About 90% of the world’s amber comes from the Baltic Region of Poland, Latvia and Estonia and Russia. It is estimated that the forests of 44 million years ago produced 100,000 tons of amber. The structure of Baltic Amber makes it dense, hard and allows for the impressive preservation of plants and animals stuck in it. Predominantly yellow in color, Baltic Amber can also be orange or brown. Baltic Amber is prized because of its clarity and the preservation of inclusions.
Baltic Amber comes from the coast of the costs of Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Sweden. These countries account for ninety percent of the worlds commercially produced amber. It is thought to have formed about 44 million years ago. It is medium hardness for amber, making it highly desirable for use in carving and jewelry making.
How Is Baltic Amber Obtained?
Most baltic amber is mined. Mines in the Kaliningrad Oblast region of Russia and Poland produce hundreds of tons annually. Amber floats in salt water, so it is also easily found on the beaches of the Baltic Sea. Historically this was the greatest source of amber. This is how amber was procured prior to the industrial revolution and the advent of modern mining methods.
What Color Is Baltic Amber?
Baltic Amber varies in color from pale yellow, orange, red, brown and even black. Its clarity can vary from translucent to completely opaque. It varies in fluorescence from almost none to medium brightness.
Legends Of How Baltic Amber Was Formed?
There are many historic stories of how Baltic Amber formed. Romans described it as the crystalized tears of Clymene and her daughter mourning the death of her son. To other groups it was rays of the sun that solidified when they hit the earth. To early Norse cultures it was thought to be the solidified urine of lynx. Darker urine was from males and lighter from females.
What Were Historic Uses Of Baltic Amber?
Historically Baltic amber has been used in jewelry, art, architecture and medicine. The Romans used it to cure eye and ear problems, soar throats and stomach ailments. Persians melted amber into a syrup to stop spasms and other ailments. Martin Luther even carried a pebble in his pocket to ward off kidney problems.
Baltic Amber has been found in such great quantity, it has been used architecturally. The grandest use of amber was in The Amber Room at Catherine Palace in Pushkin, Russia. The room was made from several tons of amber. Called the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Amber Room was looted by Nazis in WWII and now exists only in a replica. Another example of amber architecture is the alter at The Church of Saint Brygida, Gdansk Poland.
How Do You Tell If Baltic Amber Is Authentic?
Amber might be the most frequently faked fossil. With the invention of plastics it has become even easier. Sometimes holes will even be drilled in real amber, modern insects added and the holes filled in with resin. Be very suspicious of large insects and other fossils preserved in amber, as larger insects can typically struggle free.
For those interested in purchasing amber, determining authenticity is important. To determine if the amber you are interested in buying is authentic first, buy only from reputable dealers. If you still are not sure the amber you are interested in is authentic, simply rub it on a natural cloth and see if it builds a static charge. If it does it is likely authentic. if it does not, it is not. Amber will also heat quickly when held in the hand.
How Rare Are Insect Preserved In Baltic Amber?
Even in locations where amber is found in large quantity, preserved insects, particularly identify-able ones can be quite rare. For example only about 1 in 1000 pieces of Baltic Amber may have an insect in it, and out of those maybe only 10% may be preserved well enough to be identified.
Washington state has now joined over a dozen other states to put in place “shelter in place” or “stay at home” orders. While we agree this is the correct course of action, it will have a substantial impact on our business. It effectively shuts down much of our company for several weeks.
We will continue taking orders on our website and we will have a single staff member at our warehouse to facilitate shipping of these new orders. Depending on the order volume this may mean that we do experience some shipping delays, particularly with large or fragile items that require more packaging time.
These shutdowns are particularly devastating to all small businesses who don’t have significant cash reserves and rely on constant cash flow to pay their fixed expenses (payroll, rent, loan payments, etc) We hope that you will continue to support us and satisfy your fossil fix during these trying times.