The Domincian Republic is famous for amber and larimar, two beautiful materials that are used to produce locally-made jewelry.
Amber is fossilized tree resin that exists in a variety of colors and degrees of transparency. Dominican amber is known for its transparency and its high number of fossil inclusions (insects, leaves, etc. that fossilized inside the amber as it formed. The Dominican Republic also has a unique form of amber known as blue amber. While it looks like ordinary amber under interior light, it actually turns blue in sunlight. This type of amber is very rare (being found only in mines near Santiago), and therefore very expensive.
Larimar is a semi-precious stone that has only been found in the Dominican Republic. The color of the stone is usually light blue, but can range from white and blue-green to deep blue. Larimar has only been discovered in one location – Barahona, in the southwest of the country.
Many shops in the Colonial Zone and other areas of Santo Domingo sell jewelry made of larimar and amber. It is best to avoid amber jewelry sold by street vendors and at low-end shops, as it is often fake.
Laura Tosato designs original pieces with a focus on local materials, such as larimar and amber. The shop offers unique and reasonably priced jewelry that stands apart from the usual tourist items. The designer’s signature pieces feature firefly motifs.
Calle Arzobispo Meriño 204 (across from Parque Colón)
Located in a colonial building on Parque Colón, the museum (upstairs) has an interesting display of amber fossils discovered in the Dominican Republic. The ground floor has a shop where visitors can buy quality pieces.
Calle El Conde 107
The museum has an exhibition where you can learn more about this beautiful semi-precious gem that is only found in the Dominican Republic. The display includes information on the stone’s discovery, mining and use. After walking through the exhibition, visitors can peruse the jewelry in the shop and perhaps find the perfect souvenir.
Calle Isabel la Católica 54