Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Glories of Amber - Part Two: Finding and Using

Raw Amber
Gemstones are (for the most part) hidden treasures.  If they are not buried deep underground, then they are in hard to find, off-the-beaten-track places.  This isn't a surprise, since any easy to reach gemstones were found by humans long ago and carted off.  Amber is no exception.

Given that amber is a product of ancient trees, it is now found in the areas where large forests of those trees once existed.  While small amounts might be encountered globally, the largest deposits of amber, possibly 90% of the Earth's retrievable storehouse, can be found on the Baltic Sea.  Baltic amber has long held the position as the most dependable and desirable amber for gemstones (although this market is quite competitive).  Baltic amber is mined, but some amber can actually be found by "fishing."  Since amber is one of the very lightest stones, it will float in saltwater.  Storms in the Baltic Sea stir up the seafloor, and allow nodules of amber to float to the surface.

Cloisonne Necklace Highlighted With
Orange Amber (Ambroid) Beads
Amber burns when heated and gives off a scent like pine.  Because of this, it wasn't only used for jewelry, but for incense and in religious rituals.  Combined with other materials, it was also historically used in perfumes.  Its soft nature allows it to be carved easily, and so it was, and is, used to create pipes, urns, parts of musical instruments, pieces of light fixtures, and much more.  Today the most common use for the best pieces of amber is in high quality jewelry.  Lower quality amber or small pieces are pressed together to create stones that rival the best for beauty, but are considered lesser because they have been through a manufacturing process.  The very lowest quality amber is generally processed into oils and resins.

Finding and using amber is also a trick for the gemstone artist, since this material is expensive, exclusive, and easily imitated.  But more on that later!

Image Credit:
Raw Amber from
Cloisonne Necklace from our site,, one of our unique designs!  This one includes vermeil gold (gold plated over sterling silver) accents, along with Swarovski crystal, amber (ambroid), and fresh water pearl.

1 comment:

  1. Find here manufacturers directory for your gemstones business. This directory helps you to find out suppliers and manufacturers from all over world.


Popular Posts