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About Minerals

Ages of Amber

Amber has long been appreciated and traded by the Syrians, Phoenicians and even the Vikings. The Greeks believed it was solidified sunshine, considered it a precious stone, a jewel, but called it Elektron for its ability to attract bits of material if rubbed on cloth. Nero emperor of Rome, sent expeditions to buy Baltic Amber, to cut as gemstones or to powder for medicines to treat inflammations and muscle spasms.

Amber is a polymerized compound of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon and contains varying ratios of succinic acid, several resins, and brown volatile oil (amber oil). Polymerization is the process wherein the molecules of sticky resin are linked intolarger molecules. This is unlike the fossilization or lithification processes of other organic materials. Amber has a hardness of 2, a specific gravity of 1, and can be melted at 100 degrees C. It can be cooked down to black colophony, or amber pitch. Amber varies in color, being found in blue, red, green, and honey-colored.

Pinus succinifera, the trees which produced amber resin, existed through the Miocene Age, but not all amber is the same age. Amber occurs in sedimentary rock, or is weathered out of it.

Via The Tumbler 5/04 ,Dust and Grit 9/02, West Seattle Petroglyph, 8/02, the Agatizer—original source unknown