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{{Other uses}}{{pp|small=yes}}{{short description|Fossilized tree resin}}{{Use dmy dates|date=March 2013}}File:amber.pendants.800pix.050203.jpg|thumb|Pendants made of amber. The oval 52|by|32|mm|in|frac=4|abbr=on}}.(File:Amber2.jpg|thumb|An ant inside Baltic amber)File:Bernsteinzimmer01.jpg|thumb|The Amber Room in the Catherine Palace, Saint Petersburg was reconstructed using new amber from KaliningradKaliningrad(File:Amber Bernstein many stones.jpg|thumb|right|Unpolished amber stones)(File:Amber miners2.jpg|thumb|Extracting Baltic amber from Holocene deposits, Gdansk, Poland)Amber is fossilized tree resin, which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of decorative objects."Amber" (2004). In Maxine N. Lurie and Marc Mappen (eds.) Encyclopedia of New Jersey, Rutgers University Press, {{ISBN|0813533252}}. Amber is used in jewelry. It has also been used as a healing agent in folk medicine.There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents. Because it originates as a soft, sticky tree resin, amber sometimes contains animal and plant material as inclusions.NEWS, St. Fleur, Nicholas, That Thing With Feathers Trapped in Amber? It Was a Dinosaur Tail,weblink 8 December 2016, The New York Times, 8 December 2016, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 December 2016, dmy-all, Amber occurring in coal seams is also called resinite, and the term ambrite is applied to that found specifically within New Zealand coal seams.Poinar GO, Poinar R. (1995) The quest for life in amber. Basic Books, {{ISBN|0-201-48928-7}}, p. 133


The English word amber derives from Arabic (cognate with Middle Persian ambarA Concise Pahlavi Dictionary, D N MacKenzie, Oxford University Press, 1971 {{webarchive|url= |date=3 December 2012 }}, {{ISBN|0 19 713559 5}}) via Middle Latin ambar and Middle French ambre. The word was adopted in Middle English in the 14th century as referring to what is now known as ambergris (ambre gris or "grey amber"), a solid waxy substance derived from the sperm whale. In the Romance languages, the sense of the word had come to be extended to Baltic amber (fossil resin) from as early as the late 13th century. At first called white or yellow amber (ambre jaune), this meaning was adopted in English by the early 15th century. As the use of ambergris waned, this became the main sense of the word.{{OEtymD|amber}} and {{OED|amber}}The two substances ("yellow amber" and "grey amber") conceivably became associated or confused because they both were found washed up on beaches. Ambergris is less dense than water and floats, whereas amber is too dense to float, though less dense than stone.see: Abu Zaid al Hassan from Siraf & Sulaiman the Merchant (851), Silsilat-al-Tawarikh (travels in Asia).{{clarify|date=September 2013}}
The classical names for amber, Latin electrum and Ancient Greek (ēlektron), are connected to a term ἠλέκτωρ (ēlektōr) meaning "beaming Sun".Homeric (Iliad 6.513, 19.398). The feminine being later used as a name of the Moon.BOOK, King, Rev. C.W., The Natural History of Gems or Decorative Stones, Cambridge (UK), 1867, 315,weblink live,weblink" title="">weblink 29 September 2007, dmy-all, The derivation of the modern term "electric" from the Greek word for amber dates to the 1600 (Latin electricus "amber-like", in De Magnete by William Gilbert). BOOK, Heilbron, J.L., Electricity in the 17th and 18th Centuries: A Study of Early Modern Physics, University of California Press, 1979, 169, 978-0-520-03478-5,weblink .The word "electron" (for the fundamental particle) was coined in 1891 by the Irish physicist George Stoney whilst analyzing elementary charges for the first time. WEB,weblink Aber, Susie Ward, Emporia State University, Welcome to the World of Amber, 11 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 28 April 2007, live, . WEB,weblink Origin of word Electron,, 30 July 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 November 2010, dmy-all, According to myth, when Phaëton son of Helios (the Sun) was killed, his mourning sisters became poplar trees, and their tears became elektron, amber.Michael R. Collings, Gemlore: An Introduction to Precious and Semi-Precious Stones, 2009, p. 20 The word elektron gave rise to the words electric, electricity, and their relatives because of amber's ability to bear a static electricity charge."Electric." Online Etymological Dictionary. Retrieved 6 September 2018.


