Very different from each other, amber and larimar are gems inextricably linked to the Dominican Republic.

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Amber and Larimar

The most Dominican of baubles.

Fans of precious and semiprecious stones will not want to leave the DR without checking out a couple of types that are quintessentially Dominican. First and foremost is amber, a fossilised tree resin of which this country is one of the very few sources in the world, and second behind Europe’s Baltic region. There are a pair of amber museums – one in downtown Puerto Plata and one in Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial – where in addition to learning about the history and geology of amber you can buy it; there are also shops in several cities as well as outlets at resorts (you’ll need also to be on the lookout for less reputable vendors, which have been known to traffic in fakes). Then there’s larimar, a striking blue gemstone found only in this country (primarily Barahona province in the southwest), named after the daughter of one of its original discoverers, in just 1974. It’s sold in many of the same venues as amber, and there’s also a larimar museum and associated shop in Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial.

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