Amber – Sunstone
Amber is also called “a piece of sun in the palm of your hand”. Amber is a hard, yellowish, and often see-through substance that formed from tree resin. The resin that formed amber came from trees that grew millions of years ago. Over time these trees and their resin became buried beneath Earth’s surface. The trees eventually disappeared. But the resin hardened further, until it became amber.
Many pieces of amber contain the remains of insects or plants in the form of fossils. These living things were trapped in the resin before it hardened into amber.
Most of amber comes from the shores of the Baltic Sea in northern Europe.
Ancient people valued amber for its beauty. They used it to make beads and carvings. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that amber had magical and healing properties.
Amber has long been considered a valuable material for making amulets and cost a lot of money. Pliny the Elder complained that a figure of amber was more expensive than a slave. Gladiators wore amber amulets, believing that they bring good luck. The wife of Emperor Nero was so fond of jewelry made of amber that the Roman tyrant sent his merchants to the North for the Baltic amber. Fashion for amber long dominated in ancient Rome, women even dyed their hair in the color of amber.
In the Middle Ages, amber was ground into dust and ingested with medicinal herbs to expel evil spirits. This stone is a reliable protector against dangers and misfortunes.
In 1709, masters created the fabulous Amber Room that served as the study of the Prussian King Friedrich I. Its walls were covered with polished amber mosaic. The amber panels, 65 square yards of them in all, were supplemented by fretwork in relief, with designs of coats of arms, monograms, and garlands of flowers. Picture frames, bas reliefs and sculptures were all done in amber.
A few years later the Prussian king presented the Amber Room to Peter the Great of Russia. Then in 1755, the Russian architect Rastrelli was ordered by Czarina Elizabeth to restore it and install it in a salon of the new imperial palace at Tsarskoye Selo, near St. Petersburg. During World War II The Amber Room was stolen by Germans and moved to Konigsberg but then it disappeared. The Amber Room still has to be found. In 2003 for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg specialists completely restored the Amber Room, using Kaliningrad amber. Germany also sent funds to restore the room.
– The largest amber in the world is in the Amber Museum in Copenhagen. When it was found, the weight of amber was about 80 kg.
– A piece of amber, which is supposedly 25 million years old, was found in 2014 by miners from West Sumatra. Now its weight is 47.5 kg, and its dimensions are 57.5 x 62 x 37 cm.
– Burmese amber, which weighs 15 kg 250 g, is in the Museum of Natural History in London.
– There are more than 300 colors of amber. This gem can be yellow, red, orange white, green and blue. Blue amber can be found only in three countries on our planet – Mexico, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
– Baltic amber was found in Egyptian tombs. Some believe that amber was used as a symbol of the tears of the god Ra. Amber also decorated the crown of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun.
– People used amber to create jewelry as early as 11 000 BC.
– The oldest amber is 320 million years old.
– To distinguish real amber from fake, you just need to immerse the object in salt water. Natural amber, immersed in a glass of water with 2-3 tbsp. of salt, will come up, and the forgery will go to the bottom.