Theophrastus discussed amber in the 4th century BC, as did Pytheas (c. 330 BC), whose work "On the Ocean" is lost, but was referenced by Pliny the Elder (23 to 79 AD), according to whose The Natural History (in what is also the earliest known mention of the name Germania):Natural History 37.11 {{webarchive|url= |date=24 September 2015 }}.(File:Amber Fisher.jpg|thumb|Fishing for amber on the coast of Baltic Sea. Winter storms throw out amber nuggets. Close to Gdansk, Poland.)EarlierNatural History IV.27.13 or IV.13.95 in the Loeb edition. Pliny says that Pytheas refers to a large island - three days' sail from the Scythian coast and called Balcia by Xenophon of Lampsacus (author of a fanciful travel book in Greek) - as Basilia - a name generally equated with Abalus. Given the presence of amber, the island could have been Heligoland, Zealand, the shores of Bay of Gdansk, the Sambia Peninsula or the Curonian Lagoon, which were historically the richest sources of amber in northern Europe.{{citation needed|date=December 2018}}It is assumed{{by whom|date=March 2018}} that there were well-established trade routes for amber connecting the Baltic with the Mediterranean (known as the "Amber Road"). Pliny states explicitly that the Germans exported amber to Pannonia, from where the Veneti distributed it onwards.The ancient Italic peoples of southern Italy used to work amber; the National Archaeological Museum of Siritide (Museo Archeologico Nazionale della Siritide) at Policoro in the province of Matera (Basilicata) displays important surviving examples.Amber used in antiquity as at Mycenae and in the prehistory of the Mediterranean comes from deposits of Sicily.{{citation needed|date=December 2018}}File:Gouttes-drops-resine-2.jpg|thumb|upright|Wood resinresinPliny also cites the opinion of Nicias ({{circa}} 470–413 BC), according to whom amber Besides the fanciful explanations according to which amber is "produced by the Sun", Pliny cites opinions that are well aware of its origin in tree resin, citing the native Latin name of succinum (sūcinum, from sucus "juice").Compare succinic acid as well as succinite, a term given to a particular type of amber by James Dwight Dana In Book 37, section XI of Natural History, Pliny wrote:}}He also states that amber is also found in Egypt and in India, and he even refers to the electrostatic properties of amber, by saying that "in Syria the women make the whorls of their spindles of this substance, and give it the name of harpax [from ἁρπάζω, "to drag"] from the circumstance that it attracts leaves towards it, chaff, and the light fringe of tissues".Pliny says that the German name of amber was (:wikt:Appendix:Proto-Germanic/glasą#Proto-Germanic|glæsum), "for which reason the Romans, when Germanicus Caesar commanded the fleet in those parts, gave to one of these islands the name of Glæsaria, which by the barbarians was known as Austeravia". This is confirmed by the recorded Old High German word glas and by the Old English word (:wikt:glær#Old English|glær) for "amber" (compare (wikt:glass|glass)).In Middle Low German, amber was known as berne-, barn-, börnstēn (with etymological roots related to "burn" and to "stone"WEB,weblink Bernstein - Wiktionary,, 7 May 2018, live,weblink 26 March 2018, dmy-all, ). The Low German term became dominant also in High German by the 18th century, thus modern German Bernstein besides Dutch barnsteen.In the Baltic languages, the Lithuanian term for amber is gintaras and the Latvian dzintars. These words, and the Slavic jantarWEB,weblink янтарь — Викисловарь,, 7 May 2018, live,weblink 19 June 2017, dmy-all, and Hungarian gyanta ('resin'), are thought{{by whom|date=March 2018}} to originate from Phoenician jainitar ("sea-resin").{{Citation needed|date=July 2010}}Early in the nineteenth century, the first reports of amber found in North America came from discoveries in New Jersey along Crosswicks Creek near Trenton, at Camden, and near Woodbury.

Composition and formation

Amber is heterogeneous in composition, but consists of several resinous bodies more or less soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform, associated with an insoluble bituminous substance. Amber is a macromolecule by free radical polymerization of several precursors in the labdane family, e.g. communic acid, cummunol, and biformene.{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=792}}Manuel Villanueva-García, Antonio Martínez-Richa, and Juvencio Robles Assignment of vibrational spectra of labdatriene derivatives and ambers: A combined experimental and density functional theoretical study {{webarchive|url= |date=12 April 2006 }} Arkivoc (EJ-1567C) pp. 449–458 These labdanes are diterpenes (C20H32) and trienes, equipping the organic skeleton with three alkene groups for polymerization. As amber matures over the years, more polymerization takes place as well as isomerization reactions, crosslinking and cyclization.Heated above {{convert|200|C}}, amber decomposes, yielding an oil of amber, and leaves a black residue which is known as "amber colophony", or "amber pitch"; when dissolved in oil of turpentine or in linseed oil this forms "amber varnish" or "amber lac".{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=792}}


