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The Dominican Republic is a very special place. A paradise that possesses numerous tropical charms from crystal blue seas to white sandy beaches, but one of it’s most unique and intriguing treasures is Larimar, a semi-precious stone found only in just one mine in the world – right here in the Dominican Republic.
Whether you are a visitor to the country or are lucky enough to live here or even visit regularly, a piece of Larimar jewellery is a beautiful addition to any chic resort look. And while Larimar is easy to recognise as a semi-precious stone from the Dominican Republic… what else do you know about it?
The following article, published originally in TODO Casa de Campo magazine, issue #6 reveals the history of this beautiful stone and a few other interesting insights…
Larimar, a national treasure
In infinitely beautiful shades of blue, she reflects the ever-changing colors of the magnificent Caribbean sea and the vast tropical sky, she is a true Dominican treasure found nowhere else in the world. Incomparable to all other semi-precious stones with an unassuming beauty, this land is privileged to harbour such an exquisite jewel. Larimar, yet another delight unique to the Dominican Republic.
This semi-precious stone is a type of pectolite which is only found in the southwest of the Dominican Republic, specifically in the area between the provinces of Barahona and Bahoruco.
As luck would have it, Dominican Miguel Méndez and Norman Rilling, a Peace Corps volunteer from the US, found Larimar stones in 1974 on a beach along the coast of Barahona. Some would say that this was actually not a discovery, rather a rediscovery, as others have attributed the first discovery to Father Miguel Domingo Fuertes, the Priest of Barahona in 1916, whose request to mine the stone for commercial purposes was at that time rejected by the authorities.
Initially called “Roca Azul” (blue rock), it was believed it came from the sea. However, the Larimar found by Méndez and Rilling on the beach had actually been dragged and left there by the river Bahoruco.
Following their discovery, Méndez and Rilling carried out a search of the area, until they finally found the origin of the mysteriously beautiful blue rock in Los Chupaderos village, about 10km from the town of Barahona. It is here where the only Larimar mine in the entire world is located.
The name Larimar was given by Méndez, a combination of his daughter’s name Larissa and “mar” meaning sea in Spanish after the Caribbean sea where it was first discovered.
Just as the blue of the ocean is often used to symbolize tranquility, many believe that Larimar brings peace and serenity to those who own it.
While typically a distinctive blue color, Larimar has actually been discovered in a variety of different colors; white, light blue, blue-green, dark blue and even with flecks of red which indicates the presence of iron.
This semi-precious stone can be used to make all kinds of accessories like earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets and more. Here in Casa de Campo, you can purchase Larimar in Altos de Chavon at Everett’s Designs, the Amber World Museum and the Jenny Polanco Project – see below for details.
Everett Designs; timeless jewellery in Casa de Campo
Everett Designs jewellery was founded by William and Rosemary Everett in 1979, that’s more than 30 years experience creating jewellery for the Casa de Campo community and visitors. 30 years in which Everett Designs has grown, developed and adapted to ever-changing fashion trends and continues to produce timeless, classical pieces of jewellery, every woman will fall in love with.
Everett Designs is located in Altos de Chavón.
Jenny Polanco Project, Altos de Chavón
The Jenny Polanco Project store in Altos de Chavón is quiet possibly the best place in Casa de Campo (and La Romana) to purchase unique, traditional and handmade arts and crafts. In store you will find hand carved plates and models, genuine Haitian and Dominican paintings, traditional Dominican carnaval masks, wicker bowls and baskets, wooden table decorations and even furniture – all hand made by skilled Dominican, Haitian and Caribbean craftsman.
“Project is an art space designed to support the Caribbean crafts, in order to promote hand made design and workmanship in our countries”
— Jenny Polanco, Dominican designer
Alongside the traditional arts and crafts, Jenny Polanco proudly presents her own fashion designs; tropical white linen dresses and blouses with amber detailing perfect for the warm Caribbean weather, stylish purses and fashionable jewelry.
Jenny Polanco Project
Casa del Rio, Altos de Chavón
Open daily: 9am – 6pm