Amber… that wonderful soft, warm-feeling gem that we all know so well to be fossilised tree resin, but did anyone stop and contemplate that it is actually 30 to 60 million old?
Not only ancient, Amber is also very interesting.
The name Amber is derived from the Greek word for electricity “Elektron”. Amber carries a negative electric charge and will attract dust when rubbed against a piece of silk.
Due to the presence of small insects, pieces of plants and other animals, it has long been considered to contain the essence of life and has been cherished by humans, and was one of the first materials used for amulets and medicinal uses. In ancient times it was carried from the Alps to the Baltic coast, (a truly vast distance in those days).
Its history with man has been documented from 4000 years ago and has been found in graves from two thousand years before the birth of Christ.
Sacred to the Greek god Apollo… thought to be congealed sunlight, and to be tears over the death of Phaeton… apparently the tears of Freya shed for Svipdag… or the solidified urine of the lynx, or even tears from the birds when they first heard of the death of Christ. With all of these ancient beliefs attached to Amber, no wonder we still treasure and cherish this lovely gem.
For obvious historic reasons the most renown source of amber is the Baltic region. It is also found in Burma, Sicily, Mexico, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Romania, Canada, Czechoslovakia, USA, and Africa. African Amber is considerably younger dating to about 10 million years old and is called Copal.
Medicinally, Amber is used for sore throats, swollen glands, goiters and cure depression. Another theory is that sitting over the smoke from Amber will cure hemorrhoids (but I wouldn’t recommend that).
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