Larimar: Properties and Occurrences

Larimar also called “Stefilia’s Stone”, is a rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. Its coloration varies from white, light-blue, green-blue to deep blue. It is a volcanic stone, the result of volcanic activity that occurred millions of years ago! It was highly prized in ancient times as a stone of great value and power.

General Information

  • Category: Inosilicate mineral
  • Formula: NaCu2Si3O8(OH) or NaCa2Si3O8(OH) (Calcium substitution by Copper produces the Blue Color)
  • Crystal system: Triclinic
  • Crystal class: Pinacoidal (1) (same H-M symbol)
  • Color: Most forms Sky Blue, often with White Veining, also Green with Red inclusions.

Properties

Larimar’s beautiful colors mirror the blue and white shades of the ocean and sky. No two stones are alike; each piece is unique, with its own natural beauty. It is an excellent stone for helping soul mates to find and recognize each other.

  • Crystal habit: Tabular to acicular, radiating fibrous, spheroidal, or columnar; massive
  • Twinning: Twin axis [010] with composition plane [100], common
  • Cleavage: Perfect on {100} and {001}
  • Fracture: Uneven
  • Tenacity: Brittle; tough when compact
  • Mohs scale hardness: 4.5 – 5
  • Luster: Silky, subvitreous
  • Diaphaneity: Translucent to opaque
  • Specific gravity: 2.84 – 2.90
  • Optical properties: Biaxial (+)

Occurrence

It is found only in a limited deposit in the Dominican Republic and is virtually the only gemstone to be found in the entire Caribbean. Its lovely sea-blue color is very reminiscent of the Caribbean seas.

It occurs as aggregates of needle-like crystals, grown together in a solid mass, characterized by dramatic patterns of blue, blue-green and white.

Geology

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.

Jewelry

Larimar jewelry is offered to the public in the Dominican Republic, and elsewhere in the Caribbean as a local specialty. Most jewelry produced is set in silver, but sometimes high-grade larimar is also set in gold.

Quality grading is according to coloration and the typical mineral crystal configuration in the stone. The blue color is photosensitive and fades with time if exposed to too much light and heat.

Uses

It helps relieve high blood pressure and stress-related illnesses. It is an excellent stone to use during colds and flu to help regulate mucus production, sore throat, and fever.

 

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