Should the exquisite honey-colored Amber gemstone ever be asked to recount the history of its surroundings, it would be a fascinating story indeed. The reason? Well, Amber is actually the fossilized tree resin.
It is sourced from countries as diverse as Russia, Poland, Myanmar, the USA, the UK and Africa, and can be collected from the ocean, the earth’s core and even trees.
The most famous being the Baltic Amber.
Photo courtesy of www.wikipedia.org
Amber, what to look for?
Imitations Amber abound in the market, so be aware of the features a genuine Amber gemstone should possess.
Amber is extremely lightweight. So much so that it floats on seawater, while some imitations do not.
Color – The beautiful honey color truly defines this stone, punctuated by shades of orange, red and brown.
Alternative color options, though quite rare, are available in green, blue, black, dark brown and even off-white.
Clarity – Amber is normally a clear gemstone. Interestingly, the inclusions that nature creates in the evolution process of Amber greatly enhance the value of each stone.
Gas bubbles creating cloudy patterns within the stone and even insects that find their way inside add value and increase the market price.
Small insects like gnats, butterflies and flies have been found in clumps of Amber resin, along with spiders, frogs and lizards that have got trapped in the tree sap, only to be discovered centuries later and transformed into one-of-a-kind works of art and craft.
Cut – Cutting becomes a difficult task given the soft composition of Amber.
However, modern technology has made cuts of varying shapes and sizes possible, making it available for use in jewelry production.
Price – Amber is priced somewhat higher than most other semi-precious stones.
When you buy a pair of dangle earrings or an Amber gemstone pendant, what you will pay depend on the size and the color of each stone, the carat weight thereof and any unique inclusions.
Amber - Then and Now
Centuries ago, people of ancient civilizations believed the Amber gemstone to contain potent mystical powers and wore them as a protection from evil and danger.
It was even used in ceremonies of worship.
In Germany it was burned as a form of incense, earning it the name “Burnt Stone”.
When Amber is rubbed between your palms or with a soft fabric, it develops an electrical charge and attracts small size particles. For this reason, ancient Greeks called it Elektron, which means ‘shining light’.
It was also very much a part of the Egyptians’ process of mummification, and medicine made from Amber was used in Rome to heal ailments of the neck and head.
Amber was a popular element of jewelry making even back then.
Today this golden Amber gemstone is widely used as a talisman of good luck.
The belief in its curative powers remains strong, encouraging people to obtain cures from ailments of the digestive system, throat and eyes.
A Capsule of History
Amber as a source of geological and zoological evidence? Incredible, but true.
The fossilization of the pine sap takes place over hundreds of years, trapping specimens of nature - be it flowers, mushrooms or bird feathers in its resinous layers.
Dissecting and analyzing these samples of Amber provide ample evidence to assist Paleontologists piece together the progression of life on earth.
This is something that truly adds another dimension to the story of the Amber gemstone.
Browse our Amber jewelry collection and select your favorite Amber piece. Golden yellow drop Amber earrings to add a touch of mystique to that understated outfit...
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Chemical Composition: The chemical formula is C10H16O and known also as Succinic acid.
Colors: Orange, red, brown to golden, deep yellow. Also found in off white, dark brown, black, blue or green.
Refractive Index: 1.54
Specific Gravity: 1.1 (extremely light and can float in salty water).
Luster: Greasy to resinous.
Solid State: Transparent to translucent.
Crystal System: No crystal system. Being amorphous in nature so does not have an ordered structure.