The allure and beauty of amber is obvious, its charm is unmistakable, and it’s been that way for thousands of years. But what makes amber so dramatically different from other precious stones?
How Amber is Created
Amber is made from fossilized tree resin. Resin is not the same thing as tree sap! Resin gets secreted by a tree in response to injury as a way of preventing further damage. Resin is also secreted by trees as a result of rapid changes in climate or temperature. As the resin oozes down the tree, it picks up bits of plant and animal matter, which, if the conditions are right, will be trapped when the resin fossilized.
Eventually, after a little time passes (a few million years or so), you could find a piece of amber washed ashore that, after being crafted and polished, is ready to be set into a unique piece of amber jewelry. The substance it forms is very light. Because it weighs so little, this natural beauty makes great large amber jewelry pieces. Most amber used today is between 30-90 million years old. Amber deposits have been found that range between 360 and one million years old. The oldest known amber, found on the Isle of Wight, is 120 million years old.
Read our fun cartoon blog posting, How is amber formed?
The Origins of Amber as Jewelry
Now before reading that, you may have thought, “I don’t know how it’s formed, but I know it looks pretty.” This would put you in the same boat as some of our earliest civilized ancestors. Some people date the use of amber for decorative purposes back to the bronze ages (roughly 3,000 BC – 1,000 BC.) However it may have been used for jewelry even long before then. Entomologist and museum curator David Grimaldi writes of polished amber beads being found in Southern England that could date back to 11,000 BC! Over 13,000 years, and still in demand; in fact during the Middle Ages the demand was so high for amber prayer beads was so high that anyone without the proper authority would be hanged for collecting amber stones. Luckily for you there are no Teutonic Knights guarding the king’s supply of amber anymore, and whether it’s religious amber jeweler, or just a gorgeous set of earrings, you can get them with ease nowadays (and free shipping on orders over $75! )
With such a rich history, it’s no wonder that amber jewelry plays such a prominent role in the culture of societies so far separated by geography. When societies moved away from egalitarian hunter-gatherer societies, and onto agricultural based societies, that relied on trade, amber was a highly sought after commodities and made its way around the world. A Chinese legend tells that the honey colored amber stone is the spiritual remains of a tiger, and to wear an amber pendant, or amulet would give someone the strength and courage of a noble beast. Many cultures also believe amber protects children from harm, its luster providing a guide for the power of good to protect them from the evil in the world. Other tales tell of amber being the tears of the gods, Norse mythology tells of Freya the mother of Odin crying tears of amber, and Greek mythology tells the same tale of Phaethon, son of Helios god of the son, being mourned by his sisters, whose tears turned into stones of amber.
Natural Healing Powers
Now, we hope those tales of crying mythological figures didn’t get you too sad, because aside from wearing a beautiful amber ring, or amber bracelet, there is much talk of the healing, and medicinal properties of amber. According to the world of metaphysics, Amber emits a soothing calming light, known to enhance mental clarity. Amber’s organic roots, and close relationship with the earth supposedly draw negative energy, and illness, and anything unnatural from the wearer, thus purifying them, and restoring the natural vitality of life. It has been common practice to wear an amber necklace, especially an amber beaded necklace, to help ease the pain of a sore throat. Not only that, but wearing an amber teething necklace is said to work wonders on helping children deal with the hardships of teething, this can be attested to by not only tales of folk-lore and legend, but by many smiling children, and happy parents who can now get a good night’s sleep thanks to amber. Amber also carries with it a negative electrical charge, bringing your body back in balance if you’re over stimulated, or restless. Small pieces of amber are occasional used in skin care products for their regenerative and restorative properties. The list could go on and on, seemingly ever culture that has come into contact with amber make claims uses for healing the body and/or mind. From clearing up the respiratory system, to aligning chakras, to helping with thyroid issues, even the most skeptical of curiosities would be peaked after learning of the innumerous claims backing up amber’s healing properties.
Knowing What to Look For When Buying Amber
Chances are however that you’re in the market for a piece of amber for aesthetic purposes, you want a piece of jewelry, and you want a beautiful piece of jewelry. Well you’re in the right place, despite the lore surrounding amber; the main attraction people have with it is its beauty. The incandescent sun glistening through a green amber ring and lighting up all of its natural inclusions is going to make it more appealing than anything else. Or maybe not green, maybe you prefer butterscotch, or cherry red, or citrine, or honey, or cognac, amber jewelry comes in a rainbow of colors! Each piece of amber is truly unique. Many pieces contain natural inclusions, or bits of organic matter caught up in the tree resin before it solidified, and fossilized. These inclusions make the light dance around the amber stone making it shine like no other piece of jewelry you have ever seen.
Just as every person has their own unique personality, characteristics, and charms, so does each piece of amber, and we’re positive we can match you up with your perfect piece of amber. Do you prefer something with more of a natural flair, something to highlight your natural beauty, a look that defies refined standards, and exemplifies the pure spirit of life? Our natural amber bracelets are just the thing showcases the raw beauty of nature, to compliment a casual outfit, or to add a gorgeous contrast to something more formal.
Perhaps you’re looking for a gift with a touch of class, and classical appeal, a piece of jewelry to show that special someone how much you care. Well then, take a look at our amber cameo pendants. Made of beautifully polished Baltic amber; the traditional art of etching an image into amber has been perfected by modern technology. Artists use the amber stone as their canvas for making a beautiful three dimensional work of art. Symbolizing the meeting of two worlds, nature and art, our cameo pendants, and cameo rings are the perfect anniversary gift to show her how she means the world to you.