Molecular polymerization, resulting from high pressures and temperatures produced by overlying sediment, transforms the resin first into copal. Sustained heat and pressure drives off terpenes and results in the formation of amber.BOOK, Patty C., Rice, Amber: Golden Gem of the Ages. 4th Ed., AuthorHouse, 2006, 978-1-4259-3849-9, For this to happen, the resin must be resistant to decay. Many trees produce resin, but in the majority of cases this deposit is broken down by physical and biological processes. Exposure to sunlight, rain, microorganisms (such as bacteria and fungi), and extreme temperatures tends to disintegrate the resin. For the resin to survive long enough to become amber, it must be resistant to such forces or be produced under conditions that exclude them.Poinar, George O. (1992) Life in amber. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, p. 12, {{ISBN|0804720010}}

Botanical origin

(File:Bernstein Bitterfeld, Gedanit, Bruchstücke 5658.jpg|thumb|Amber from Bitterfeld)Fossil resins from Europe fall into two categories, the famous Baltic ambers and another that resembles the Agathis group. Fossil resins from the Americas and Africa are closely related to the modern genus Hymenaea,JOURNAL, Lambert, JB, Poinar Jr, GO, 2002, Amber: the organic gemstone, Accounts of Chemical Research, 35, 8, 628–36, 10.1021/ar0001970, 12186567, while Baltic ambers are thought to be fossil resins from family Sciadopityaceae plants that once lived in north Europe.JOURNAL, Wolfe, A. P., Tappert, R., Muehlenbachs, K., Boudreau, M., McKellar, R. C., Basinger, J. F., Garrett, A., A new proposal concerning the botanical origin of Baltic amber, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 30 June 2009, 276, 1672, 3403–3412, 10.1098/rspb.2009.0806, 19570786, 2817186, dmy-all,

Physical attributes

Most amber has a hardness between 2.0 and 2.5 on the Mohs scale, a refractive index of 1.5–1.6, a specific gravity between 1.06 and 1.10, and a melting point of 250–300 Â°C.BOOK, Poinar, George O., Poinar, Hendrik N., Cano, Raul J., Ancient DNA, DNA from Amber Inclusions, Springer New York, New York, NY, 1994, 978-0-387-94308-4, 10.1007/978-1-4612-4318-2_6, 92–103,


(File:Baltic-amber-fossils-inclusions.jpg|thumb|Baltic amber with inclusions)The abnormal development of resin in living trees (succinosis) can result in the formation of amber.WEB, Sherborn, Charles Davies, Natural Science: A Monthly Review of Scientific Progress, Volume 1,weblink 1892, Impurities are quite often present, especially when the resin dropped onto the ground, so the material may be useless except for varnish-making. Such impure amber is called firniss.Such inclusion of other substances can cause amber to have an unexpected color. Pyrites may give a bluish color. Bony amber owes its cloudy opacity to numerous tiny bubbles inside the resin.{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=793}} However, so-called black amber is really only a kind of jet.In darkly clouded and even opaque amber, inclusions can be imaged using high-energy, high-contrast, high-resolution X-rays.NEWS, Amos, Jonathan,weblink BBC News, " Secret 'dino bugs' revealed", 1 April 2008, BBC News, 1 April 2008, 30 July 2010,weblink" title="">weblink 28 August 2010, live,

Extraction and processing

Distribution and mining

File:Baltic-amber-deposit-Yantarny.jpg|thumb|upright=1.35|Open castOpen castAmber is globally distributed, mainly in rocks of Cretaceous age or younger.Historically, the Samland coast west of Königsberg in Prussia was the world's leading source of amber. The first mentions of amber deposits here date back to the 12th century."The History of Russian Amber, Part 1: The Beginning" {{webarchive|url= |date=15 March 2018 }}, About 90% of the world's extractable amber is still located in that area, which became the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia in 1946.Amber Trade and the Environment in the Kaliningrad Oblast {{webarchive|url= |date=6 July 2012 }}. Retrieved on 19 September 2012.Pieces of amber torn from the seafloor are cast up by the waves, and collected by hand, dredging, or diving. Elsewhere, amber is mined, both in open works and underground galleries. Then nodules of blue earth have to be removed and an opaque crust must be cleaned off, which can be done in revolving barrels containing sand and water. Erosion removes this crust from sea-worn amber.{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=793}}Caribbean amber, especially Dominican blue amber, is mined through bell pitting, which is dangerous due to the risk of tunnel collapse.Wichard, Wilfred and Weitschat, Wolfgang (2004) Im Bernsteinwald. – Gerstenberg Verlag, Hildesheim, {{ISBN|3-8067-2551-9}}


