What is amber?

Amber is among nature’s gems. As soon as a tree is injured, it can create a resin the seals the wound and hardens. Resistant resin that finds its method between class of sediment fossilizes and becomes hard amber after numerous years. It’s essential to have specifically the appropriate conditions! Amber is interesting since it have the right to contain creatures and also plants from millions of years ago. That has also been used in jewelry because that a few thousand years.

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Where walk amber come from?

You might have thought that amber comes from tree sap. Actually, it is created from resin. The difference is that sap transports nutrients approximately the tree when resin is semi-solid and also acts together a defense an answer for the tree immune system. As soon as the tree has a wound (like a broken branch) or if that is assaulted by insects or fungi, the exudes the thick resin the plugs increase the injury and prevents further damage. It seals and sterilizes the injury.

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Resin dripping from a cherry tree. Photo credits: Kreuzschnabel.

When resin is secreted, it’s not certain that it will be turned right into amber. An ext often 보다 not, it gets weathered away. Very first of all the resin demands to it is in chemically stable and also not degrade over time.It has to be resistant come sun, rain, extreme temperatures, and microorganisms prefer bacteria and fungi. There are two types of resin created by tree that deserve to fossilize. Terpenoids are developed by gymnosperms (conifers) and also angiosperms. They space composed the ring frameworks made from isoprene (C5H8) units. Phenolic materials are only created by Angiosperms. One extinct type of trees referred to as medullosans produced an additional unique type of resin.


The next aspect is that the resin needs to be in the right problems to fossilize. Young amber might be transported in seawater (it floats), and then hidden under sediment come fossilize. In the Baltics, glaciers knocked down numerous trees and buried them, enabling them come fossilize. Wet clay and sand sediments keep resin well because they nothing contain lot oxygen and also the sediments at some point transform right into rocks.Intense pressure and temperatures cause the resin to become a hard orange gem. First molecular polymerization forms copal (young amber) and also then the heat and also pressure drive out terpenes and complete the amber transformation.

Most amber uncovered is about 30-90 million year old, despite it’s no sure exactly how long the process to rotate resin right into amber actually takes.The oldest amber found is from the top Carboniferous, 320 millionsof year ago. Most amber is from pine tree or various other conifers, despite there space a variety of trees that they have the right to come from. However, most amber is from extinct types because the resin to be exuded so lengthy ago.

Perfectly preserved

Amber can be interesting because it have the right to contain piece of plants, insects, and other creatures. Resin is sticky and also liquid, attracting insects due to the fact that of that is sweetness. Castle get caught in the resin together it hardens and also they obtain preserved. The oldest amber through an organism inside has actually mites and also is native 230 million years back in north-eastern Italy. Pieces of tree can assist identify the source of the amber and also insects and also other creatures are frequently perfected maintained which provides information about them. The amber procedure preserves components that i will not ~ be maintained through regular fossilization.Amber with stays is also sought after for jewelry due to the fact that it looks fairly nice.


Amber has been used due to the fact that the stone age (13,000 years) earlier in decorations and jewelry. Marketed amber have the right to be imitations, the most common are young materials that space not totally formed into amber or stained glass or plastic. A way to know if your is genuine is that it should float in saltwater.

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An ant within of Baltic amber. Photo credits: Anders L. Damgaard.

Amber can be differentlycoloured and look in a number of different ways. A light honey colour is typical however amber can range from a white-ish colour to practically black and also even blue or red. It counts on the kind of tree. Clearer amber is native resin excreted ~ above the bark, cloudier amber comes from the inside of trees.


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Amber have the right to be uncovered all about the world. It can be open up or underground mined. Most of the world’s extractable amber is uncovered in the Kaliningrad Oblast. Amber has actually been taken indigenous here since the 12 century.Sometimes amber is washed increase from the sea floor and also ends up on the beach or built up by diving or dredging. One form of amber called Dominican is a blue colour, and highly prized due to the fact that it is for this reason rare. That is mined through bell pitting which is dangerous since the tunnels have the right to collapse.

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The prized Dominican blue amber. Picture credits: Vassil.

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Amber is a beautiful rock that takes millions of years to form. Currently you have the right to appreciate this reality if friend own any kind of amber.


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Elena Motivans

I"ve always liked the way that words deserve to sound together. An unified with mine love for nature (and biologic background), I"m interested in diving deep into different topics- in the natural human being even the most mundane is fascinating!