What is Amber?
"The most remarkable stone of an antiquity since the 3rd millennium BC was amber, which bypasses centuries and peoples down to our days by its sparkling colour " - wrote the largest Russian mineralogist, the academician Alexander Fersman.
Amber is the ancient resin of trees. The resin has gone through a number of changes over millions of years.
Fact: Scientists have found a native piece of amber with a twing of wood inside. They think that in the place that is now the Baltic Sea, 40-70 million years ago there were conifer forests. Even the smallest damage to the tree caused resin to run in huge amounts, which was then covered not only by soil but also by water. Reisin turned into a hard material, which we now call Amber. While Amber has appeared naturally in various parts of the world, it is well recognized that Baltic Amber is the oldest and most valued of all.
Amber is a warm, translucent deep yellow form. The amber can be colourless, milk-white, dark blue, greenish, as a sea wave, sunset-red, bluish, as the sky in easy haze of clouds and black, but there prevails the gold-yellow often called the amber colour, which is the colour of honey, juices, and fruits. This mineral is valued not only for variety of its colour palette, but also for transparency and cleanliness. Of all the amber deposits in the world, probably the most famous and certainly the largest is that of the Baltic region. It represents some 95of the worlds known amber resource. Throughout history, Baltic deposits have been the world’s main source of this magnificent gemstone. Since its density is about one, amber floats in seawater. The sea waves wash amber pieces out of its clay bosom, throwing them out onto the coast.
The small deposits of amber are located in sea and seashore places off the Arabian peninsula, Sweden, Germany, Poland, Ukraine (in the area of Kiev, Volyn, on the Dnieper), Byelorussia, Baltic countries, Azerbaijan, Romania, Burma, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Italy, the USA, China, Japan, Vietnam, France, on the Sakhalin, in cretaceous sediments of the Northern Siberia and the Arkhangelsk area etc.
What determines the natural color of Baltic amber?
The two factors are:
1. The microscopic bubble inclusions of gas within the gemstone.
2. The tree source.
Not all tree resins can form amber. Only two types of tree living today produce stable resins that could, with time, fossilize into amber. They are the Kauri pine of New Zealand and species of the legume Hymenaea in east Africa.
In a nature, amber can be found in various forms and sizes: from shares of a few grams, up to several kilograms. The 0.2-3.0 cm pieces of amber are found frequently. The specimen 4.28 kg weight is kept in the Kaliningrad Museum of Amber. Large pieces of Baltic amber (12 kg, 9.7 kg, and 7 kg) were found in the 19th century. Largest in the world is a piece of birmite weighing 15.25 kg. It is kept in the Natural History Museum in London.
Amber is easy to carve and polish, which makes it a popular material for jewellery.
‘When the warm kingdom of the amber pine and it seas set,
cooled and froze beneath a thick glacial mass, only amber
itself survived; the living sap of a dead tree’
Stefan Zeromski: The Sea Breeze.
‘Oh, listen in the evenings,
When the sea is restless
And sprays the shore with amber
the depths unseen palm ...’
1) The Amber Room of the Catherine Palace.
2) PALANGA AMBER MUSEUM
3) AMBER MUSEUM in Kaliningrad