The Vienna amber factories, which use pale amber to manufacture pipes and other smoking tools, turn it on a lathe and polish it with whitening and water or with rotten stone and oil. The final luster is given by friction with flannel.{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=793}}When gradually heated in an oil-bath, amber becomes soft and flexible. Two pieces of amber may be united by smearing the surfaces with linseed oil, heating them, and then pressing them together while hot. Cloudy amber may be clarified in an oil-bath, as the oil fills the numerous pores to which the turbidity is due.Small fragments, formerly thrown away or used only for varnish, are now used on a large scale in the formation of "ambroid" or "pressed amber".{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=793}} The pieces are carefully heated with exclusion of air and then compressed into a uniform mass by intense hydraulic pressure, the softened amber being forced through holes in a metal plate. The product is extensively used for the production of cheap jewelry and articles for smoking. This pressed amber yields brilliant interference colors in polarized light.Amber has often been imitated by other resins like copal and kauri gum, as well as by celluloid and even glass. Baltic amber is sometimes colored artificially, but also called "true amber".{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=793}}


(File:Colours of Baltic Amber.jpg|thumb|Unique colors of Baltic amber. Polished stones.)Amber occurs in a range of different colors. As well as the usual yellow-orange-brown that is associated with the color "amber", amber itself can range from a whitish color through a pale lemon yellow, to brown and almost black. Other uncommon colors include red amber (sometimes known as "cherry amber"), green amber, and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after.WEB,weblink Amber: Natural Organic Amber Gemstone & Jewelry Information; GemSelect,, 2017-08-28, live,weblink 28 August 2017, dmy-all, Yellow amber is a hard fossil resin from evergreen trees, and despite the name it can be translucent, yellow, orange, or brown colored. Known to the Iranians by the Pahlavi compound word kah-ruba (from kah "straw" plus rubay "attract, snatch", referring to its electrical properties), which entered Arabic as kahraba' or kahraba (which later became the Arabic word for electricity, كهرباء kahrabā'), it too was called amber in Europe (Old French and Middle English ambre). Found along the southern shore of the Baltic Sea, yellow amber reached the Middle East and western Europe via trade. Its coastal acquisition may have been one reason yellow amber came to be designated by the same term as ambergris. Moreover, like ambergris, the resin could be burned as an incense. The resin's most popular use was, however, for ornamentation—easily cut and polished, it could be transformed into beautiful jewelry.Much of the most highly prized amber is transparent, in contrast to the very common cloudy amber and opaque amber. Opaque amber contains numerous minute bubbles. This kind of amber is known as "bony amber"."Amber". (1999). In G. W. Bowersock, Peter Brown, Oleg Grabar (eds.) Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World, Harvard University Press, {{ISBN|0674511735}}.File:Ambre bleu dominicain 21207.jpg|thumb|right|Blue amberBlue amberAlthough all Dominican amber is fluorescent, the rarest Dominican amber is blue amber. It turns blue in natural sunlight and any other partially or wholly ultraviolet light source. In long-wave UV light it has a very strong reflection, almost white. Only about {{convert|100|kg|lbs|abbr=on}} is found per year, which makes it valuable and expensive.JOURNAL, Manuel A. Iturralde-Vennet, 2001, Geology of the Amber-Bearing Deposits of the Greater Antilles, Caribbean Journal of Science, 37, 3, 141–167,weblink dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 May 2011, Sometimes amber retains the form of drops and stalactites, just as it exuded from the ducts and receptacles of the injured trees.{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=793}} It is thought that, in addition to exuding onto the surface of the tree, amber resin also originally flowed into hollow cavities or cracks within trees, thereby leading to the development of large lumps of amber of irregular form.


Amber can be classified into several forms. Most fundamentally, there are two types of plant resin with the potential for fossilization. Terpenoids, produced by conifers and angiosperms, consist of ring structures formed of isoprene (C5H8) units. Phenolic resins are today only produced by angiosperms, and tend to serve functional uses. The extinct medullosans produced a third type of resin, which is often found as amber within their veins. The composition of resins is highly variable; each species produces a unique blend of chemicals which can be identified by the use of pyrolysis–gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The overall chemical and structural composition is used to divide ambers into five classes.JOURNAL, 10.1016/0146-6380(92)90051-X, The nature and fate of natural resins in the geosphere—II. Identification, classification and nomenclature of resinites, 1992, Anderson, K, Winans, R, Botto, R, Organic Geochemistry, 18, 6, 829–841,weblink There is also a separate classification of amber gemstones, according to the way of production.{{technical|section|date=June 2019}}

Class I

This class is by far the most abundant. It comprises labdatriene carboxylic acids such as communic or ozic acids. It is further split into three sub-classes. Classes Ia and Ib utilize regular labdanoid diterpenes (e.g. communic acid, communol, biformenes), while Ic uses enantio labdanoids (ozic acid, ozol, enantio biformenes).BOOK, 10.1021/bk-1995-0617.ch006, Amber, Resinite, and Fossil Resins, 1996, Anderson, Ken B., 617, 105–129, New Evidence Concerning the Structure, Composition, and Maturation of Class I (Polylabdanoid) Resinites, ACS Symposium Series, 978-0-8412-3336-2,


