What is Baltic amber?
Baltic amber refers to a specific type of amber that is found in the Baltic Sea region. It is a fossilized resin that originated from ancient coniferous trees, primarily belonging to the species Pinus succinifera. Over millions of years, this resin underwent a natural process of polymerization and fossilization, resulting in the formation of amber.
One of the most remarkable characteristics of Baltic amber is the presence of inclusions. These are trapped organic materials such as plant matter, insects, and even small vertebrates, which became trapped in the resin during its formation. These inclusions provide a fascinating glimpse into prehistoric ecosystems, making Baltic amber highly valuable to scientists and collectors alike.
Baltic amber is a specific type of amber that originates from the Baltic Sea region, primarily found along the coastlines of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and parts of Russia. It is considered one of the most prized and sought-after varieties of amber in the world.
Furthermore, Baltic amber contains a high concentration of succinic acid, which is believed to have therapeutic properties. It is often used in alternative medicine and natural remedies due to its purported anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.
Baltic amber has been highly valued for centuries, not only for its aesthetic beauty but also for its historical, cultural, and scientific significance. It has been used in jewelry making, decorative arts, and traditional crafts, as well as in scientific research and the preservation of ancient life forms trapped within the resin.
Source of Baltic amber
Baltic amber is primarily sourced from the coastal areas of the Baltic Sea region, including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and parts of Russia. The amber originates from ancient forests that thrived in this region millions of years ago.
The process of amber formation begins when certain trees, predominantly conifers, produce resin to protect themselves from injury or disease. Over time, this resin can ooze out and trickle down the tree trunks, eventually making its way to the forest floor or being washed into nearby rivers. Through various geological processes, such as sedimentation and fossilization, the resin transforms into amber over millions of years.
As the Baltic Sea formed, the amber-bearing sediments were transported by rivers and deposited in nearby coastal regions. Today, the Baltic Sea serves as the primary source of Baltic amber. The amber can be found both onshore, along the beaches and cliffs, as well as offshore, within the sea itself.
The extraction of Baltic amber involves various methods, depending on its location. Onshore, collectors search along the shorelines or cliffs, particularly after storms when amber is more likely to be exposed. They use tools such as sieves, shovels, or even their hands to sift through the sand and sediment, searching for amber pieces.
Offshore, professional divers often play a role in amber extraction. They explore the underwater areas, carefully searching for amber deposits on the sea floor. Divers may use dredging techniques or employ underwater suction devices to collect amber.
Once collected, the amber goes through a sorting and cleaning process to remove impurities and prepare it for further use. Skilled craftsmen and artisans then transform the raw amber into jewelry, sculptures, decorative items, and other creations, showcasing its natural beauty and unique characteristics.
Baltic amber facts:
- Baltic amber in northern Europe is known as “sunstone” and “solar stone” for its golden, sun-like glow.
- Baltic Amber – Fossilized Tree Resin
- Although considered a gem, amber is a wholly-organic material derived from the resin of extinct species of trees.
- The main producer of amber worldwide is Russia. In fact about 90% of the world’s available amber is located in the Kaliningrad region of Russia, which is located on the Baltic.
- Baltic amber is the only type of amber that has a rich concentration (3-8 %) of succinic acid.
- Blue amber is the rarest of all the colors of amber.
- Cultures from all over the world have associated amber with spirits of the natural world and The Sun.
- Baltic amber is 34-48 million years old.
- The most common types of colors of amber you’ll see are honey, lemon, cognac, butterscotch, cherry, and green.
- Historically, amber was used as a talisman for courage and self-confidence, and was thought to bring good luck to warriors in battle.
- In some cultures, amber symbolizes the renewal of marriage vows and is used to assure promises.
- In Ancient Greek and Roman times, women wore amber fish, frog, and rabbit figurines to ensure fertility.