Beyond Diamonds: Discover the Hidden Gems of Latin America and the Caribbean

larimar.untitledHilda Thomas writes about the striking gems found in Latin America and the Caribbean, including a rare blue pectolite (Larimar) from the Dominican Republic, the Amazonite, Alexandrite, and Chrysoberyl from Brazil, and the Trapiche Emerald from Colombia. I have included only the section on the Dominican Larimar; see link below for full article:

Forget emeralds, rubies and sapphires. According to the song, diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but if you really want to impress, how about the beautiful blue of Larimar, said to have healing properties and often called the Atlantis Stone? Found only in a one square kilometer area of a remote mountainous region in the Dominican Republic, Larimar is one of the rarest gems in the world, but it is not the only rare gem to hail from the Caribbean and Latin America. [. . .]


As mentioned above, Larimar is a rare blue pectolite which was first discovered in 1916 and can only be found close to the Bahoruco region in the Dominican Republic. It has an extraordinary blue colour similar to the color of tropical seas.

According to Dr Robert Woodruff, an entomologist and lapidary hobbyist, the gem is rumored to “have been found by a Peace Corps volunteer named Norman Rilling in 1974. The history of the stone takes many turns. It was originally named Travelina by Miguel Mendez of Santo Domingo. This name, however, soon gave way to the current Larimar, coined by combining the first of Mendez’s daughter’s name, Larissa, with “mar,” the Spanish for sea, whose color the stone resembles.” Earlier accounts tell of an initial discovery in 1916, by a priest of the Barahona Parish.

Larimar is called both the Atlantis Stone and the Dolphin Stone. Edgar Cayce, a psychic known as the ‘Sleeping Prophet’, foretold that part of Atlantis would be discovered in the Caribbean in the 1960s and that a blue stone with healing properties would be discovered. Many believe that Larimar is that blue stone, hence the name. It was also called the Dolphin Stone because of the association of dolphins to Atlantis. There is even a Museum of Larimar in Santo Domingo.

As a result of its link to Atlantis, many believe that the gems have healing properties and can connect the wearer to the lost knowledge of Atlantis.

Quality grading of Larimar is according to color; white is low quality and volcanic blue is the highest quality, according to GemSelect. The rarest Larimar gemstone is volcanic blue which is rated AAA and has a distinctive pattern deep in the heart of the gem. Larimar is not only graded according to color but also according to luster, luminosity, clarity, translucence, and chatoyance. Larimar is a relatively soft stone, measuring 4 to 4.5 on the Mohs’ scale, which measures the hardness of a mineral, so great care has to be taken when wearing it. [. . .]

For full article, see

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