Amber, a fossil resin, is one of the few substances aside from diamond, pearl and ivory that is considered a gem but is not a mineral. It was formed when sap emitted from trees dried up and hardened. The sap could have come out of the tree bark in a single drip, a large amount could have flowed out at one time or it could have come out several drips, one after another. The later method of multiple drops is known as shlaubs and generally has more fossil inclusions because the initial drops would catch the insects or animals and the subsequent drops would naturally cover them.
Dominican amber is amber from the Dominican Republic. Resin from the extinct species Hymenaea protera is the source of Dominican amber and probably of most amber found in the tropics. Dominican amber differentiates itself from Baltic amber by being nearly always transparent, and it has a higher number of fossil inclusions. This has enabled the detailed reconstruction of the ecosystem of a long-vanished tropical forest. Nowhere in the world can it be found with the variety of colors same density as in the Dominican Republic. Actually, a large percentage of the amber used in commercial jewelry production comes from the Dominican Republic. Due to the year round warm climate, the amber found in the Dominican Republic also has a higher concentration of fossils and insects than anywhere else in the world. This makes it highly sought after by collectors and scientists alike.
Dominican amber can be found in many colors, besides the obvious amber. Yellow and honey colored are fairly common. There is also red and green in smaller quantities and the rare blue amber (fluorescent). The 1993 blockbuster movie Jurassic park by Stephen Spielberg was partially filmed in the Dominican Republic and some of the storyline was inspired in part by a piece of Dominican amber that contained a mosquito. In the movie, scientists used dinosaur blood that was found inside the mosquito to reconstruct and clone dinosaurs.
Larimar is a beautiful blue gemstone that is only found in the Dominican Republic. Its blue color is very similar to that of the tropical beach waters and because of its appearance, it is frequently mistaken for turquoise. Larimar stones are thought to have formed years ago as a result of volcanic eruptions. It is theorized that as magma was forced from beneath the earth’s surface, it mixed with a variety of substances such as aluminum compounds, sodium, calcium and iron. This chemical mixture formed into what is known in geology as a pectolite that is essentially a mineral occurring in radiated or fibrous or crystalline masses. This is the cause for its unusual but beautiful bright blue color. Its coloration varies from white, light-blue, green-blue to deep blue. The name Larimar was given to the stone by a Dominican, Miguel Méndez, who combined his daughter's name Larissa, with Mar, the Spanish word for sea.
Larimar also comes in green and even with red spots, brown strikes etc. due to other matters and / or oxidation. But the more intense the blue, and the contrasts in the stone, the higher and rarer is the quality. The blue color is photosensitive and fades with time if exposed to too much light and heat.
Larimar rates between a 5 and a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness which is a system that measures a substances resistance to being scratched. The darker blue stones rate closer to a 7 with the lighter ones rating closer to a 5. The stones hardness and beautiful color has made it a very popular item for making jewelry. Of course, the larimar is not taken directly from the mine and immediately made into jewelry but has to go through a process. First, the stones taken from the mine must be sorted and it has to be determined which ones are suitable for making jewelry. Next, they have to be classified by size, color, and clarity. Then the stones have to be shaped accordingly and polished before being mounted into the piece of jewelry by a professional.
Because Larimar is indigenous to the Dominican Republic and because of its unusual beauty, there is naturally a lot of Dominican folklore surrounding it. It is often looked upon as a powerful, spiritual stone. It is said to soothe, heal and enlighten. It is supposed to enable one to view things from a different perspective. The stone itself represents peace, clarity and love and is recommended for people who are stressed. This is all undoubtedly due to its tranquil blue color.