Do you know what is amber stone and how amber is created? This and hundreds of other questions were bothering minds of mankind for centuries. Today, we are going to provide you with everything you need to know before and after purchasing amber jewelry.
The main thing you need to know about amber stone, is the fact, that amber is not a stone. Paradox, right? Amber is a fossilized resin of prehistoric trees that grew on Earth millions of years ago. Concretely in the case of the Baltic amber, it comes from a variety of pines. Pines, that disappeared millions of year ago from the surface of the earth. Therefore, although it is sometimes called amber stone, in fact it has organic origins. If you want to know more about what is amber, check our very first post.
Amber according to various sources appears in the upper Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian) period that is around 323 – 298 million years ago. Can you imagine that? Imagine the incredibly powerful energy this amber contains!
Deposits and accumulations of fossil resins, occur worldwide, but as we know, the most sought after are Paleogene amber deposits (= succinite) occurring in Ukraine and in the Baltic Sea coast.
The Baltic Sea region has been the original source for amber since Prehistoric times. Although it is not known exactly when Baltic amber was first used, it can be linked to the Stone Age populations. Amber of Baltic origin was found in Egyptian tombs that date back to 3200 B.C., establishing the archaeological barter and trade routes. Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have some 100 Neolithic burial sites in which amber is included. European sea trade was dominated by the Vikings from 800-1000 A.D., with the “gold from the north”, and Scandinavia continues to be a major exporter of amber today.Baltic #amber constitutes not less than 90% of the amber bulk already collected worldwide. #BalticAmber #NammuEnglish Click To Tweet
Baltic amber nowadays constitutes not less than 90% of the bulk of amber already collected throughout the world. Baltic amber consists at 98% of Pinus succinifera pine resin and there is no amber older than 35 million years.
Ukrainian amber by its occurrence is of the same age as Baltic amber. However, contrary to the Baltic amber, Ukrainian amber is quite rich with succinic acid, containing up to 6.84%. In Baltic amber the percentage is around 3.20-5.28%.
Moreover, the percentage of high quality amber in Ukraine is much higher than in Russia or Baltic countries. Due to its characteristics, it can be aligned to the Jutland amber – the highest quality grade Baltic amber. You can learn more about age and deposits of amber in different countries of the world from our How Old Is Amber post.
As we know, due to its organic origins, amber has an amazing property – for millions of years it can keep insects, small animals and particles of plants inside, preventing them from collapsing.
The remains of the crust, insects, feathers of birds, scraps of animal fur, spores and seeds of plants, and even drops of water (rain or dew), which did not evaporate, confirmed forever the impermeability of the “amber tomb.” In addition to these, air bubbles and various minerals are found in amber. Such substances preserved in amber are called inclusions.
The resin, flowing down the trunks of the pines, often became a trap for small inhabitants of the amber forest. Insects themselves sat down on the resin, attracted by its color and smell. Alternatively, they could have been taken down by a gust of wind, and also caught in amber drop that fell from a broken branch. Large insects burst from the resin, and the small ones were covered by the later resin inflows.
Not only insects and branches can be found in amber. Sometimes it is even possible to find small animals – for example, lizards. However, these are very rare inclusions – only seven lizards stored in amber were found around the world.
The oldest fossil remains found inside amber belong to the period of Lower Cretaceous and hold great scientific insight to environments of the past. These findings were made in the mountains of Lebanon, to the southeast of the country’s capital – Beirut. One of the earth’s oldest natural treasures, Lebanese amber, which contains the earliest known representatives of many insect groups, unlocks the secrets of a little-known world populated by dinosaurs, pterosaurs and cycads.
Amber and amber inclusions were increasingly important for making discoveries and conclusions about the life that existed on Earth millions of years ago. And this is what makes amber so special. Check amber inclusions, to learn more about stunning million-years-old floral and animal inclusions found in amber.
When it comes to color of amber, we must say that natural amber is really very rich in color. Nowadays, specialists differentiate about 400 different shades that amber can have. Without any doubts, it confirms: amber can accept almost all the colors known to us.
The color of amber is influenced by the conditions under which amber was formed: where the resin fell, whether the tree was burning, even from which side the resin was draining, from the northern, southern, western or eastern. Everything affects the formula of amber, and therefore, the color. Learn more about colors of amber and circumstances of it emergence as well as rarity in our Amber color post.
The shape of amber depends on what happened to the tree, i.e. how it was damaged. If the branch of the amber pine was broken, then amber solidified in the form of a drop. If the resin flowed down the trunk, it turned out to be flowing and icicles. If the tree was cracked or formed voids between the annual rings, which filled the resin, then amber could solidify in the form of a lens.
Depending on the color of the stone, its transparency and compliance in the process of processing, there are following types of amber:
- Transparent is a gem with a high level of transparency, obviously, which can be easily polished. The color of amber varies from lemon (almost transparent) to dark brown. It is highly appreciated, because of its beauty.