Class Ia includes Succinite (= 'normal' Baltic amber) and Glessite. They have a communic acid base, and they also include much succinic acid.Baltic amber yields on dry distillation succinic acid, the proportion varying from about 3% to 8%, and being greatest in the pale opaque or bony varieties. The aromatic and irritating fumes emitted by burning amber are mainly due to this acid. Baltic amber is distinguished by its yield of succinic acid, hence the name succinite. Succinite has a hardness between 2 and 3, which is rather greater than that of many other fossil resins. Its specific gravity varies from 1.05 to 1.10.{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=792}} It can be distinguished from other ambers via IR spectroscopy due to a specific carbonyl absorption peak. IR spectroscopy can detect the relative age of an amber sample. Succinic acid may not be an original component of amber, but rather a degradation product of abietic acid.WEB,weblink Degradation and inhibitive conservation of Baltic amber in museum collections, 2007, Shashoua, Yvonne, Department of Conservation, The National Museum of Denmark, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 11 May 2011,


Like class Ia ambers, these are based on communic acid; however, they lack succinic acid.


This class is mainly based on enantio-labdatrienonic acids, such as ozic and zanzibaric acids. Its most familiar representative is Dominican amber.Dominican amber differentiates itself from Baltic amber by being mostly transparent and often containing a higher number of fossil inclusions. This has enabled the detailed reconstruction of the ecosystem of a long-vanished tropical forest.George Poinar, Jr. and Roberta Poinar, 1999. The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World, (Princeton University Press) {{ISBN|0-691-02888-5}} Resin from the extinct species Hymenaea protera is the source of Dominican amber and probably of most amber found in the tropics. It is not "succinite" but "retinite".Grimaldi, D. A. (1996) Amber – Window to the Past. – American Museum of Natural History, New York, {{ISBN|0810919664}}

Class II

These ambers are formed from resins with a sesquiterpenoid base, such as cadinene.

Class III

These ambers are polystyrenes.

Class IV

Class IV is something of a wastebasket;{{clarify|date=April 2018}} its ambers are not polymerized, but mainly consist of cedrene-based sesquiterpenoids.

Class V

Class V resins are considered to be produced by a pine or pine relative. They comprise a mixture of diterpinoid resins and n-alkyl compounds. Their main variety is Highgate copalite.JOURNAL, 10.1016/0146-6380(93)90111-N, The nature and fate of natural resins in the geosphere—III. Re-evaluation of the structure and composition of Highgate Copalite and Glessite, 1993, Anderson, K, Botto, R, Organic Geochemistry, 20, 1027, 7,weblink

Geological record

(File:HALAMB48.JPG|thumb|200px|Typical amber specimen with a number of indistinct inclusions)The oldest amber recovered dates to the Upper Carboniferous period ({{Ma|Upper carboniferous|round=-1}}).JOURNAL, 10.1126/science.1179328, 19797645, Pushing Back Amber Production, 2009, Grimaldi, D., Science, 326, 5949, 2009Sci...326...51G, 51–2, JOURNAL, 10.1126/science.1177539, Identification of Carboniferous (320 Million Years Old) Class Ic Amber, 2009, Bray, P. S., Anderson, K. B., Science, 326, 5949, 132–134, 19797659, 2009Sci...326..132B, Its chemical composition makes it difficult to match the amber to its producers – it is most similar to the resins produced by flowering plants; however, there are no flowering plant fossils known from before the Cretaceous, and they were not common until the Late Cretaceous. Amber becomes abundant long after the Carboniferous, in the Early Cretaceous, {{Ma|early cretaceous|round=-1}}, when it is found in association with insects. The oldest amber with arthropod inclusions comes from the Levant, from Lebanon and Jordan. This amber, roughly 125–135 million years old, is considered of high scientific value, providing evidence of some of the oldest sampled ecosystems.Poinar, P.O., Jr., and R.K. Milki (2001) Lebanese Amber: The Oldest Insect Ecosystem in Fossilized Resin. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis. {{ISBN|0-87071-533-X}}.In Lebanon, more than 450 outcrops of Lower Cretaceous amber were discovered by Dany Azar,JOURNAL, Azar, Dany, Lebanese amber: a "Guinness Book of Records", Annales Universitatis Paedagogicae Cracoviensis, 2012, 111, 44–60, a Lebanese paleontologist and entomologist. Among these outcrops, 20 have yielded biological inclusions comprising the oldest representatives of several recent families of terrestrial arthropods. Even older, Jurassic amber has been found recently in Lebanon as well. Many remarkable insects and spiders were recently discovered in the amber of Jordan including the oldest zorapterans, clerid beetles, umenocoleid roaches, and achiliid planthoppers.Baltic amber or succinite (historically documented as Prussian amber{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=792}}) is found as irregular nodules in marine glauconitic sand, known as blue earth, occurring in the Lower Oligocene strata of Sambia in Prussia (in historical sources also referred to as Glaesaria).{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=792}} After 1945, this territory around Königsberg was turned into Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, where amber is now systematically mined.BOOK, Jean, Langenheim, Plant Resins: Chemistry, Evolution, Ecology, and Ethnobotany, Timber Press Inc., 2003, 978-0-88192-574-6, It appears, however, to have been partly derived from older Eocene deposits and it occurs also as a derivative phase in later formations, such as glacial drift. Relics of an abundant flora occur as inclusions trapped within the amber while the resin was yet fresh, suggesting relations with the flora of Eastern Asia and the southern part of North America. Heinrich Göppert named the common amber-yielding pine of the Baltic forests Pinites succiniter, but as the wood does not seem to differ from that of the existing genus it has been also called Pinus succinifera. It is improbable, however, that the production of amber was limited to a single species; and indeed a large number of conifers belonging to different genera are represented in the amber-flora.{{sfn|Rudler|1911|p=793}}

