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Pectolite 'Larimar' Gemstone Information

Pectolite 'Larimar' Gemstones from GemSelect - Large Image
Buy Pectolite 'Larimar' Gemstones from GemSelect

About Pectolite - History and Introduction

Pectolite is a rather common mineral, but a very rare gemstone. It is one of the lesser-known gemstones and is classified primarily as a collector's stone. Pectolite was first described after an occurrence was found in 1828 at Monte Baldo in the Italian Alps. Its name comes from the Greek words 'pektos' and 'lithos', meaning 'compacted' and 'stone'. Most pectolite gemstones are opaque and gray to green in color, although especially fine quality materials can occur transparent to translucent. Gem-quality pectolite from New Jersey (USA) is highly sought after by collectors, along with the light-blue colored deposits found only in the Dominican Republic. Blue pectolite is more popularly marketed as 'Larimar', a trademarked name for a variety of pectolite colored by copper and manganese.

Pectolite Gemstone

Identifying Pectolite

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Pectolite is a hydrous sodium calcium silicate. It is rather soft with a hardness of only 4.5 to 5 on the Mohs scale. In most cases, pectolite is quite delicate and even soft to the touch. But when densely formed, it can be reasonably tough. Pectolite forms with distinct triclinic crystals, usually as long, densely grouped slender fibers. Pectolite crystals are like needles and can easily pierce the skin. Crystals are typically spheroidal, radiating from the center outwards. Pectolite has a density of 2.74 - 2.88 and a refractive index of 1.59 - 1.645; the color of its streak is white. Only blue pectolite can be identified as Larimar.

Pectolite; Origin and Sources

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Pectolite can be found in many locations around the world, including the Czech Republic, Canada, England, Germany, Italy and various regions of the USA (Arkansas, California, Michigan, New Jersey and New York). Today, most gemstone-quality deposits of pectolite are sourced from the Filipinas Mine in Los Checheses, located in the Dominican Republic, where it is usually found washed ashore as alluvial deposits carried down through the Bahoruco River.

Buying Pectolite and Determining Pectolite Value

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Pectolite Color

Pectolite is typically gray-green in color and usually forms with mottled multicolored patterns of darker and lighter zones. Pectolite may also occur white or colorless. Intense green to blue colors are most desirable. Green pectolite is sometimes traded as 'Larimar' since it's considered more valuable, but it should be blue to be marketed as 'Larimar'.

Pectolite Clarity and Luster

Pectolite is normally translucent to opaque, and rarely transparent. It is often included with other minerals such as calcite and hematite, which results in interesting patterns. Simple chatoyancy is commonly seen in finer materials due to needle-like crystals. Pectolite is known to exhibit an attractive silky or subvitreous luster when cut and polished.

Pectolite Cut and Shape

Pectolite is typically cut en cabochon, but is rarely used for jewelry as it is rather soft. When not cut as a gemstone, pectolite is often sliced and polished to highlight its attractive colors and patterns. The most common gemstone shapes include round, oval, pear and freeform shapes. Larger stones with good color and quality are especially rare.

Pectolite Treatment

Pectolite is not known to be treated or enhanced in any way.

Pectolite Gemological Properties:

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Chemical Formula: NaCa2[Si3O8(OH)]; Hydrous sodium calcium silicate, sometimes with manganese.
Crystal Structure: Triclinic
Color: White, gray, green, blue, colorless
Hardness: 4.5 to 5 on the Mohs scale
Refractive Index: 1.595 to 1.645
Density: 2.74 to 2.88
Cleavage: Perfect
Transparency: Transparent, translucent, opaque
Double Refraction or Birefringence: 0.038
Luster: Silky, subvitreous
Fluorescence: Weak: sometimes green, yellow or orange

Please refer to our Gemstone Glossary for details of gemology-related terms.

Pectolite: Related or Similar Gemstones

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Larimar Cabochon

Pectolite occurs in association with a variety of other common gems and minerals. Some of the more well-known associations include prehnite, calcite and serpentine. Green pectolite is sometimes misleadingly traded as 'pectolite jade'. Blue pectolite found only in the Dominican Republic is traded as Larimar, a trademarked name for any gemmy pale blue, green-blue or sky to volcano-blue pectolite.

Pectolite Mythology, Metaphysical and Crystal Healing Powers

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Pectolite is a stone of wisdom. Different colors may bring different energies to the stone, but in general, pectolite can be used to bring a deep sense of relaxation and peace to its wearer. It can be helpful to relieve feelings of guilt and for healing on an emotional and spiritual level. Pectolite is best for balancing energies of the crown and the third-eye chakras. Physically, pectolite is thought to be good for relieving high blood pressure, and pains associated with the joints and bones. Blue pectolite is often referred to as the Atlantis stone'. This is because it is believed to carry the energy of water and hold the power of the legendary continent of Atlantis.

Disclaimer: Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers and Properties are not to be taken as confirmed advice. Traditional, Ceremonial and Mythological Gemstone Lore is collected from various resources and does not represent the sole opinion of SETT Co., Ltd. This information is not to replace the advice of your doctor. Should you have any medical conditions, please see a licensed medical practitioner. GemSelect does not guarantee any claims or statements of healing or astrological birthstone powers and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Pectolite Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas

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Pectolite is rather soft for most jewelry use. It is mostly cut for collectors and for display purposes. However, it is often used for jewelry in the Dominican Republic and elsewhere in the Caribbean. When wearing pectolite, its use should be limited to earrings, pendants and other designs which are 'well-protected'. If worn in rings, care should be taken to prevent scratches; bezel-style settings are best.

Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.

Pectolite Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning

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How to clean your gemstonesPectolite is rather soft and fragile compared to most jewelry gemstones. It also exhibits perfect cleavage along with a brittle tenacity and uneven fracture. Be sure to avoid any harsh chemicals and cleaners as pectolite can be corroded by mineral acids. Avoid prolonged exposure to strong heat or sunlight in order to prevent color loss. You can wipe down your stones using a soft cloth and warm soapy water. Be sure to rinse well to remove any excess soapy residue.

Avoid ultrasonic cleaners and heat steamers. Always remove any pectolite jewelry before engaging in any vigorous physical activities, such as sports, exercise or household chores. When storing pectolite gemstones, store them separately from other gems and jewelry to prevent scratches. It is best to wrap them in a soft cloth and place them in a fabric-lined jewelry box.

  • First Published: May-09-2014
  • Last Updated: January-17-2019
  • © 2005-2021 all rights reserved. Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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