The gemstone Amber is one of the birthstones
listed for the Sun Sign for Taurus.
Amber deposits have been found that range between
360 and one million years old and belong between the Carboniferous
and Pleistocene geological periods. As sticky resin
oozed from ancient pine trees, small insects, plant material,
feathers and other small objects in the path of the flow became
entrapped. Over time, the resin was encased in dirt
and debris and through a process of heat and pressure it fossilized
to become amber.
Amber increases in value with the rarity and
perfection of the entrapped object. Complete insect
specimens are rare though and command top price.
Copal, is also a tree resin but it hasn't fully
fossilized to amber. It is usually only thousands of years
old, instead of millions of years. There is strong debate
about some deposits of African amber as to whether it is copal
or true amber.
Amber can range in color from dark brown to
a light almost clear lemon yellow. Most amber that has
been used in jewelry is from the region of the Baltic Sea
or the Dominican Republic.
Amber is very soft, between 2 1/2-3 on the Mohs
scale and can be scratched easily. Bracelets and
rings with amber cabochons should be worn with care to prevent
marring the stone. Much of the amber used in commercial
jewelry is actually reconstituted
which makes it harder and less prone to scratching. Reconstituted
and processed amber usually doesn't have natural inclusions.
There are many tests that can be performed to
determine if the piece is natural amber or man-made. Of these,
only the flotation test is recommended for the novice. Make
a saturated solution of regular table salt and water and place
the piece of amber in this mixture. If it floats, it is amber.
If it sinks it is man-made (some natural copals will also
sink and you would need to make more scientific tests to make
Specific Gravity: Approximately 1.1 (extremely
light and can float in salty water).
yellow and gold colored gemstones
For additional information about amber myths
and history see Andzia's
Polished Amber Cabochons and Beads
see other Taurus
Rough Amber Pieces
Amber Gemstone Jewelry and Cabochons
Amber jewelry. A selection of freeform
cabochons and rough available for custom jewelry
Powers attributed to amber include love, strength,
luck, healing, and protection, calming for hyperactivity
and stressed nerves, finds humor and joy. Legend
says that Amber was believed to provide magicians and
sorcerers with special enhanced powers.
Helps remove energy blockages, strengthens physical
body. Excellent for enhancing altered states of consciousness.