Amber word in English is used to refer to either color or gemstone. When Amber is used to refer to the color it means that this color is similar to orange-yellow. Also this word can denote to gemstone, which was formed within time from natural fossil resin. This particular word is thought to be derived from Arabic language.
Since natural resin that Amber was formed from was sticky it often happened that it trapped various insects, pine needles and etc. As a result Amber stones and jewelry made from this gemstone contain various imperfections, bubbles, plant parts as well as insects that are valued highly by admirers of this natural gemstone. The fact that Amber contains insects from many years ago has helped scientist a lot. They were able to identify more than one thousand different species of insects that are already extinct these days.
The other interesting fact about Amber is that you need about 150 degrees in order to decompose it. At the time of being burned it starts to give off a smell, which is similar to pine trees.
Most of the Amber that originates from Columbia or Madagascar is less than 10 thousand years. Since it is not as old as Baltic Amber many refer to it as Copal, which means that it is significantly younger and softer version of Amber. The oldest Amber originates either from Dominican Republic or Baltic Sea region. It’s age vary between 25-40 million years and it is one of the most valued types of Amber.
The chemical formula of Amber is C10H16O + H2S. From this formula a conclusion can be drawn that this gemstone consists of Hydrogen, Oxygen as well as Carbon.
When Amber is being rubbed against the other item it is able to produce electrical charge. For this reason this natural resin is known to have electrostatic properties. Greeks noticed these Amber features a while ago and the name of Amber in their language even means electron.
While most people associate Amber with yellow-orange color this gemstone can be found in other natural colors too. Some of these colors are Green, Cherry, Honey, Milky and Cognac. While these are the most common colors others tend to distinguish even up to 200 different shades. These colors vary based on the conditions that Amber was formed. The components that are found in this natural resin can also influence the color of Amber. As with any gemstone the price of Amber tends to be more expensive with rare colors.
For many years Amber was made into jewelry, amulets, various beads and other type of ornaments. It was highly valued material throughout the years and it was even believed to have healing as well as magical powers. Throughout the Roman times, the price of even a small Amber amulet was sometimes higher than compared with price of a slave.
During large celebrations and festivals it was a customary to burn Amber in China. All this action not only indicated that the host of celebration was wealthy, but it also was a way of showing respect for the guests.
Amber is very popular material for making various rosaries and prayer beads. For instance Mohammed mentioned that a real believer should have prayer beads that would be made from Amber.
Nowadays many people value Amber and jewelry made of it because it tends to be warm against the skin. Most of other glass based beads or minerals doesn’t have this property so jewelry made from them are not as warm to wear around the skin.
Just like with most gemstones, Amber is quite often imitated and man-made. In case you want to test if a particular Amber piece is natural or fake there are many tests that can be done. From all of these test one of the easiest ones to do is Flotation test. To do this test you need to mix water with some salt and add Amber piece into this water. If this piece doesn’t sink it means it is natural Amber and if it sinks it means that it is a possible imitation of Amber. While this test is useful for novices usually more tests are needed in order to make more scientific determination. Due to Amber’s ability to float in salty water it is not too difficult to find raw Amber pieces washed up from the sea after larger storms.
Based on research, Amber contains quite large quantities of Succinic Acid (~3-8%). This acid is known to have analgesic properties and for this reason these features are quite commonly attributed to Amber too. Since the largest amounts of Succinic Acid are found in external layer of this natural resin it thought that it is being released into human body once Amber is worn close to the skin for long time. Due to this Amber Jewelry is quite commonly promoted as being beneficial for health too. Some of the most frequently mentioned benefits of Amber are enhancement of immune system and healing, lessening of pain associated with conditions like Rheumatism & Arthritis. Also this natural gemstone is believed to help overcome anxiety, minimize stress as well as eliminate negative energy from the whole body.