amber created in nature

Breakaway from man-made gemstones and learn how amber is produced naturally.

Before we look at the creation of amber, let’s walk back in history to the age where amber was first appreciated by mankind. For this, we will have to go back really far, all the way to the last part of the Stone Age. Yes! The Neolithic era was marked by the beginning of farming and ended with the appearance of iron, copper and bronze tools. This is the period between 10 000 BC to 2000 BC. It was during this time that amber was first appreciated for its colour and natural beauty.

As far back as the Stone Age may feel… the time period in which amber was created, dates back millions and millions of years ago. The Eocene epoch was between 30 and 50 million years ago. Just to give you an idea, the extinction that saw the demise of non-avian dinosaurs were just about 15 million years before the Eocene epoch. This is how far back you would have to go to witness the creation of Baltic amber.

Rubbing amber in your hands would give you a very good idea of where amber originated from. Although some scientists are still deliberating the specifics of the species, we know that forests of trees belonging to the pine family were responsible for the creation of amber. The closest related tree to these forests known to us today might just be the Japanese umbrella-pine that can grow to up to 24 meters high.

It is these pine tree forests that contributed the very first substance in the process of how amber is formed. The substance was the discharge (or sap) known as ‘resin’ or ‘marrow’.Being a sticky material, to begin with, it also collected plant and animal samples which preserved historical data for modern scientific research.

The next phase in the creation of amber remains with Mother Earth. This stage involved overlying sediments that produced high pressures and temperatures that caused the molecular polymerization of the resin. This is an intermediary state between the original gluey resin and amber, known as ‘copal’. The last phase continued with sustained high pressure and temperature that removed terpenes and resulted in the formation of amber. This is why amber is known as ‘fossilized tree resin’.

The Baltic Sea is nestled between countries like Sweden, Finland, Latvia and Kaliningrad, Russia. It is here on the shores of the Baltic Sea in Kaliningrad Oblast that the journey of amber as created by Mother Nature comes to rest. Ninety percent of the worlds’ amber is found in Kaliningrad Oblast and it plays a major role in their economy.

Today, amber continues its journey in our lives. It started before iron tools were popular and it will remain worthy of appreciation for centuries to come.

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