Amber Origin & Physical Properties

Amber is a fossilized tree resin, a remnant of Earth’s ancient forests. For thousands of years, Amber, “Gold of the Sea” has been treasured around the world and used as for trade. Amber is one of the few gemstones that are derived from organic vegetative substances, being the fossilized resin from forests aged from 30- 150 million years old. Amber’s heterogeneous composition consists of various resinous substances and hydrocarbons that over millions of years and under high pressure polymerized to form the amber that we know today.

Amber comes in a variety of colors including black, brown, yellow, green, red and blue, although the more popular and sought after Baltic Amber has warm and rich shades of yellow, red, orange and gold with high transparency and translucency.

The resin that oozed from these prehistoric trees quite often trapped small insects, leaves, debris, and pollen, beautifully preserving them for millions of years. Amber nodules containing preserved specimens are treasured by collectors and offer today’s scientists a fascinating data library of our biological history.

Amber Gemstone Properties
Category Properties
 Chemical Composition  C12H20O
 Mohs Hardness   2 - 2.5
 Luster  Resinous
 Specific Gravity  1.06 - 1.1
 Refractive Index  1.5 - 1.6
 Fluorescence   bluish white to yellow green
 Crystal System  Amorphous 
 Inclusions   Flow lines, gas bubbles, small organisms, plant fragments, insects, stress spangles
 Color  Yellow, white, red, green, blue, brown, black
 Origin  Baltic Sea, Dominican Republic, Myanmar, Peru
 Chakra   Solar Plexus
 Zodiac   The fire energy of Amber is associated with Leo
 Element  Water, Earth
 Mental & Emotional Effects  Calming, stress-relief, mental clarity, mood balancer
 Physical Effects  Detoxification, physical protection, breathing issues, pain relief, digestion 
 Spiritual Properties  Removes negative energies, attune to ancient knowledge

Amber Healing & Metaphysical Properties

Amber History

Amber is found all around the world mainly in prehistoric lignite layers and quite often together with coal. But the finest is considered to be Baltic amber, and 90% of the world’s amber is extracted from the Kaliningrad Oblast locality of Russia. Amber can often be found along the coasts of countries that border the Baltic Sea where wild storms produce strong currents that rip out amber pieces from the sea bed and deposit them on beaches.  How long Amber has been used by humans is not exactly known but this golden resin has mesmerized and enchanted people at least since Neolithic times.

Amber jewelry has been found dating back to 13,000 B.C. and hundreds of Neolithic burial sites have been found in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia containing Amber. Baltic Amber has been discovered in Egyptian tombs dating back to 3200 B.C. It has therefore been a lucrative trading commodity for thousands of years and was known as ‘Gold from the North’ during the Viking era. The  Intricate and precious silver and gold jewelry and ornaments have been discovered in Egypt, Greece, Rome and China dating back thousands of years. Its warm colored beauty, transparency, softness and amorphous structure make it an excellent medium for fine detailed carving. Chinese carvings of Burmese amber, known as Burmite, date back 2000 years.

The word Amber is derived from the Arabic word for Ambergris, ambar, a similarly colored substance derived from Sperm whales that was used in perfumery. Like ambergris, amber also floats in seawater and when burned or heated exudes a resinous perfume, so it was possibly mistaken as solidified ambergris when it was washed up on sea shores. Amber when rubbed gets charged with static electricity and is able to attract light objects. The Greek name for amber was ηλεκτρον (electron) and was connected to the Sun God, one of whose titles was Elector. The modern terms ‘electricity’ and "electron" derive from the Greek word for Amber.

Amber in Mythology

Amber features in many myths and legends including Greek, Norse, and Lithuanian. In Greek mythologya amber is formed by the tears wept by the three sisters of Phaeton, the son of the sun god Phoebus, who was slain by Zeus after nearly causing the destruction of the planet by driving the sun chariot too close to Earth. Phaeton’s body fell into the River Eridanus and after his three sisters found his body they wept day and night, vowing to stay by his side, whereupon they were transformed into trees, and as their tears continued to flow they hardened in the sun and turned to amber.

In Lithuanian myth it is the tears of the mermaid Jurate that turn to amber. She weeps amber tears for the lost love of the fisherman Kastytis, killed by a lightning bolt sent by Perkunas, God of Thunder, who was angry that the immortal Jurate was in love with a mere mortal, especially when she was promised to the god of water, Patrimpas. Now her amber palace at the bottom of the Baltic Sea slowly disintegrates during wild storms and her tear drops form the clearest and finest pieces.

In Norse mythology it is the tears of Freya who wanders in eternity in search of her husband Odur, who ran away after Freya lost her self control and committed adultery in order to obtain the precious and beautiful amber necklace known as Brisingamen. When her tears touch the sea they are transformed into amber.