- Translucent – a stone of yellow or dark yellow color. Sometimes it can be red or bluish. The color is slightly opaque, but has translucent layers. Can be polished without problems.
- Bastard – opaque stone, which on some thin layers has some transparency. Has an unusual yellowish hue, on the whole surface there are spots of dark color. More or less transparent. Can be polished without problems.
- Layered – the color is white. Usually is not polished.
- Foamy – outwardly the stone differs from ordinary amber. Its name came from the large amount of frozen foam. Has a white opaque hue. It is very porous, due to which it is very light. Is not polished typically.
- Contaminated – it is black or gray. Usually do not polish. Transparency is extremely low.
- Overburden – it differs a large crust from oxidation, has a red tint. Can be polished, but can not be polished badly. Can shine through.
- Landscape – Combined in one stone, different types of amber can make real landscapes. That’s why such amber is called landscape.
Learn more about colors of amber and circumstances of it emergence as well as rarity in our Amber color post.
When having amber in your possession, you need to know that amber can grow dull with time. So if you keep it long enough, do not be upset, but better find out how to bring back the stone shine. It is recommended to adhere to several simple rules for storing amber and wearing, so that it does not lose its original appearance for the longest time, does not become cloudy and damaged.
To learn how to properly store, wear and clean amber, check or How to Take Care of Amber post.
As it is with the world, humans always find new ways to copy nature. During the early 18th century a group of scientists found a way to synthesize amber. Natural materials were used to make amber copies and slowly moved into the market. These pieces were used as jewelry and, naturally, their price was high.
Nowadays fake Baltic amber has flooded the market, and most people do not even realize it. People intend to purchase these amber pieces and consider them as genuine because they cannot tell the difference. Sadly, many of these people are exploited as merchants who sell fake amber usually do so at a high price.
Of course, any ordinary person can be deceived and may not be able to tell the difference. However, a person with a good understanding of its texture and qualities, as well as characteristics of the stone, can differentiate fake amber from real amber. Based on our vast experience as a shop that specializes on the sale of amber products, at Nammu we have created the complete guide for you on how to detect fake amber.
When talking about characteristics of amber that can help identify the counterfeiting, we should talk about the natural amber properties. Since the discovery of its nature, amber was continuously surprising scientific community by revealing more and more of its hidden properties.
According to Mohs’ scale amber ranges from 2 to 3. It means that amber is relatively soft stone: it can be scratched with a knife. So, you should be very careful wearing amber. Due to this quality it both can be easily broken if hit or if it falls down.
Amber melts at the temperature of 315 – 350 Cº. When left for a long period of time without body contact, it oxidizes under the influence of the oxygen in the air. Moreover, when polished, it reveals a very specific electromagnetic property of attracting pieces. But to learn more, you need to check our What is Amber post.
Since the Paleolithic era (2.6 million years ago), amber played an important role in human life and death. People all around the world were using amber for centuries as it is the first known traded stone. The first known documented appearance of amber dates back to the times of the early second-millennium BC, what is 2000 years Before Christ, in Mesopotamia. If you are interested in learning more about the role of amber in the development of the world and place it took in history of ancient nations, check our ancient amber post.
Ancient Egyptians were calling amber a sacal what is actually simply meaning the “rock”. It is probably the first documented guessing about the nature of amber.
According to the Pliny the Elder, Romans knew precisely what origins of amber were and therefore had a specific name for it – succinum. Consequently, that gave a rise to the current name of the most important healing ingredient in amber – succinic acid. Check our previous post, to learn more about effects succinic acid has on the body and health.
When it comes to China, amber name has obtained an exclusively specific meaning. Check here – Amber name – to learn more about it and many other names for amber various nations had throughout history. It is very revealing to know how they understood and lived this gemstone.
Probably none of the precious stones has so much indications for medical applications as amber. Even in ancient times amber was declared almost a panacea for all diseases.
It was used to cure the severe head, neck and throat pain according to Hippocrate. Wearing amber bracelets was beneficial to sufferers of rheumatism and arthritis. Reduced fatigue and feelings of general weariness. Even Martin Luther carried a piece of amber in his pocket as a protection against kidney stones. Following use had a significant reasoning behind it, check our Amber Healing Properties post to learn how amber can boost your health and what is the secret behind its properties.
This raw piece of million year old resin could give you a freedom and take it from you in the Ancient Rome. With the equal simplicity. It was a reason for the development of the whole Eurasian continent due to its amber road. It is a perfect investment and an amazing piece of history that can be passed through generations allowing you to stay in minds of your descendants for hundreds of years. In the same way as amber did. For thousands of years. Shop with Nammu, buy yourself a jewelry with a history.
Hope you have enjoyed reading this post. Join us if you want to know even more about amber, its beauty, history and properties.