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And for those who are here for the facts, here it goes - 10 interesting facts about our beloved amber!
1. Amber is a gem, but not a gemstone.
Since amber is a hardened resin of certain trees, fossilized over long periods of time, it is clear – amber is not a mineral. The right classification for organic gems like amber, coral, and pearl is gem material, not a gemstone.
2. The Baltic region is the largest amber deposits in the world.
The Royal Society published a botanical paper that estimates that over
105 tons of Baltic amber were produced by Palaeogene forests in northern Europe,
making this the largest single known deposit of fossilized plant resin. By the way, Baltic amber is also considered to be the highest quality, with the best preservation of anatomical detail of fossil insects of any age.
3. Amber once was a part of a tree’s immune system.
This doesn’t sound so strange when we think about how amber formed. When a tree is punctured or scratched, the tree releases a sticky substance called resin to seal the wounded area. Over time, chemically stable kinds of resin will harden and form the pretty, translucent version of amber that you are familiar with. Thus amber is the hardened, stable resin of ancient trees.
4. The origin of the word electricity comes from the Greek word for amber.
According to the Swedish Museum of Amber, over 2500 years ago, the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus discovered that when amber was rubbed against cloth, it produced sparks and attracted feathers, husks, and small wooden splinters.
This force was given the name "electricity" after the Greek word electron, which means “amber.”
5. Thanks to amber, multiple extinct species have been identified.
Because of the unique way that amber traps and preserves insects and animals inside it, these finds have helped paleontologists to reconstruct life on earth in its early origins, and more than 1000 extinct species of insects have been identified because of amber.
6. Baltic amber has been found in Egyptian tombs.
The Ancient Egyptians loved amber. There are many reports of amber and other similar resin products being found in tombs dating back to 3200 BCE.
Some scholars think that these resins were intended to represent the “tears of Ra.”
It is believed that the origin of some of this amber has been the Baltic Coast, more than 1500 miles away.
7. Wearing amber jewelry goes back to at least 11,000 BCE.
This amber, which was polished and carved to make jewelry or decorations dating back to 11,000 BCE, has been found at archeological sites in England. It was used to make varnish as long ago as 250 BCE and powdered amber were used in incense.
8. The oldest amber is 320 million years old.
The vast majority of amber is younger than 90 million years old, but there are examples that are much older. In 2009, researchers discovered a 320-million-year-old piece of amber in an Illinois coal mine, which unexpectedly was very similar to more modern resins. This discovery completely upended the entire early evolutionary history of plants and showed resins were much older than was previously thought.
The oldest animals found trapped in amber date from the Triassic, around 90 million years later.
Despite being 230 million years old, these mites preserved in the amber are strikingly similar to today’s gall mites.
9. Mohammed believed that a true believer would make his praying beads from amber.
Amber was considered to contain magical powers and was, therefore worn as charms to offer protection from evil spirits and witchcraft.
It was acclaimed to possess the power of healing.
10. In astrology, amber is classified as a gemstone for several different signs of the Zodiac for its strength and energy.
It is believed to be Cancer’s birthstone and it's been thought to reflect the energy of the sunniest and warmest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere where it is found.
You might also see amber listed as a birthstone for the astrological sign of Taurus. It fits and aligns with this sign appropriately for the nature lover in the scope of its own earthy origins.
We hope you enjoyed expanding your knowledge about amber.
Hopefully, time will reveal even more interesting facts about this special, million years old resin!