Paleontological significance

{{Paleontology}}Amber is a unique preservational mode, preserving otherwise unfossilizable parts of organisms; as such it is helpful in the reconstruction of ecosystems as well as organisms;BBC – Radio 4 – Amber {{webarchive|url= |date=12 February 2006 }}. (16 February 2005). Retrieved on 23 April 2011. the chemical composition of the resin, however, is of limited utility in reconstructing the phylogenetic affinity of the resin producer.Amber sometimes contains animals or plant matter that became caught in the resin as it was secreted. Insects, spiders and even their webs, annelids, frogs,WEB,weblink Scientist: Frog could be 25 million years old, MSNBC, 16 February 2007, 30 July 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 15 November 2010, dmy-all, crustaceans, bacteria and amoebae,JOURNAL,weblink Waggoner, Benjamin M., Bacteria and protists from Middle Cretaceous amber of Ellsworth County, Kansas, PaleoBios, 17, 1, 20–26, 13 July 1996, live,weblink" title="">weblink 8 August 2007, dmy-all, marine microfossils,JOURNAL, Schmidt, Saint Martin, Breton, Néraudeau, V., A., Struwe, Perrichot, S., S., V., Saint Martin, Girard, J., D., G., D., Evidence for marine microfossils from amber, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105, 45, Grosheny, 17426–17429, 2008, 18981417, 2582268, 10.1073/pnas.0804980105, 2008PNAS..10517426G, wood, flowers and fruit, hair, feathers and other small organisms have been recovered in Cretaceous ambers (deposited c. {{Ma|130}}). The oldest amber to bear fossils (mites) is from the Carnian (Triassic, {{Ma|230}}) of north-eastern Italy.MAGAZINE, Goldbugs, Kaufman, Rachel, National Geographic,weblink 28 August 2012, live,weblink" title="">weblink 1 September 2012, dmy-all, The preservation of prehistoric organisms in amber forms a key plot point in Michael Crichton's 1990 novel Jurassic Park and the 1993 movie adaptation by Steven Spielberg.BOOK, The Making of Jurassic Park, Don Shay & Jody Duncan, 1993, 4, In the story, scientists are able to extract the preserved blood of dinosaurs from prehistoric mosquitoes trapped in amber, from which they genetically clone living dinosaurs. Scientifically this is as yet impossible, since no amber with fossilized mosquitoes has ever yielded preserved blood.MAGAZINE,weblink A Fossilized Blood-Engorged Mosquito is Found for the First Time Ever, Joseph Stromberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 2013-10-14, 2018-07-07, Amber is, however, conducive to preserving DNA, since it dehydrates and thus stabilizes organisms trapped inside. One projection in 1999 estimated that DNA trapped in amber could last up to 100 million years, far beyond most estimates of around 1 million years in the most ideal conditions,ARTICLE, Preservation of key biomolecules in the fossil record: Current knowledge and future challenges, J.L. Bada, X.S. Wang, H. Hamilton, Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Vol. 354, 1999, 77-87, although a later 2013 study was unable to extract DNA from insects trapped in much more recent Holocene copal.WEB, News Staff, Extracting Dinosaur DNA from Amber Fossils Impossible, Scientists Say,weblink SciNews, 23 August 2018,


File:Altamira Ambre MHNT.PRE.2012.0.615.jpg|thumb|Solutrean amber from Altamira in the Muséum de ToulouseMuséum de ToulouseAmber has been used since prehistory (Solutrean) in the manufacture of jewelry and ornaments, and also in folk medicine.


