Larimar is a trademarked name for a rare blue, gem-quality variety of the mineral pectolite. Pectolite is normally gray in color and is actually not that rare, occurring in many locations around the world. But blue Larimar is found only in one location in the entire world – the Dominican Republic. Gemologically, blue Larimar is a hydrated sodium calcium silicate with manganese. Its distinct blue color is owed to calcium being replaced by copper impurities. The composition of Larimar is often mixed with other materials such as calcite and hematite. Its color can vary from white to light-blue, and from medium sky to volcanic blue.
The history of Larimar is based on many legends and stories. Although Larimar is commercially a relatively new gemstone, Dominican ancestors have long-prized the Caribbean gem. Stories of its first discovery claim that it was found by Father Miguel Domingo Fuertes Loren in 1916 in the Dominican Republic, but then later forgotten about – up until its more recent ‘rediscovery’ in 1974 by Miguel Méndez, a local Dominican, and Norman Rilling, a visiting US Peace Corps volunteer. Together, they named the stone after Méndez’s daughter ‘Larissa’ by combining the first letters of her name ‘Lari’ with ‘mar’, the Spanish word for ‘sea’. Today, blue Larimar is very popular throughout the Caribbean, but it is extremely rare to find it anywhere else.
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