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Amber Inclusions Explained

Jewellery & Watch News

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It’s amber’s inclusions that make the beautiful gemstone so unique - like a snapshot taken over 50 million years ago. Many are fascinated with the unusual markings that differ in every piece and many legends have been romantically recited over the years to explain their presence. Along with the vibrant, glowing colour of yellow amber, the enclosed insects brings a unique appearance to the stone that is very popular in the jewellery industry. 

Centuries ago it was magical myths and stories of love and loss that explained the origins of amber washed up on the shores of Poland however, today we know much more as to why these insects are trapped inside the extraordinary gemstone that captures the attention of scientists. Let us explain… 

 

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The Origins of Amber

 

The best place to start is with the origins of the mesmerising gemstone. Amber is fossilised resin, which is a sticky substance that cleverly protects the tree from insects and fungi. Many tiny creatures and plant debris become entangled and trapped in the resin that begins to harden when there is no access to oxygen. It is an extremely slow process that takes millions of years and is widely known as fossilisation. 

Therefore, the amber inclusions are the insects, spiders and plant remnants that became trapped in the resin before fossilisation. These markings can explain a lot about where that particular piece of amber was formed providing scientists with a time capsule. Peering inside the golden gemstone can reveal a lot about the history of the stone such as the types of insects that were around millions of years ago and their behaviour. Scientists are using amber to uncover more about extinction, conservation and evolution. It really is like as though time has stood still. Inspired by the fascinating amber inclusions, we've designed unique pieces of earrings, bracelets and necklaces that are handcrafted into some of these tiny yet magnificent creatures. 

 

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Ancient Organisms Frozen in Time

 

Some amber inclusions can be very clear where the embedded insects are frozen in time and preserved inside the gemstone. Others unfortunately are less clear. Pieces that feature visible inclusions are rarer than those with incomplete specimens and therefore are more expensive. If a piece of amber includes an unusual insect the price increases dramatically. 

It’s nature’s cycle that allows for ants, flies, mosquitos, spiders, wasps and beetles to be beautifully preserved in this way and is truly fascinating. The inclusions could also be fragments of plants such as leaves, twigs and flowers. It’s hard to believe that this beautiful gemstone is naturally formed in this way over millions of years.  

Another unique trait of amber is that the inclusions can be viewed from all sides, which is very different to other fossils. Usually scientists are only able to study a two-dimensional surface whereas in amber they get a three-dimensional view. Every tiny detail can be admired from the smallest hair to individual scales to veins of wings. It’s only the small insects that inhabit forests that have been identified as prisoners of amber as larger insects can escape the sticky resin that is fatal for those smaller creatures. 

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