Fleur Bleue, a small salon on Jizo-dori, just off Peace Boulevard, specializes in Larimar imported direct from the Dominican Republic. [日本語]
For proprietor Hikari Takatsuki, sharing the beauty of these unique stones, which are associated with love and peace, is a passion as much as a business.
Larimar is only found in the southwestern region of the Dominican Republic and came to the world’s attention after its re-discovery by a local man, Miguel Méndez, in 1974. The name, Larimar, is a combination of the first letters of Méndez’s daughter’s name, Larissa, and the Spanish word for the sea, ‘mar’. Its color is indeed reminiscent of Caribbean waters and some have even suggested the stones are remnants of Atlantis.
Hiroshima’s pro baseball team, the Hiroshima Carp, has had a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic since 1990, but when Takatsuki started to investigate she discovered another connection. After a visit to Hiroshima, the wife of Miguel Méndez had become a passionate supporter of the international project to cultivate trees from seeds harvested from the trees that survived the A-bombing.
It seemed like the universe was trying to tell Takatsuki something, and, about 7 years ago, she answered by deciding to bring ‘the stone of love and peace’ to ‘the city of peace’. High quality, blue Larimar is scarce and fakes, as well as poor quality specimens that have been coated and dyed, are common. Feeling honor-bound to do her utmost to ensure her customers could be confident that they get the genuine article, Takatsuki has all her high quality pieces tested. Most of the finished pieces at Fleur Bleue come with a certificate of authenticity, so buyers can have faith in their investment.
Takatsuki-san feels a strong connection to the stones that goes beyond appreciation of their beauty. In an age when city-dwellers are cut off from nature by pavestones and tarmac, she sees stones and crystals as a means of reconnecting with the earth. The arrival of each new batch of Larimar from the Dominican Republic is a source of great excitement and the stones are treated as honored guests. Takatsuki first takes them to a local Izumo Shrine, traditionally the shrine of personal relationships, where they undergo a purification rite. Then, back at her salon, before the stones take their place in the showcase, they are the special guests at a ‘Yokoso party’, where Takatsuki and her clients bid the stones a hearty ‘Welcome to Japan’ while waving Japanese and Dominican flags.
Takatsuki tells me stories of her customers who say that their lives took fortuitous turns after Larimar came into their lives. She prefaces each tale with, “Not everyone believes in this”, but it’s clear she feels that contact with stones such as Larimar can help put people in a state of mind that allows for good things to happen. Fleur Bleue also offers crystal Larimar therapy sessions, which sound, if nothing else, like a very relaxing way to spend an hour some time.
Whether you are a believer in the power of the stones or not, they have an incredible natural beauty and would make a wonderful gift for someone special or a fitting memento of your time in the city of peace.
Fleur Bleue is one of Japan’s foremost Larimar dealers with a large selection of stones that range in price from two thousand yen to several hundred thousand yen. Stones can be purchased in their natural state or polished, both with or without adornment. Browsers interested in viewing the stones are very welcome. Look for the Fleur Bleue sign next to Micchan Okonimiyaki on Jizo-dori.
Opening hours: 11:00-18:00
Closed: Monday, Tuesday and other occasional holidays
Address: 8-5 Komachi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima-ken 〒730-0041
Address in Japanese: 〒730-0041 広島県広島市中区小町８−５