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Amber Jewellery - The History And Uses Of Amber Jewellery


Amber is an amazing substance. It is typically described as a gemstone but unlike most other gem stones it does not have a mineral origin. Amber is created by resin that was deposited at the bottom of the sea by certain varieties of pine tree, over millions of years a kind of fossilisation process took place, creating the amber that is popular today. It is known for its many inclusions that ensure each piece is different to any other. The inclusions are generally small pieces of plant or insect matter that fossilized within the resin. Due to this amazing preservation technique archaeologists have come to regard amber as a window into biological history. You can see the ways in which amber is used in jewellery

Amber is collected in two main ways, through alluvial deposits or through mining. In certain areas, notably around the Baltic sea, it washes up onto the shore. Collecting amber has taken lots of opportunistic forms over the years. People dive for amber and have collected it on horse back with long poles and nets in the marshy areas. Collecting amber used to be an important source of revenue for villagers, a traditional cottage industry. Nowadays industrial mining of large deposits has become the staple source of amber that is used in jewellery.

The human history of amber appears to span back an exceptionally long way. There is evidence from as far back as 8000 B.C. suggesting that amber was treasured by humans. Amber items from antiquity have been found as far spread as ancient South America, the North Pole, in Egypt in Tutankhamen's tomb. One of the earliest pieces in Great Briton was found in a Celtic burial mound dating from 1200 B.C. This dispersion implies that it was widely traded as a precious stone.

Amber has been a highly desired product for as long as it has been known. The trade routes for amber, known as the 'amber roads', were always fiercely contested and protected in antiquity as they guaranteed prosperity to those in control of them. Amber was known as 'northern gold'. The Roman historian Pliny wrote that a small amount of amber was more valuable that a male slave in his prime, showing the regard in which it was held. Nowadays it is the rarer forms of amber or the ones that have intriguing inclusions that have the greater price tag.

Amber is mythically associated with safety and one of the continuing uses over the years has been in the form of talismans and amulets meant to provide safety for the wearer. In India and other countries necklaces of amber are placed around children's necks to protect them from kidnap. When rubbed with a cloth amber has electrical properties; possibly why many cultures have associated it with providing healing energy. It is considered a good stone to give as a present to family members as it is thought to strengthen bonds and help with overcoming obstacles.

Golden orange tones are commonly associated with amber. But it is also possible to get rarer forms that are highly desired, including opaque or even blue amber. These types are considerably more expensive. Modern technology allows us to heat treat amber which means that it is possible to scientifically create a myriad of alternative colours including yellows, greens and oranges.

Today there is a thriving jewellery industry based around amber products, although only about 20% of all mined amber is suitable for use in jewellery. Commonly it is set into silver, but there are now luxurious gold and amber products available as well. The stunning contrast between silver, gold and amber continues to make it amber jewellery one of the most popular types of gem set jewellery.

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  Published Date - September 11 2009
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  Miss. April Brit
I work for an independant high street jewellers which has an online store at and a watch shop at Our aim is to always offer personalised, knowledgeable and friendly service and an ever changing range of products.
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