(File:Halssnoer van barnstenen kralen.png|thumb|Amber necklace from 2000-1000 BC)Amber has been used as jewelry since the Stone Age, from 13,000 years ago. Amber ornaments have been found in Mycenaean tombs and elsewhere across Europe.Curt W. Beck, Anthony Harding and Helen Hughes-Brock, "Amber in the Mycenaean World" The Annual of the British School at Athens,'' vol. 69 (November 1974), pp. 145-172. DOI:10.1017/S0068245400005505 {{webarchive|url= |date=5 November 2013 }} To this day it is used in the manufacture of smoking and glassblowing mouthpieces.WEB,weblink Interview with expert pipe maker, Baldo Baldi. Accessed 10-12-09,, 11 February 2000, 30 July 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 February 2006, WEB,weblink Maker of amber mouthpiece for glass blowing pipes. Accessed 10-12-09,, 7 May 2007, 30 July 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 16 July 2011, Amber's place in culture and tradition lends it a tourism value; Palanga Amber Museum is dedicated to the fossilized resin.

Historic medicinal uses

Amber has long been used in folk medicine for its purported healing properties.JOURNAL,weblink Teething: Facts and Fiction, Lisa Markman, Pediatr. Rev., 2009, 30, e59–e64, 10.1542/pir.30-8-e59, 8, 19648257, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 10 May 2013, dmy-all, 6 August 2012,, Amber and extracts were used from the time of Hippocrates in ancient Greece for a wide variety of treatments through the Middle Ages and up until the early twentieth century.{{citation needed|date=August 2012}} Traditional Chinese medicine uses amber to "tranquilize the mind", and there is limited evidence that it has a sedative effect in mice.JOURNAL, Zhu, Zhenhua, Chen, Chenkai, Zhu, Yue, Shang, Erxin, Zhao, Ming, Guo, Sheng, Guo, Jianming, Qian, Dawei, Tang, Zhishu, Yan, Hui, Duan, Jinao, Exploratory Cortex Metabolic Profiling Revealed the Sedative Effect of Amber in Pentylenetetrazole-Induced Epilepsy-Like Mice, Molecules, 24, 3, 2019, 460, 1420-3049, 10.3390/molecules24030460, 6384605,

With children

Amber necklaces are a traditional European remedy for colic or teething pain due to the purported analgesic properties of succinic acid, although there is no evidence that this is an effective remedy or delivery method.WEB,weblink Teething Necklaces and Beads: A Caution for Parents,, 2018-12-21, WEB,weblink Amber Waves of Woo, 2014-04-11, Science-Based Medicine, en-US, 2018-12-21, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the FDA have warned strongly against their use, as they present both a choking and a strangulation hazard.WEB,weblink Safety Communications - FDA Warns Against Use of Teething Necklaces, Bracelets, and Other Jewelry Marketed for Relieving Teething Pain or Providing Sensory Stimulation: FDA Safety Communication, Health, Center for Devices and Radiological,, en, 2018-12-21,

Scent of amber and amber perfumery

In ancient China, it was customary to burn amber during large festivities. If amber is heated under the right conditions, oil of amber is produced, and in past times this was combined carefully with nitric acid to create "artificial musk" – a resin with a peculiar musky odor.WEB,weblink Amber as an aphrodisiac,, September 19, 2012,weblink" title="">weblink January 17, 2013, . Although when burned, amber does give off a characteristic "pinewood" fragrance, modern products, such as perfume, do not normally use actual amber due to the fact that fossilized amber produces very little scent. In perfumery, scents referred to as "amber" are often created and patentedThermer, Ernst T. "Saturated indane derivatives and processes for producing same" {{US patent|3703479}}, {{US patent|3681464}}, issue date 1972Perfume compositions and perfume articles containing one isomer of an octahydrotetramethyl acetonaphthone, John B. Hall, Rumson; James Milton Sanders, Eatontown {{US patent|3929677}}, Publication Date: 30 December 1975to emulate the opulent golden warmth of the fossil.Sorcery of Scent: Amber: A perfume myth {{webarchive|url= |date=14 January 2010 }}. (30 July 2008). Retrieved on 23 April 2011.The modern name for amber is thought to come from the Arabic word, ambar, meaning ambergris.WEB,weblink Aber, Susie Ward, Emporia State University, Welcome to the World of Amber, 11 May 2007,weblink" title="">weblink 28 April 2007, live, WEB,weblink Origin of word Electron,, 30 July 2010, live,weblink" title="">weblink 14 November 2010, dmy-all, Ambergris is the waxy aromatic substance created in the intestines of sperm whales and was used in making perfumes both in ancient times as well as modern.The scent of amber was originally derived from emulating the scent of ambergris and/or the plant resin labdanum, but due to the endangered species status of the sperm whale the scent of amber is now largely derived from labdanum.JOURNAL,weblink Characterization of the Portuguese-Grown Cistus ladanifer Essential Oil, Gomes, Paula B, Mata, Vera G, Rodrigues, A E, Journal of Essential Oil Research, 2005, 10.1080/10412905.2005.9698864, 17, 2, 160–165, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 24 March 2012, dmy-all,, The term "amber" is loosely used to describe a scent that is warm, musky, rich and honey-like, and also somewhat earthy. It can be synthetically created or derived from natural resins. When derived from natural resins it is most often created out of labdanum. Benzoin is usually part of the recipe. Vanilla and cloves are sometimes used to enhance the aroma."Amber" perfumes may be created using combinations of labdanum, benzoin resin, copal (itself a type of tree resin used in incense manufacture), vanilla, Dammara resin and/or synthetic materials.


