What is Amber?
Amber is fossilised tree resin (not sap), which has been appreciated for its colour and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of decorative objects. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewellery.
Amber is heterogeneous in composition, but consists of several resinous bodies more or less soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform, associated with an insoluble bituminous substance. Amber is a macro-molecule by free radical polymerisation of several precursors in the labdane family, e.g. communic acid, cummunol, and biformene. These labdanes are diterpenes (C20H32) and trienes, equipping the organic skeleton with three alkene groups for polymerisation. As amber matures over the years, more polymerisation takes place as well as isomerization reactions, cross-linking and cyclization.
Molecular polymerisation, resulting from high pressures and temperatures produced by overlying sediment, transforms the resin first into copal. Sustained heat and pressure drives off terpenes and results in the formation of amber.
For this to happen, the resin must be resistant to decay. Many trees produce resin, but in the majority of cases this deposit is broken down by physical and biological processes. Exposure to sunlight, rain, microorganisms (such as bacteria and fungi), and extreme temperatures tends to disintegrate resin. For resin to survive long enough to become amber, it must be resistant to such forces or be produced under conditions that exclude them.
Distribution and mining
Amber is globally distributed, mainly in rocks of Cretaceous age or younger. Historically, the Samland coast west of Königsberg in Prussia was the world's leading source of amber. First mentions of amber deposits here date back to the 12th century. About 90% of the world's extractable amber is still located in that area, which became the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia in 1946.
Pieces of amber torn from the seafloor are cast up by the waves, and collected by hand, dredging, or diving. Elsewhere, amber is mined, both in open works and underground galleries. Then nodules of blue earth have to be removed and an opaque crust must be cleaned off, which can be done in revolving barrels containing sand and water. Erosion removes this crust from sea-worn amber.
Caribbean amber, especially Dominican blue amber, is mined through bell pitting, which is dangerous due to the risk of tunnel collapse.
The oldest amber recovered dates to the Upper Carboniferous period (320 million years ago). Its chemical composition makes it difficult to match the amber to its producers – it is most similar to the resins produced by flowering plants; however, there are no flowering plant fossils until the Cretaceous, and they were not common until the Upper Cretaceous. Amber becomes abundant long after the Carboniferous, in the Early Cretaceous, 150 million years ago, when it is found in association with insects. The oldest amber with arthropod inclusions comes from the Levant, from Lebanon and Jordan. This amber, roughly 125–135 million years old, is considered of high scientific value, providing evidence of some of the oldest sampled ecosystems.
In Lebanon more than 450 outcrops of Lower Cretaceous amber were discovered by Dany Azar a Lebanese paleontologist and entomologist. Among these outcrops 20 have yielded biological inclusions comprising the oldest representatives of several recent families of terrestrial arthropods. Even older, Jurassic amber has been found recently in Lebanon as well. Many remarkable insects and spiders were recently discovered in the amber of Jordan including the oldest zorapterans, clerid beetles, umenocoleid roaches, and achiliid planthoppers.
Baltic amber or succinite (historically documented as Prussian amber) is found as irregular nodules in marine glauconitic sand, known as blue earth, occurring in the Lower Oligocene strata of Sambia in Prussia (in historical sources also referred to as Glaesaria). After 1945 this territory around Königsberg was turned into Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, where amber is now systematically mined.
It appears, however, to have been partly derived from older Eocene deposits and it occurs also as a derivative phase in later formations, such as glacial drift. Relics of an abundant flora occur as inclusions trapped within the amber while the resin was yet fresh, suggesting relations with the flora of Eastern Asia and the southern part of North America. Heinrich Göppert named the common amber-yielding pine of the Baltic forests Pinites succiniter, but as the wood does not seem to differ from that of the existing genus it has been also called Pinus succinifera. It is improbable, however, that the production of amber was limited to a single species; and indeed a large number of conifers belonging to different genera are represented in the amber-flora.
|Non-transparent (bone and foamy)|
Amber Healing Properties
They may aid the emotions, and through their role to assist emotional healing they help to create a more positive outlook on life.
Their role within the sacral chakra means that it this a strong stone to help you to enhance your creativity.
These stones link the everyday self to the spiritual self.
It is known to be one of the better natural crystals to use for protection from psychic attack.
This golden yellow resin is highly protective against any type of negativity, especially from psychic sources.
Amber stone has many wonderful qualities for healing the physical and emotional body. It is worth using as it may also heal health problems you forgot you had until they are gone.
Physical Properties of Amber
|Chemical Formula||Amber is composed of complex organic material without any definitive chemical formula. Its inherent substance can also vary depending on its origination.|
|Colour||Blue, Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown|
|Hardness||2 - 2.5|
|Refractive Index||1.539 - 1.545|
|SG||1.0 - 1.1|
|Transparency||Transparent to nearly opaque|