A treasure of nature
Amber is a fossil resin of organic origin. It comes from the coniferous family (pines, firs, cedars, etc.). That existed 25 to 50 million years ago. Although documented pieces of about 130 million years ago are known.
Its most common color is yellow throughout its tone scale. Its color range is quite wide, green, orange, brown, reddish, and even blue on rare occasions. Opaque or semi-transparent, very light and hard (generally between 2 and 3 on the Mohs scale depending on its origin) and brittle, burning easily, with a good aroma.
Amber Producing Countries
The most appreciated are the Dominican Amber, of great quality and beauty found in the northern part of the island, in Puerto Plata, also known as the Amber Coast, which has an important museum dedicated to the iconic Gem.
Also in America is the Mexican Amber, known as Chiapas Amber, which is found in the state of Chiapas itself, where the largest production in all of Mexico is located. It also has an important museum in the town of San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. Mexico.
And in Europe we already have the known Baltic amber, of great importance and quality that is distributed by Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Russia.
There are other countries that produce amber of less importance, such as: Germany, Romania, Lebanon, Sicily (Italy), Canada and Spain, which has several deposits distributed throughout Cantabria, the Basque Country, Burgos and Teruel.
Amber in Jewelry
Currently the main use of amber is destined for the jewelry industry. Their whimsical shapes lend themselves to the creation of unique jewelery, although they have been industrialized for the mass production of rings, pendants, bracelets, necklaces, etc. It provides an important market for designer jewelry in both gold and silver, much appreciated for all the magic that exists around the gem. Its audience is elitist and exclusive, giving added value to our jewel. Depending on the importance of the inclusions , they can command high prices.
The Inclusions in Amber
Another important theme of Amber is the inclusions, which are the organic remains (leaves, flowers, bark remains, insects, etc.) that were sticking to the resin that fell from the trees. On many occasions, insects (mosquitoes, spiders, ants, butterflies, etc.) were trapped in the resin, being previously attracted by its resemblance to honey.
Thanks to the inclusions in amber, important investigations have been carried out by scientists, who have discovered an infinity of extinct species of both plants and animals. Even water droplets and air bubbles have been found. That have produced the knowledge of life millions of years ago. I suppose many of us remember Steve Spielberg’s movie Jurassic Park (1993), based on the science fiction novel by Michael Crichton (1990), which deals with the potential of genetic engineering.
Legend about Amber
In ancient Greece it was known by the name of “electron” because rubbing it with a cloth charges electricity, attracting small particles.
It is said that Christopher Columbus in 1492, when he arrived on the island that he later baptized with the name of “Hispaniola” (currently the Dominican Republic and Haiti) was received on the beach by the indigenous people of the place and he was taken along with his Entourage in the presence of the King, offering a necklace of Baltic Amber in the name of the Catholic Monarchs, (thinking that they had reached the Indies) in return received a pair of shoes decorated with Dominican Amber.
How to detect natural Amber
The word amber comes from Arabic, which means “what floats in the sea.”
The very meaning of its origin reveals a formula for knowing the authenticity of amber. Another more modern is to illuminate it with an ultraviolet light. Authentic amber increases its beauty as its colors are revived and acquire fluorescent tones, while imitations look dark and lifeless. Although there are good imitations in which it is mixed, plastic or synthetic resin with amber powder and the lighting effect can confuse us. Although we already know that if we deposit it in seawater, it will float if it is authentic, while if it sinks we will know that it is an imitation or false. (I was able to verify it in the Amber Museum of Puerto Plata, in the Dominican Republic.)
A home method that I recommend is that you try at home with a machine lamp to detect counterfeit bills. If you have any amber pendant or ring. You go into a dark room, and if it is authentic you will notice immediately. However, for the other system you have to have sea water, which for those who do not have the sea nearby you will have to bring the water in a plastic bottle. And if it sinks, you know. Be careful, amber must not have any metal, or thread, or anything, otherwise it will sink anyway, even if it is authentic.