Meaning: Powers attributed to amber include love, strength, luck, healing, and protection, calming for hyperactivity and stressed nerves, finds humour and joy. Legend says that Amber was believed to provide magicians and sorcerers with special enhanced powers.
What is Amber?
Amber, which is in fact a fossil, is often held in the same class as semi-precious stones such as turquoise and jade because of its ornamental uses. Amber is neither a crystal nor a mineral. It is an organic, the hardened sap of an ancient tree. It started out as resin secreted to heal a wound. The resin protected the tree from a certain death by making a sticky, protective barrier against fungus. When the tree eventually fell and began to decay, the sap remained. Buried under layers of vegetation, earth and, sometimes, water, the sap continued to harden from the pressure and heat that naturally builds up in such conditions. This fossilized resin is the final product of millions of years of slow processing. Most of the amber that exists today is between 30 and 90 million years old. Amber ranges from pale yellow, to deep orange, to milky white in hue.
Amber often appears to contain ‘bits’, these are called inclusions. These bits are usually water droplets that have become trapped in the resin as it fossilised, however sometimes insects or leaves can be seen. Amber increases in value with the rarity and perfection of the entrapped object. Complete insect specimens are rare though and command top price.
Where does amber come from?
Amber can be found across the world but the largest known deposits of amber originate from the European Baltic Sea. Large deposits of amber can also be found in Myanmar (previously known as Burma) and the Dominican Republic.
How to care for amber
Amber is relatively soft and can be scratched easily. Rings and wrist-wear with Amber stones should be worn with care. To clean your amber jewellery, wet a cloth with warm (not hot) water and wipe away any surface oil or dirt from the amber stone. Amber should be kept away from direct sunlight as this can affect the colour of your amber, so take it off if you’re hitting the beach. Keep Amber away from chemicals such as cleaning products or chlorine.