Larimar is one of Earth’s creations, formed by great pressures, huge temperatures, great shiftings of the Earth’s crust over millions of years. It is found only in the Dominican Republic where it is mined, cut, polished, and fashioned into fine jewelry.
One of the shops off the Parque Colon in Santo Domingo is the Museum of Larimar which is both a museum and retail shop that sells larimar, as well as amber, another Dominican Republic treasure.
This little upstairs museum has English as well as Spanish descriptions in its history of how Larimar is created, how it is mined, and how it is used by it’s devotees. The sales ladies are low pressure and the soft blue and white gemstone is pleasing to my eye. Any of these necklaces would look well around a dainty woman”s neck, dressed for a nice dinner engagement with the person of her choosing.
There are street vendors in the Zona Colonia who have propositioned me to buy their stones. They hold a cigarette lighter with a flame up to their pieces to show their product is real and not plastic. Buying the gem in this museum gives me a written guarantee and certificate of authenticity for not much more money.
What is hard is seeing photos of tunnel rats who dig deep to find the gem. Their faces in the photos of the exhibit are dirty and their implements simple, shovels and pry bars and bamboo sticks.
Most things we covet have tales of hardship behind them.
Shouldn’t these gemstones, millions of years old, wrestled from the Earth, polished and turned into jewelry, be worth more than they are asking in this shop?