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What Exactly Is Baltic Amber?

Jewellery & Watch News

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Amber has been around for a long, long time - millions of years in fact. It’s caused such a stir throughout history due to its popular golden, vibrant colour and unusual markings. Many stories of opulent amber palaces, chariots of fire that race across the sky and a large magical bird were romanticised centuries ago to explain the appearance of the glowing gemstone. However, as we all know there’s a little more science to how Baltic amber is formed and it’s nature’s cycle that we can thank for the beautiful gemstone that features in many jewellery boxes across the globe. 

 

Let’s find out more…

 

Amber’s Origins

 

Amber is fossilised tree resin that was formed millions of years ago. To repair and protect themselves when injured, trees naturally produce resin, which is a light honey coloured sticky substance that covers the hole made by the turbulent weather or animals. Tiny insects become stuck to the tacky resin that oozes out of the tree with many too small to detach themselves - we talk about this in much more detail here. As the resin hardens and is buried underground, the lack of oxygen and the pressure applied turns the substance into amber and the creatures become imprisoned inside the gemstone, frozen in time! This process is known as fossilisation. It’s important to not mistake the resin with sap, which transports nutrients to all areas of the tree. 

 

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The Right Conditions

 

It’s not as easy as it sounds. The conditions and timing have to be just right for amber to form. Regularly resin will solidify but will not be weathered away by nature and therefore will not turn into the beautiful gemstone that fascinates most around the globe. The Baltic region is well known  for the amount of amber that is found in this area, with Gdańsk in particular known as the amber capital.  This is due to the fact that centuries ago, many glaciers wiped out a lot of trees, which became buried - you know the rest! A large amount of the trees were knocked to the ocean floor and would later - a million years later - appear on the shore. If you didn’t know amber floats in salt water  - an easy way to test for authenticity - and therefore pops to the surface and is carried to the sandy beach and found by locals. 

 

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The Beauty of Nature

 

It’s definitely worth the wait. The fascination surrounded with amber is well deserved as it is not only beautiful but the natural process in how it is formed is truly extraordinary. Another impressive trait is that amber has many identities ranging from honey yellow and fiery orange to vivid green and turquoise blue. The shade all depends on how it is formed and where it originates yet they are all incredibly beautiful and wearable works of art. 

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