Based purely on how it is formed, amber is perhaps one of the most interesting gemstones of all.
The stone is not only used in jewellery, it’s also used in a number of different decorative objects and has been popular for hundreds of years. Plus, it’s used as a healing agent in ancient folk medicine.
While it’s found all over the world, certain amber stones are occasionally thought of as being quite rare, given the fact that some of the inclusions contain animal and plant materials.
Intrigued about this particular gemstone? Find out more!
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What Is Amber Stone?
Contrary to popular belief, amber is not a true gemstone. In fact, it’s fossilised tree resin that can range in age from 30 to 90 million years old! This resin is generally found in ancient evergreen trees.
Amber crystals are prized for their warmth and beauty, and have been carved into jewellery pieces, and traded amongst cultures for thousands of years. The oldest piece of amber ever discovered is estimated to be about 320 million years old. Younger amber stones, which yield much lower values, are less than 100,000 years old.
Where Is Amber Found?
Amber can be found all around the world, but the largest deposits used for jewellery making and scientific research can be traced to the Dominican Republic, Europe’s Baltic region and Myanmar.
Interestingly, each region where amber is found represents a different era of the planet’s geological past.
It’s estimated that amber from the Dominican Republic is between 16 and 20 million years old. Baltic amber, which typically includes flies, ants and lizards, is approximately 40 million years old. Burmese amber from Myanmar is roughly 100 million years old.
How Much Is Amber Worth?
Amber gemstones are valued at varying levels and there pricing is dependent on a number of different factors. Opaque pieces of amber are usually relatively affordable, fetching as little as USD 1 for a carat. However, pieces that measure about an inch in size and have insect inclusions can fetch up to USD 195.
The most valuable amber is Burmese amber, as it’s the oldest known to man and is generally much richer in colour. Yellow amber is the most affordable, with golden amber fetching higher prices. Amber that has reddish tones is the most valuable, as it’s believed to be much older. However, oxidation may cause the stone’s colour to change over time too.
How Is Amber Stone Formed?
Amber stones are not gemstones in the traditional sense. Instead, they fall into the category of organic gemstones. Just like their counterparts pearl, ivory and coral, amber forms from natural occurrences in organic matter as opposed to forming in rocks and mineral compounds.
Amber crystals form through the fossilisation of tree resin. Amber resin is not the same as ordinary tree sap. This resin is sourced specifically from the pinus succinifera tree. The fossilisation of amber crystals can be traced back to the Tertiary period of time, making them at least a few million years old.
What makes amber unique is that it can often contain animal and plant fossils. The animals are most commonly mosquitoes and other insects that become trapped in the soft, sticky resin and fossilised over time.
What Is The Rarest Colour Of Amber?
While amber is often thought of as having golden, yellow and occasionally red tones, the rarest colour of amber crystal ever discovered is actually blue. The discovery of blue amber is fairly recent, and it’s only just started appearing in jewellery.
Blue amber is almost exclusively found in the Dominican Republic. Interestingly, it will change colour when a fluorescent light is shone on it. The fluorescents inside of the stone will react to it, and the stone will appear a dazzling shade of bright blue. However, if a white light is shone on it, the same rock will appear yellow or brownish.
Amber Stone Meaning
Amber’s meaning dates back several thousands of years and several cultures have claimed ownership of the gem. The stone has accumulated its fair share of mystical properties. However, perhaps the most popular meaning of the stone can be attributed to Asian cultures. It was considered to be the “soul of the tiger” and regarded as a stone of courage.
Amber’s spiritual meaning is also one of protection and it’s given to travellers to keep them safe on long journeys.
Amber Stone Properties
Amber’s spiritual meaning and properties are extensive, which is why the stone is so coveted. Amber crystals also bring good luck. Some of ambers other healing properties include:
- Relief of headaches
- Clearing the mind
- Boosting immunity
The stone manifests plenty of mental health benefits too, including:
- Balancing emotions
- Eliminating fear
- Dissolving negativity
- Developing patience
- Welcoming wisdom
Who Can Wear Amber Stone?
Anyone can wear amber crystals, but they are highly recommended for those seeking a release of negative energy, mental clarity and protection against erratic emotions.
How Can You Tell Good Quality Amber?
There are plenty of ways to determine whether or not your amber crystal is of good quality. For one, looking at the colour of the stone will give you a good indication of how old or valuable it is on the scale. The darker and richer the colour, the higher the quality of the amber.
To test the authenticity of amber stones, drip acetone nail polish onto a sample piece. If it turns the liquid the colour of amber or gets gooey, it’s likely fake. Acetone won’t harm authentic amber.
How To Polish Amber Stone
Caring for amber stones is easy. Simply use a clean, soft cloth that’s been dampened with hot water to rub the stone and remove any oil or debris. Immediately after, dry the stone with a cloth. You can also use a small amount of olive oil to polish and restore shine to the crystal.
Amber stones are rich in history, easy to care for and have excellent properties, making for a beautiful addition to any gemstone collection. They’re a somewhat spiritual stone that’s stood the test of time and continue to fascinate and make a statement!