Larimar and Amber, Gems of the Dominican Republic


Larimar and amber are some of the most popular raw materials for handcrafted jewelry in the Dominican Republic. Would you like to learn more about these Dominican gemstones?
Amber isn’t considered to be a mineral as such, as it’s fossilized tree resin, and for this reason it’s not unusual to find plant debris or insects on the inside preserved for posterity; this is one of its main characteristics, along with the gold and orange coloration that has made Dominican amber famous and undoubtedly one of the most popular and sought-after souvenirs.

Although amber has been found in many places, large quantities have only been found in twenty deposits around the world—mainly in Eastern Europe (the Baltic region), Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

It’s not surprising, then, that there is a Museum located in the Colonial City of Santo Domingo dedicated to amber. Located in a magnificent old house in the colonial center, it features a façade which follows the architectural criteria and spirit of the 17th century, thereby increasing its tourist appeal.

Dominican amber: a gem of the past

Unlike amber, larimar is native and exclusive to the Dominican Republic. Its color is predominantly blue and tinged with green hues, lending it an attractive turquoise color. This stone is found in the southeastern region of the country, near the city of Barahona.

It’s surprising to learn that it was only discovered recently, and its popularity has been growing day by day. Its color and hardness is similar to that of turquoise, making it perfect for jewelry making.

It was named after the daughter of Miguel Domingo Fuertes Loren, a pioneer in working with this precious stone. His daughter’s name, Larisa, was added to the Spanish word “mar” (“sea”) due to the similarity of the stone’s colors to the beautiful colors of the Caribbean Sea. Like amber, larimar has its own museum: Larimar Museum, Barahona.

Which of these Dominican treasures would you prefer to have? Fossilized amber, full of surprises? Or the beautiful volcanic blue coloration of larimar?

Arantxa Márquez

Curiosities  Dominican Republic  Samana