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Learning Library

Amber Gemstone

What is Amber?

One of a few gems that is organic and is created from fossilised resin of ancient trees.

 Over a period of millions of years and exposure to high temperature and pressure, the compressed resin eventually becomes Amber. Because it floats on salt water, if you take a stroll along the beaches on the East Coast of the UK, there is a small chance that you may discover your own piece of the precious stone washed up on the shore!Interestingly enough, until the mid 19th century this was how most Amber was found, and back then it was appropriately named ‘Seastone’.

Amber’s resin traps all kind of materials, and it is these inclusions which make every piece of Amber unique. The range of inclusions varies from frogs to bugs to leaves; it is not unusual to find a completely preserved fly or insect hidden inside the gem. The wealth of tiny insects trapped inside is due to the fact that when the resin leaked from the tree, it was incredibly sticky as its job was to stop insects from boring into the bark. ‘Jurassic Park’ may have given us an insight into how the world was a long time ago, but for Zoologists and Geologists, Amber is a lot more resourceful and to-date they have identified over one thousand different species of extinct insects purely by studying the gemstone! It really is a most unique gem, providing a visual snapshot of what life was like around 50 million years ago.The gem can be warm to touch and can create static electricity when rubbed. In years gone by its ability to create static was believed by many to be a magical power. In fact the word “electricity” originates from the Greek word for Amber, “electron”. Many people believe that Amber brings good luck and aids well being.

The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania provide much of the Amber set in jewellery today, as well as the popular Caribbean holiday destination, the Dominican Republic. Although predominately a rich orange colour, Amber can also be found in yellow, honey, brown and green.

Although Amber is most commonly found in the Baltics, it has also been discovered in several other locations around the globe. In keeping with other naming conventions for Amber, where Rumanite is named after its origin of Romania, Simetite which is Sicilian in origin; Burmite is the name given to Amber which is found in Burma.

Even though it is popular with local people, Burmite is often cloudy and therefore hides many of its hidden treasures locked within the gem. Therefore it is normally cheaper than those specimens found in Poland and the Baltics. That said, as many people who collect gemstones and jewellery often like to collect these items based on their origin, at The Genuine Gemstone Company we source gems from a wide variety of countries.

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Insect preserved in Amber.

 

 

Raw Amber.