What is Amber? Not Just Another Pretty Name

Mate, while Amber is a pretty name, let’s explore the kind of Amber I am talking about.

One of me’ passions is authentic Amber stones.  I love the colors of the Traditional Amber. Colors vary from black, deep orange, yellow, opaque, translucent resin. Rarer types are red and blue and green. True green Baltic Amber is found in more marshy environments. Lab created is a jeweler taking Baltic Amber and with a torch, heating to a certain temperature, adding some chemicals to transform into green. 

What is Amber? There are several types of Amber; naturally found or man-made.  Some scientists believe Amber could be millions of years old and others believe thousands. Natural Amber generally forms when an extinct tree or shrub is injured. 


Amber is not considered a true gemstone but rather fossilized tree sap. This sap is from the EXTINCT Conifer trees (woody plants)  with a secondary growth. Examples of these would be Douglas Firs, Cypresses, Pines, Cedars, Junipers and other species.


No mates, not the kind we pour generously on our hotcakes!  And not the kind you find from yer’ favorite backyard tree or the kind left on a 2 x 4 from yer’ hardware store. This is a different kind of sap.

It is a resin that is hardened over time. Bubbles, insects, wood, plant material, seeds or other material can be caught in the resin.

REAL or Man-made?

While both can be attractive, real Amber is much softer and can scratch easier . Usually any rock or mineral will have magnetic properties. Real Amber in it’s natural state (no mountings) will have static electricity when rubbed with a cloth. Will also produce a light camphor smell. Man-made Amber is harder, heavier and will sink in salt water.

Besides the Baltic Sea Amber, Cognac is another pretty Amber and has attractive shades of rich brown to deeper brown. Don’t be confused with the name “Copal”.  The gem society rates this as only a few thousand years old.


Can be found from South America to Europe and other countries . The more common type is colder Baltic Sea Region. 


As mentioned earlier, real Amber can scratch more easily. Depending on exposure, you can dip in warm water and pat dry. Polish with Olive Oil for bring out the natural shine and wipe off the excess. Keep in a soft (non-abrasive cloth).

Avoid heat exposure (can crack) and be sure to take off when bathing or showering.

As much as you may love the surfing or swimming in the Deep Blue Sea, salt water and sand can damage or scratch Amber and the salt can get into the fossilized pours and damage.

When in a Pool or sitting in a warm Jacuzzi, the chemicals can damage Amber.


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