History of amber
According to scientists, the Baltic amber – is 50 million years ago during the Eocene period hardened resin of conifers. The accumulated resin was washed by river from the forest soil and banked up south to the sea. Over time, due to oxidation and polymerization processes, fossil resin changed to amber. The Baltic sea amber from the above-mentioned resin of conifers has formed over 2 million years, taking on a variety of forms, colors, and sometimes „giving shelter“ to different fossils.
Amber formation processes are measured according to the natural shape of amber pieces. They can be internal and external in origin. Internal origin amber formed when resin filled cracks inside the tree and also between the bark and the trunk, external – resin richly flowing from the violated areas.
Since ancient times the amber was gathered along the beaches and sandbanks, where it had been thrown by the sea.
Beginning from the XVIII century and especially in the XIX century, the amber was collected from the sea by diving. However, this method of obtaining amber was still not suitable for collecting large amounts, as it was quite dangerous.
Nowadays the amber is mined both from the sea-bed as well as from the ground. From the sea-bead, it is scooped with the boats, similar to the boats-hedgehog. The most productive method of obtaining amber is mining from the ground with special machinery.
In Jantarnis the amount of obtained amber has increased significantly. Annually in Jantarnis, there are mined 400 tons of amber.
Amber‘s characteristics, beauty, and value
Amber pine resin, while flowing and hardening, has been exposed to different temperatures and weather conditions. Depending on the environment in which this resin hardened, it resulted in inappropriate chemical and physical characteristics. Therefore, even in the same place find will not find two identical, they all differ in shape and color.
According to scientists, „the color of amber was influenced by the changes occurred at leaked resin: the volatile elements which vaporized from clear resin could form some gas microbubbles, which „muddled“ the resin (the yellow amber). As the process was extremely intense it could determine the formation of a large amount of these bubbles (up to 1 million) and thus formed the white amber. Black amber formed when resin strongly mixed with the soil, green amber – with the plant fractions.
The yellowness of amber and its shading are various and very rich with nuances – from pale yellow to red. Amber is also found in white, ivory, and even green, blue. Amber color can be modified by either dyeing or heating it.
Amber is valued not only for its golden color, various shades but also for different light permeability. As amber pieces are of uneven shapes, hence the light beams break in them unevenly and due to amber impurities compose beautiful sights effects of all kinds.
The clear amber – one of the most valuable types; valued for the high level of transparency, beautiful yellow color of varying intensity.
In the influence of alcohol or ether, amber resolves into succinic acid, resin, and other materials. It softens at a temperature of 150°C, melts at a temperature of 350-375°C. While fuming it has a pleasant smell and therefore in the Middle Ages it was used in frankincense.
Amber is light, fragile, relatively soft, making it easy to polish. It is pervious to electric stream, rubbed into the wooly material, it is electrified and retain an electrical.
Amber is used in jewelry.
Amber in medicine
Amber has also been used as a healing agent in folk medicine. Amber has been used to relieve aches and heal rheumatism.
Nowadays, when cosmetology and especially medicine is slowly but surely returning to the eco-friendly organic materials given by nature itself, it raises the popularity of amber and its components in medicines, nutritional additives, and cosmetics production.