That‘s why this winter, I found myself once again drawn to Barahona on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola, the only place in the world where Larimar is found — a gemstone that captures the ocean‘s wealth of colors like no other.
On the beaches in the south of the island, far away from crowded tourist hotspots, the most beautiful stones can be discovered, including traces of the Blue Jewel.
However, only the finds from the mine in the mountains of Bahoruco are suitable for jewelry. A winding, partially unpaved road runs from the coast about 10 kilometers (6 miles) inland to its entrance at 800 meters (2600 feet) above sea level.
The mining of Larimar is extremely complex. Excavation takes place underground in very narrow shafts that can be up to 300 meters (980 feet) long and so low deeper in the mountain that they can only be entered in a stooped position. Work is carried out at various levels along the gemstone-rich rock layers, laboriously by hand and using only hammers, chisels and shovels as tools to extract chunks from the bedrock.
At first, the miners can‘t tell whether these chunks contain any truly valuable crystals, because the rough stones are covered by an opaque, grayish-brown layer of rock that doesn‘t give any insights into what might be within. Only by sawing them open do the color and purity of the gemstone reveal themselves.
The shades of Larimar range from deepest blue to hues of turquoise to intense greens and even browns. They are reminiscent of sunlit waves, turbulent sea spray, or tranquil waters, with beige-colored sand or coral reefs as the background.
Most coveted are intense sea-blue colors, crisscrossed with so-called „riñóns“, a mesmerizing maze of fine white lines that seem to dance on the stones like the sunlight reflecting on a surface of water rippled by waves.
Larimar, a blue pectolite, is particularly challenging to cut because it has different degrees of hardness that change along its various color zonations. As a result, cracks form easily.
Only a small number of gem cutters possess the knowledge and experience to slowly shape this delicate material in elaborate processes. Cutting gemstones is like sculpting in art. It requires three-dimensional thinking, sculptural, and thus very precise work. What has been cut away once is irretrievably lost. The local lapidaries are trained by experienced teachers in the government‘s Jewelry & Lapidary School in Bahoruco.
This winter I acquired Larimar right at the source and spent weeks collaborating with the family business of the best local lapidary to bring my designs to life. Refined with a goldsmith‘s expertise and our own native technologies unparalleled works of art are thus created in Germany, which hardly anyone can replicate in this quality.
The fruit of this commitment and enthusiasm are pieces of jewelry that conjure up the sea, the sun and thus a piece of heaven on earth from the Caribbean. With its spectrum of colors, this unique mineral is an ideal accompaniment to radiant summer days as well as to the mystical atmosphere of an overcast evening, and has been forged by nature to create works of art intended for eternity.
Water is the source of all life and our blue planet‘s main component, which is why surging waves and splashing, sparkling droplets of water, as well as elegant yachts, bulging sails and surfboards to ride those waves are all evident in my jewelry.
Shown here are frequently just the pure cut stones, which have not yet been made into jewelry. The combinations can be changed or other gemstones added to them, of course.
Let your imagination soar!