Amber is a fossilized tree resin that is commonly used in the manufacturing of pendants, jewelry and other objects that may be used as decoration. The material is usually confused with sap or the essence of trees, but amber is actually an organic material that starts off as a sticky substance and eventually changes into the translucent object that is yellowish or brownish in color. Amber is very palatable to many insects and bugs so it’s very common to see many impurities inside the “gemstone” itself.
The finish of amber is quite similar to a crystal. While its sheen and clarity may be similar to quartz, the color is almost always on the yellow to rust and even red side. Every tree would have a different tone of amber and since the material is fossilized, it does take quite some time before the material is harvested and made into jewelry.
When jewelry shopping, it may get frustrating to find amber pendants. Amber is not exactly used in a lot of cultures’ jewelry so only specialty shops would carry them. Here are other places that would carry amber jewelry.
- Russia. The Baltic States in Russia such as Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are among the largest exporters of amber as a raw material and amber jewelry in the entire world. The cultures of these countries have been very receptive to the idea of using amber pendants since the material is very common and very much available in their native lands. These nations contain one of the biggest fossilized and petrified forests in the world.
- The Middle East. The Arab world has also long been fascinated with the use of amber as jewelry. Aside from pendants, amber earrings and bracelets that have been going through the trade routes of Asia, Africa and Europe for millennia, the vast strips of land in the Middle East and parts of Europe can be a great place to look for great classic pieces of amber jewelry. These would certainly be a great addition to anyone’s jewelry boxes.
- The Americas. If you’re not willing to travel to the other side of the world to get amber, there are also great amber finds in the Dominican Republic (in the island of Hispaniola) as well as some parts of Canada. These areas have vast reserves of ambers thanks in large part to the prehistoric forests that once existed in these areas.
- Online shopping. Online jewelry shopping is always an option of course. There are reputable jewelry stores that sell amber pendants so it should be easy to scope them out. While it may be tempting to get jewelry from auction sites, it may be hard to determine if you’re getting actual amber before receiving the product in the mail so you’re better off paying a premium instead of taking the risk on the authenticity of certain products.
As with many other types of gemstones and jewelry, amber can be an acquired taste. But its novelty is the fact that it is fossilized, and is probably millions of years old. Some of these might even carry DNA traces from long-extinct organisms. Amber is therefore both fascinating and stylish as pieces of jewelry.