Amber is not technically a crystal, but it has been used as a gemstone since ancient times. Amber is hardened resin from prehistoric tree sap. The ancient trees were like today’s pines and spruce trees. The different types of prehistoric trees created over 200 different types of Amber.
Amber is fossilized after the extinction of the dinosaurs, so unlike the movie Jurassic, we can not extract dinosaur DNA from it! The oldest Amber is from Myanmar from the Eocene Period about 50 million years ago. The youngest Amber is from the Baltic region in the Oligoscene Epoch about 34-23 million years ago. Catherine the Great’s Russian Palace featured a magnificent Amber Room, the 8th wonder of the world, which is totally lined with cut Amber. It was destroyed in World War II and restored from 1982-2003.
Like Obsidian, Amber findings help archaeologists discover ancient trade routes. Amber is often found with lignite coal (also known as Jet crystal), which is the fossilized remains of trees and plants.
Although Amber has been hardening for millions of years, it is brittle and easily scratched, only a 1-3 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Amber can preserve delicate insects with exquisite detail where they would be crushed in other types of fossils.
What is Ambroid? Pressed Amber (or Ambroid) is heated bits of Amber welded together, so it has the same properties of Amber, but it is not in its natural formation.
What is Copal? Copal comes from living tropical trees or from the soil by the trees. It has the same hardness as Amber but dissolves in alcohol. Buried Copal is indistinguishable from Amber because it is hardened and fossilizing the same way as Amber.
- Amber connects us with nature, therefore it is great for grounding to physical reality
- Amber helps us to see the humor in life. Give it when you want to lighten the mood in your relationships.
- Use in crystal grids, meditation or as jewelry to strengthen your memory.
- Keep a small piece to help in times of decision making.
- Drink as a gem elixir for a natural antibiotic and to strengthen the abdominal.
Testing for real Amber
- Amber does not dissolve in Alcohol (Copal does)
- Amber will be scratched by a pin (glass and most plastics won’t)
- Amber floats in salt water and sinks in plain water
- Amber creates static electricity – rub it hard with a cloth and it will pick up tiny scraps of paper (most plastics don’t)
- Amber has a piney smell when burned (plastic will smell like burnt plastic!) and can be burned as incense.
- Amber is a poor conductor of heat, so it is usually warm to the touch whereas glass other crystals are cold.
Surface Color:Yellow, Brown, Red
Streak Color: (can vary from surface color, this is the color of the crystals’ powdered minerals): White
Cleavage (where the crystal breaks off naturally to form a new face,parallel to its structure. This is a clean break and can cleave over and over again along the same face, retaining the crystals structure): None
Fracture (where you break the crystal not on a natural cleavage): Conchoidal (clam-like fracture which looks like broken glass)
Transparency: Transparent (light flows through crystal unobstructed) to Translucent (light flows through crystal but with obstructions)
Crystal System: NoneCrystal Habit: Amorphous (no particular formation)
Only a small percentage of Amber is used in jewelry, the rest is used for Pressed Amber or technical purposes like making varnishes, lacquer, ink and linoleum.Natural, untreated Amber (not Copal) is expensive. Copal and treated Amber can be injected with insects to look like natural Amber. Make sure to buy from a trusted seller or do the tests for real Amber if you are concerned.