Imitation made in natural resins

Young resins, these are used as imitations:{{Harvnb|Matushevskaya|2013|pp=11–13}}

Imitations made of plastics

Plastics, these are used as imitations:{{Harvnb|Matushevskaya|2013|pp=13–19}}
  • Stained glass (inorganic material) and other ceramic materials
  • Celluloid
  • Cellulose nitrate (first obtained in 1833{{Harvnb|Wagner-Wysiecka|2013|p=30}}) — a product of treatment of cellulose with nitration mixture.{{Harvnb|Bogdasarov|Bogdasarov|2013|p=38}}
  • Acetylcellulose (not in the use at present)
  • Galalith or "artificial horn" (condensation product of casein and formaldehyde), other trade names: Alladinite, Erinoid, Lactoid.
  • Casein — a conjugated protein forming from the casein precursor – caseinogen.{{Harvnb|Bogdasarov|Bogdasarov|2013|p=37}}
  • Resolane (phenolic resins or phenoplasts, not in the use at present)
  • Bakelite resine (resol, phenolic resins), product from Africa are known under the misleading name "African amber".
  • Carbamide resins — melamine, formaldehyde and urea-formaldehyde resins.
  • Epoxy novolac (phenolic resins), unofficial name "antique amber", not in the use at present
  • Polyesters (Polish amber imitation) with styrene. Ex.: unsaturated polyester resins (polymals) are produced by Chemical Industrial Works "Organika" in Sarzyna, Poland; estomal are produced by Laminopol firm. Polybern or sticked amber is artificial resins the curled chips are obtained, whereas in the case of amber – small scraps. "African amber" (polyester, synacryl is then probably other name of the same resine) are produced by Reichhold firm; Styresol trade mark or alkid resin (used in Russia, Reichhold, Inc. patent, 1948.{{Harvnb|Wagner-Wysiecka|2013|p=31}}
  • Polyethylene
  • Epoxy resins
  • Polystyrene and polystyrene-like polymers (vinyl polymers).{{Harvnb|Wagner-Wysiecka|2013|p=32}}
  • The resins of acrylic type (vinyl polymers), especially polymethyl methacrylate PMMA (trade mark Plexiglass, metaplex).

See also

{{Div col|colwidth=30em}} {{div col end}}


  • {{EB1911 |last=Rudler |first=Frederick William |wstitle=Amber (resin)|display=Amber |volume=1 |pages=792–794}}


  • BOOK, Bogdasarov, Albert, Bogdasarov, Maksim, 2013, Forgery and simulations from amber, Подделки и имитация янтаря, Kostjashova, Z. V., Янтарь и его имитации, Материалы международной научно-практической конференции 27 июня 2013 года, Amber and its imitations,weblink ru, Kaliningrad, Kaliningrad Amber Museum, Ministry of Culture (Kaliningrad region, Russia), 113, 978-5-903920-26-6, harv,
  • BOOK, Matushevskaya, Aniela, 2013, Natural and artificial resins – chosen aspects of structure and properties, Kostjashova, Z. V., Янтарь и его имитации, Материалы международной научно-практической конференции 27 июня 2013 года, Amber and its imitations,weblink ru, Kaliningrad, Kaliningrad Amber Museum, Ministry of Culture (Kaliningrad region, Russia), 113, 978-5-903920-26-6, harv,
  • BOOK, Wagner-Wysiecka, Eva, 2013, Amber imitations through the eyes of a chemist, Имитация янтаря глазами химика, Kostjashova, Z. V., Янтарь и его имитации, Материалы международной научно-практической конференции 27 июня 2013 года, Amber and its imitations,weblink ru, Kaliningrad, Kaliningrad Amber Museum, Ministry of Culture (Kaliningrad region, Russia), 113, 978-5-903920-26-6, harv,

External links

{{Commons+cat|Amber|Amber}} {{Jewellery|state=expanded}}{{Prehistoric technology}}{{Gemstone}}{{Authority control}}

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