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Natural Amber Stones

Updated on June 23, 2010

Amber Jewelry

Amber has been used for thousands of years by humans, possibly longer than any other gem material. It was familiar to Paleolithic peoples and to the Romans and Greeks, who used it extensively in jewelry. Amber pendants and beads were found in Northern Europe gravesites dating back to 8000B.C.E. Amber is very soft, between 2-3 according to Mohs scale of hardness, therefore it can be scratched easily. Rings and bracelets with amber cabochons should be worn with extra care to prevent maring the stone. Store them separately from your other jewelry.

Natural Amber

Amber Inclusions
Amber Inclusions

Amber - Window To The Past

Deposits of amber have been found that range between 350 and one million years old and belong between the geological periods of Carboniferous and Pleistocene. As sticky resin oozed from ancient pine trees, feathers, plant material, small insects and other objects in the path of the flow became entraped. Over time, the resin was encased in debris and dirt and through a process of pressure and heat it fossilized to become amber. In some of the finer specimens, whole termite colonies are trapped and this offers a remarkable view into the past. Besides the termites, a variety of beetles, mites, spiders and other insects can be in a single specimen. They have chambers created with webbing. Some of its "room" are clearly nurseries, complete with egg sacks. Any clearly visible insect makes a piece highly valuable.

In order to identify amber, some ancient techniques are still useful today. Rub the stone vigorously on a piece of wool and it will generate a static charge, enough to attract a small piece of ash (great for entertaining inquisitive children). It also gives off a distinctive odor when it is warm enough. In order to be called as an amber, its resin must be several million years old. Recently hardened resins are called copals. Jurassic Park made amber famous! The movie and the book used the idea that amber containing ancient mosqiuto might be the key to recreating dinosaurs. The main goal was to remove blood from the gut of mosqiuto which had fed on a dinosaur just before being traped in tree resin which later became amber. Scientists have begun to study the insects preserved in amber in recent years to learn more about past history. That is why amber is sometimes referred to as a "window to the past".

Uses of Amber

This gem comes in many different colors, with the most common being brown, yellow and orange. Rarely, you will find amber with a blue, green or violet tint. This is due to extreme fluorescence. Jewelry is made almost exclusively from the transparent material. There are several grades of transparency and several shades of these colors. The opaque material is carved into a variety of useful utensils and artistic ornaments. Amber is also used as an ingredient in perfumes and even burned as incense. Most amber used in jewelry is from the region of Baltic Sea or the Dominican Republic. Amber is also found off the coasts of Sicily, England and in Myanmar (Burma).

Amber Healing Properties

The Amber gemstone is one of the birthstones listed for the zodiac Sign of Taurus. Amber is excellent for glandular swellings of the lungs and throat and for eyes. Amber balances endocrine and digestive network. Amber is considered as lucky stone, it is associated with time, cycles and longevity. It is said to help mental stimulation, healing energy and balance aggresive traits. It is also believed by many people that amber can attract spiritual forces, heightens instincts, promotes humor and adaptability, brings soul mate, enhances artistic qualities, relieves grief, overcome obstacles, brings greater awareness of inner self and provide strength and conveys harmony.

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