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Larimar backing?

Does larimar have to be backed like turquoise (unless using an open back setting?). I’m guessing not, but I can’t find information on this anywhere and wanted to make sure so I don’t waste some precious Larimar!
Thank you in advance :relaxed:

I’ve done a few (3) larimar rings and a lot more turquoise. The only reasons I back any stone (and I may be very wrong) is; a) to raise a very thin stone b) to even the base for level setting c) to reinforce stones that may have soft host rock veins and are more likely the fracture than others. Larimar, I’ve read, is a tad softer than turquoise but I didn’t back mine and had no problems. I sometimes will design the bezel around the hardness of the stone if it’s fragile, i.e., thinner bezel, gentle hand set and no mechanical hammer handpiece. Hope that helps, Bruce

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It depends it the best answer. Turquoise has different hardness depending on where it is mined. That’s a simplified view of it’s hardness. Also many times when it is mined it is in thin layers that without the host rock supporting it it would fracture really easily just handling it wrong. Thus for thin softer turquoise it gets backed. Then there are those who cut their turquoise very thin and back it so they can get more cabs out of the stone they have. There are also those who back it to level it up and have an even height stone. I’ve done some larimar. Hell I’m in Florida where we have a better access to people who lived in the Dominican Republic. What I’ve done has all been with larimar that is hard. What I’ve gotten has been thick enough no backing was needed. A friend of mine said I was crazy. I should cut it in half and back it to I can make more money. In the end it is what you want to do. I prefer to say mine is solid stone when I can. Other times I make sure the buy knows I’ve backed and the reason. Do what you feel is best.

Aggie

Aggie, wouldn’t you say that approximately 95% of the turquoise that’s out there these days is stabilized and thus, not very soft? 5.5 - 6? I also don’t think that larimar is very porous like turquoise (and I may be wrong again) but I’ve never heard of stabilized larimar so it is what you get from the DR mine unlike turquoise. Accurate??

Don’t know if it is 95% but a lot of it is. Today the pickings are not as good as they were 40 years ago. Look at the stones that are being sold. They have more non turquoise in them than the blue. There are still some high grade harder turquoise with good blue and fine matrix still being sold. You are going to pay a good price for the equally good rock. My favorite in the old days was Nevada Fox. It was what they referred to as hat mine. Meaning it was not bigger than a man’s hat. It was a very thin seam. It was hard, but being maybe 4 to 6 mm thick at the widest point, it was always backed. It was beautiful. I still have some big chunks of the old number mine rock. It would rival the best Persian turquoise. What you see today of it, looks like little bubbles in a ugly host rock. With all the easy good veins near the surface exhausted. mining turquoise has gotten hard in this country. Mexico has some good mines, but they have been mined heavily. I don’t trust Chinese turquoise sine I’ve had a few come past me that were reconstituted. What we called plasticized turquoise dust… It comes down to knowing who you are buying from and what you want. I know a place near Silver Reef Utah that has some outstanding turquoise with the prettiest blue. Just a step above talc in hardness. No one is stabilizing it. YET.

Beware of the larimar. Some of the stuff being sold today is fake. I haven’t seen much of the fake stuff, but since the DR stuff is not as plentiful as it was, the fake is a good way for some people to make good money.

Know your source.

Aggie

I wish I was doing this 40 years ago when turquoise was more plentiful, better quality, and cheaper! On my retirement (3 months!) bucket list is a road trip to visit mines that allow for visitation, touring, purchases, etc. Probably starting off in Nevada where the majority are located then on to AZ and NM.