi-transparent to opaque , with a hardness of 4-5 on Mohs scale. It is a soft stone that doesn’t do well with steamer, ultrasonic leaning, harder materials, heat and various chemicals. It can be cleaned by hand with a diluted soap solution.

Symbolism

Relaxation. Element: Water and Fire

Legends

According to American medium Edgar Cayce (1877 – 1945), a previously unknown blue stone of immense beauty and a powerful healing power was to be found in the Caribbean, where the lost continent of Atlantis was located. Among Cayce’s beliefs, the myth of Atlantis was highly significant. In an uncanny coincidence, Miguel Méndez discovered a brand new stone, the blue Larimar, on a Caribbean beach in 1974.


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