Larimar, a rare and beautiful gemstone found only in the Dominican Republic, has gained popularity in recent years for its stunning blue-green hues and unique patterns. As with any valuable gemstone, there are those who try to imitate or counterfeit larimar. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between real and fake larimar, how to identify each, and why it’s important to appreciate the authenticity of this remarkable stone.
What is Larimar?
Larimar, also known as the “blue stone of Atlantis,” is a type of pectolite mineral that is found only in the Dominican Republic. Its blue-green hues and unique patterns are created by the presence of copper, while its white patterns are formed by calcium deposits. Larimar was first discovered in 1916, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that it was named and recognized as a gemstone.
Larimar has gained popularity in recent years, especially in jewelry making. Its beauty and rarity make it a highly sought-after stone, with prices ranging from $10 to $100 per carat.
How to Identify Real Larimar
Identifying real larimar requires a bit of knowledge and experience. Here are some profession tips from wholesale jewelry supplier-wholesalejewelryusa.com to identify real larimar:
Real larimar has a distinctive blue-green color with unique patterns and inclusions. The colors can range from pale blue to deep turquoise, and the patterns can vary from swirls to marbled veins. The inclusions in larimar are natural and can be white or brown.
Density and hardness tests
Larimar has a specific gravity of 2.70 to 2.85, which means it should be denser than most other stones. Its hardness is around 4.5 to 5 on the Mohs scale, which means it should not be easily scratched or chipped.
Response to UV light
Real larimar has a weak fluorescence under long-wave ultraviolet light (UV). The fluorescence appears as a faint white or yellowish color.
Testing with chemicals
Real larimar will not be damaged by household cleaning chemicals or acetone. However, it should not be exposed to hydrochloric acid or other strong acids.
How to Identify Fake Larimar
There are many ways that fake larimar can be created, including glass imitations, plastic imitations, resin imitations, and composite or assembled materials. Here are some ways to identify fake larimar:
Comparison with real larimar
One of the easiest ways to identify fake larimar is to compare it with real larimar. Look for differences in color, patterns, and inclusions. Fake larimar may have a more uniform color, with no natural patterns or inclusions.
Common materials used to imitate larimar
Glass imitations may have air bubbles or scratches, while plastic imitations may have a more uniform color and a lighter weight. Resin imitations may have a cloudy appearance or a strong smell of chemicals. Composite or assembled materials may have visible seams or layers.
Identifying features of synthetic or treated larimar
Synthetic larimar is created in a laboratory and may have a more uniform color and patterns. Treated larimar is real larimar that has been enhanced or treated to improve its color or clarity. Treated larimar may have a more vibrant color or a more uniform appearance.
Types of Fake Larimar
Here are some of the most common types of fake larimar:
Glass imitations are created by melting and shaping glass to resemble larimar. They may have air bubbles or scratches, and they may be lighter than real larimar.
Plastic imitations are created by molding plastic into the shape and color of larimar. They are lightweight and may have a more uniform appearance than real larimar.
Resin imitations are created by mixing resin with dyes and additives to create a larimar-like appearance. They may have a cloudy appearance or a strong smell of chemicals.
Composite or assembled materials
Composite or assembled materials are made by combining different materials to create a larimar-like appearance. They may have visible seams or layers, and they may be less dense than real larimar.
Why You Should Care about Real vs. Fake Larimar
Appreciating the authenticity of real larimar is important for several reasons:
Financial value and investment
Real larimar is a valuable and rare gemstone, and investing in real larimar can be a smart financial decision. However, investing in fake larimar is a waste of money and can lead to disappointment.
Buying fake larimar supports the counterfeit industry and may contribute to unethical practices such as child labor and exploitation. Supporting the production of real larimar ensures ethical practices and supports the local community in the Dominican Republic.
Aesthetic and sentimental value
Real larimar is a beautiful and unique gemstone that has sentimental and aesthetic value. Appreciating the natural beauty of real larimar is a way to connect with nature and appreciate the artistry of the earth.
Where to Buy Real Larimar
When buying larimar, it’s important to buy from trusted sources and vendors. Here are some tips for buying authentic larimar:
Trusted sources and vendors
Buy larimar from reputable jewelers or dealers who specialize in gemstones. Look for certifications and grading reports that verify the authenticity of the stone.
Tips for buying authentic larimar online
If buying online, look for trusted websites and sellers who have a good reputation and positive reviews. Look for clear photos of the stone and read the product description carefully to ensure that it is real larimar.
Certification and grading of larimar
Certification and grading of larimar can help ensure the authenticity and value of the stone. Look for certifications from reputable organizations such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) or the International Gemological Institute (IGI).
Identifying and appreciating the authenticity of larimar is important for its financial value, ethical considerations, and aesthetic and sentimental value. Real larimar has unique patterns and inclusions, and can be identified through visual inspection, density and hardness tests, response to UV light, and testing with chemicals. Fake larimar can be identified through comparison with real larimar, common materials used to imitate larimar, and identifying features of synthetic or treated larimar. When buying larimar, it’s important to buy from trusted sources and vendors and to look for certifications and grading reports that verify the authenticity of the stone. Let’s appreciate the natural beauty and uniqueness of real larimar, and support ethical and sustainable practices in the gemstone industry.