Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Natural Beauty Of Amber

Many people think of the 1990s blockbuster Jurassic Park when they hear the word "amber," but this lovely gem's appeal reaches much farther back than the 90s. Amber jewelry has been traced back as far as the Stone Age and the ancient Greeks thought amber was formed by the sun. Found predominantly near the Baltic Sea and the Dominican Republic, amber comes in several different colors and is sold in several different forms.

Amber comes in shades of white, yellow, red, green, blue, and black, and those who produce and appreciate it are almost as diverse. Amber is fossilized tree resin (not sap), which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, sold raw, in slabs, in polished specimens, and as jewelry.
While some of it washes up on shore or in seaweed, much of it is mined from the so-called "blue earth" of Kaliningrad Oblast. Baltic Amber is used to make bracelets, broaches, necklaces, earrings, and other pieces of jewelry. Some of the Jurassic Park-style trapped organism specimens are found in Baltic Amber, but the majority are found in a less mature version of fossilized tree resin known as copal and in Dominican Amber.

The Ancients established what they referred to as the "Amber Road," an amber trade route that ran from Europe to Asia and back. This figurative road transported the finest Baltic Amber to eager Greeks and Romans. Today, Baltic Amber is still the most widely used amber for jewelry because of its fine coloring and its high level of succinic acid (from which Baltic Amber derives its Latin name of succinite).
Dominican Amber is clearer than most Baltic Amber specimens and is thus best for viewing trapped organisms and other traces of organic matter. There are some truly outstanding examples of insects and even the rare vertebrate entrapped in Dominican Amber that can quite often sell for more than the average piece of Baltic Amber jewelry. Dominican Amber can be used for jewelry as well, although its pure, clear color is not usually as highly desired as is the more opaque Baltic Amber. It is often mined by the dangerous method of bell pitting which leads to high on-the-job risk.

The rarest type of amber is Blue Amber, which is a type of Dominican Amber. In order to see this amber as blue, the light must hit it a certain way. For this reason, Blue Amber is often sold in a rough, natural form. Other types of amber can be sold in the rough form as well either for the appeal of the roughness or of the ability to shape the rough amber into a design of the owner's choosing.
Chiapas Amber comes from Mexico and is not as readily available as Baltic or Dominican Amber. Known for its purity of color and relative youth, it makes beautiful amber jewelry when available.
Touchstone Gallery of Arizona and New Mexico has a wide selection of beautiful amber jewelry for sale. These bracelets, rings, earrings and amber necklaces are made of high-quality Baltic Amber.  These pieces exemplify their company purpose, which states, "We love and sell minerals, fossils and jewelry! We offer amazing merchandise at fair prices in a unique and fun atmosphere." Each of the four Touchstone Gallery locations can be contacted by anyone who is interested in one of their pieces, with contact details available on the website . Touchstone Gallery has locations in Sedona, Scottsdale, Taos and Sante Fe and ships anywhere in the world.

1 comment:

  1. Hi

    It is a great piece of information, i really like it. In the Ancient times, amber also served many medicinal purposes. In cultural festivities, amber has been used for fragrances and incense as well. It has been noted for its delightful pinewood fragrance.