Amber is fossil tree resin solidified after million of years burial in the ground or sea-bed. It is formed by a chain reaction over a long period of time triggered by heat and pressure. Molecular Polymerisation turns the resin initially into Copal and as Turpenes evaporate, gradually into amber. Succinic acid is found in amber from the Baltic regions which is why Baltic Amber is sometimes known as Succinite. The largest deposits of Succinite are to be found along the Baltic Sea-shores in sands approximately 50,000,000 years old. Indonesia is a rich source of some of the worlds largest and most attractive samples of Amber.
Properties of Amber
Amber can be found in many shapes and shades. It is found in a variety of yellow shades with traces of brown, orange and occasionally red. Bone amber is also found which is an opaque Milky-white. The cloudiness of some amber is caused by the entrapment of air and gas bubbles. It is an amorphous hydrocarbon and lot of species of plants and insects are sometimes trapped in the amber. Its lustre is almost like plastic from which it can be distinguished by pricking it with a red hot pin. (the plastic will give off a black smoke and smell like burning oil) A more modern technique of identifying amber uses infrared spectroscopy to identify the fossilised components of the item. For example Mexican amber is sometimes related to the Hymenaea tree .
The images are of one of the most magnificent samples of amber to be recently found. To view more see our page on the largest amber in Europe
The Amber in our Jewellery
The Bangles, bracelets,necklaces,and beads found on this site are all made from real amber and not Copal. Neither is it Amberoid, which is made by pressing together layers of amber. Parallel layers or bands can be seen in amberoid which assists distinguishing it from natural amber.
Caution - not for teething babies.
In recent times amber has been sold under the pretence that it can be used for helping teething babies. This is not true. Amber is not a safe substance for a baby to chew on and among many factors it is also a choking hazard.