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Amber is the fossilized hardened resin of trees. The ages of the trees can vary from 1 million to 300 million years. It comes mainly from extinct coniferous trees and is often found with lignite coal. The resin, which is initially a sticky tree liquid, loses its volatile components over time and becomes harder. This process can take thousands of years to millions of years.
For thousands of years, the largest source of amber has been deposits along the Baltic coast, intermittently stretching from Gdánsk to the coasts of Denmark and Sweden. Amber has been traded since ancient times.
Amber has a homogeneous structure, mostly in the form of drops or lumps, and is yellow and brown in color. Inclusions of insects or plant parts are common.
Amber Chemical Properties
|Formula||There is no definite chemical formula of amber, the essence of which varies depending on its origin.|
Amber Physical Properties
|Color||Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown|
|Diaphaneity||Transparent to nearly opaque|
|Mohs Hardness||2 – 2.5|
|Density||1.0 – 1.1|
Amber Optical Properties
|Color / Pleochroism||Absent|
|RI values:||1.539 – 1.545|
- Amberoid – Synonym of Compressed Amber
- Baltic Amber – Amber from around the Baltic Sea, mainly near the coasts of Latvia, Lithuania, Russia (Kaliningrad Oblast – an isolated Russian Province in the Baltic) and northern Poland. The world’s largest amber reserves are located in this region, and some of the material flows directly from the Baltic Sea to the shore.
- Blue Amber – A rare form of Amber from the Dominican Republic (Dominican Amber) with a characteristic blue and yellow color that turns completely yellow when viewed directly in light.
- Bony Amber – Cloudy, translucent Amber with dense bubbles inside.
- Burmite – amber from Burma (Myanmar).
- Copal – A cured resin that has partially undergone the polymerization process to cure, but is not fully polymerized, such as Amber.
- Dominican Amber – Amber from the Dominican Republic.
- Pressed Amber – Larger pieces of Amber formed by compressing pieces of Resin or small pieces of Amber into a single mass at high temperatures.
- Cimetite – Amber from the Italian island of Sicily.
Amber is used as a bead stone in prayer beads. Bracelet, necklaces and earrings are made. It is made of amber in the form of oval wet drops.
- The world’s largest deposits of Amber are located near the Baltic Sea in Russia’s Kaliningrad Oblast in historic East Prussia.
- The nearby Baltic countries Latvia and Lithuania are also important producers of Amber.
- Northern Poland, around the Gdansk region, also along the Baltic Sea, is another important producer of Amber.
- Some Baltic Amber is mined directly from the Baltic Sea, either washed ashore or taken from the ocean bed.
- The Dominican Republic is another important source of Amber.
- The mysterious Blue Amber variety is mined in the Province of Santiago.
- Other sources of Amber are Germany, Italy (Sicily), Burma (Myanmar), Mexico, Canada and the USA (Arkansas and New Jersey).