What is Amber Jewelry?
Amber jewelry is a beautiful addition to any outfit. The gemstone's unique color lends itself to just about any style. But where does amber come from?
Keyword(s): where does amber come from
Amber is a beautiful natural gemstone full of rich history.
It tells a story about our environment and the ancient civilizations who coveted it. Have you ever seen a fly sealed in amber? It could have been buzzing around dinosaurs millions of years ago.
Which makes it all the more exciting to be able to wear amber as jewelry. Throughout the world's history, amber beads and amulets were loved by the rich and beautiful.
Amber jewelry is a chic addition to any outfit. The gemstone's unique color lends itself to just about any style. But where does amber come from?
Amber is Fossilized Tree Resin
The oldest, most valuable amber dates back to 30-60 million years ago. Ancient coniferous trees produced a resin that would eventually become amber.
Resin transforms into amber through a natural process involving heat, pressure, oxygen, and light. As the resin would drip from the tree, it trapped any small insects or plants that touched it. When the resin finally hardened, you could find those inclusions perfectly preserved inside.
Thanks to amber, over 1,000 extinct species of insects have been discovered. Amber is more than just a gem. It's a time capsule allowing us to take a glimpse at what nature was like when dinosaurs walked the Earth.
The Properties of Amber
Because amber is a resin and not a stone, it has some differences from other gems. It is warm instead of cool to the touch. Amber is lightweight compared to other gemstones.
On Mohs hardness scale, it ranks as a soft stone. To put in perspective, diamond ranks at a 10, whereas amber ranks around a 2.5.
Because of its softness, amber is a more delicate gem. Amber should only be cleaned with mild soap and warm water. You can polish it with olive oil and a soft cloth.
Though you can find amber in jewelry stores across the world, the gems themselves are found in a very particular region. So, where does it come from?
Where Does Amber Come From?
As you can imagine, the older the amber, the more valuable it is. Most of the oldest amber comes from the region around the Baltic Sea and is prized among amber jewelry collectors. "Baltic Amber" consists of amber coming from countries including Germany, Poland, Latvia, and Estonia.
The biggest producer of amber comes from the Russian outpost city, Kaliningrad. Located between Poland and Lithuania. Many have flocked to the city to mine amber, similar to the California Gold Rush.
Where does amber come from in the Earth? In this area, amber is often mined directly out of the Baltic Sea, where it has been deposited over centuries. Some miners use a giant vacuum to pull it up and sift it from the water while leaving the surrounding areas relatively undisturbed.
While Baltic amber is worth the most, you can mine the gem in other countries. Amber has been found in Southern California, Alaska, Mexico, and The Dominican Republic.
These places have been exporting amber for many centuries. Amber has a long and interesting history, both factual and mythical.
Amber and Ancient Myths
If you asked someone in ancient Europe, "Where does amber come from?" you might receive an interesting tale. One Lithuanian amber myth tells the story of Jurate, the daughter of the God of Thunder. A mermaid, Jurate lived in a palace of amber in the Baltic Sea.
One day, the goddess catches a fisherman casting nets in her ocean kingdom. She sends her mermaids to tell the man to get lost. He refuses.
Jurate decides this is a job she'll have to do herself. But when she sees the fisherman, it's love at first sight. She brings him back to her amber palace.
The problem was Jurate was already betrothed to the God of Water. Jurate's father finds out she's in love with a mortal. He is so angry he destroys the palace with a bolt of lighting.
The lightning kills the fisherman and Jurate is chained to the ruins for eternity. When amber floats up from the Baltic Sea, it's said to be the pieces of her castle.
The Ancient Uses of Amber
Throughout history, many believed that amber contained mystical, energetic qualities. Amber is said to promote health, good luck, wisdom, patience, protection, and positive energy.
Ancient Romans prized amber. Many wore amber amulets for protection. Armies were often sent to conquer amber producing villages.
Women in Northern Italy would regularly wear amber necklaces against their throat. They felt that amber was healing for the thyroid gland.
Hippocrates, the physician of Ancient Greece, believed in amber's healing ability. He thought it was helpful in combat of many diseases. Many believe that amber healing properties are more than ancient
Many believe that amber healing properties are more than ancient wives tales. Amber teething necklaces and healing pendants continue to be sought after to this day.
Oils and Other Uses
Baltic amber contains succinct acid, a healing oil. In a necklace, when amber beads heat up against warm skin, the oil releases and the body absorbs it. Amber oil was also bottled and sold, and still is today.
In ancient China, amber was considered the tears of a tiger breathing its last breath. To them, owning amber was the highest sign of wealth and status. Artisans would create amber jewelry, decor, and other precious items.
During large festivities, it was customary for the Chinese to burn amber. It was meant to show the hosts' wealth and their respect for their guests.
China continues to be the hottest market in the world for amber today, with genuine Baltic amber in very high demand.
It's no wonder the rich used amber to represent their prosperity. It's a beautiful gem that comes in an array of warm, calming colors.
Amber Comes in a Variety of Hues
The color of amber naturally ranges between hues of orange, yellow, brown, and gold. It's so unique that the color's name derives from the gemstone.
The Amber Color Scale
- Honey Amber: Light to dark brown tones
- Butterscotch Amber: White and milky
- Citrine Amber: Transparent light yellow
- Cherry Amber: very dark red
- Green Amber: dark green with hints of brown
- Blue Amber: brown with hints of blue
- Black Amber: jet black or black with hints of grey
- Antique Amber: opaque orange, often the oldest amber
Amber is the Perfect Addition to Any Jewelry Box
You can find the perfect shade of amber to fit your tastes. Wear it as protection from illness, or to invite in good luck and positivity.
So, we've answered the question "where does amber come from?" Now we've got a question for you.
Are you dying to get your hands on some amber jewelry? We bet you are.