Introduction & History of Amber

Amber is a fossilized tree resin (not sap), which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone and jewellery, Amber is also made into a variety of decorative objects. Amber is also used as an ingredient in perfumes and as a healing agent in folk medicine.

Amber is one of the most beautiful natural forming compounds in the world. While many people categorize it as a precious stone, it is in fact fossilized resin. Amber is a byproduct of flora (trees, usually coniferous) that has hardened over the millennia. Most Amber today is said to be from 30 to 90 million years old.

There are many different types of Amber that are found and used today. Most of the Amber that is sold is called Succinite. This type of Amber is mainly found in Northern Europe and is golden brown in color and hard in substance. The hues tend to be from yellowish honey to a gentle brown with gold in it to a dark brown. This is usually the most popular type of Amber available and it is generally used for ornamental jewelry, as well as tips on smoking devices such as pipes. Amber can be molded into certain shapes; however most jewelry reflects the Amber’s natural beauty and forms.

Besides Succinite Amber there is also Amber that has inclusions. Besides Amber being just fossilized plant structure, Amber can include an inclusion. An inclusion means that remains of spiders, insects, crustacean, in fact any small organism can have been caught in the once sticky substance that fossilized and created Amber.

Amber can come in other colors besides its trademarked brown. For instance, Amber may also have a bluish color due to pyrites. Amber can come in a deep brownish black color, due to the lack of certain acids, this kind of Amber is called Stantienite. Glessite is an opaque brown Amber that has many cavities within the resin. The term Glessite comes from the word Glesum which is an old name for Amber.

Amber gradually forms and hardens over many millions of years. In fact, most of today’s Amber is from 30 to 90 millions old. Amber’s scientific formula is written as C10H16O, incorporating carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.

Amber can usually be found in all parts of the world where there was once flora living millions of years ago. Amber in general has its biggest depositories in the Baltic region. Baltic Amber is found all along the Baltic and North seas from the north of Germany to Sambia, which is now part of Russia.

Most Amber comes from the sea floor which is released once waves and other marine forces crash upon it. Amber can be picked up from the shore line and can be fished for. Many people fish for Amber using long poles and special nets.