other names: Succinite, Amber (English), Electrum
mineral class: Organic compounds
chemical formula: C10H16O + (H2S)
Chemical elements: Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur
Similar minerals: /
colour: yellow-brown, red, orange, honey yellow
crystal structure: amorphous
mass density: approx. 1.1
magnetism: not magnetic
Mohs hardness: approx. 2
stroke color: White
transparency: transparent to opaque
General information about amber:
Amber is not a stone in the true sense, but a fossilized fossilized tree resin, which was formed by primeval conifers and solidified over millions of years. It was created at the time of the dinosaurs and ran up to 270 million years as wound fluid of a tree from the bark. To date, researchers have not been able to clarify clearly what tree Bernstein produced. The existence of the so-called amber pine, which was long suspected as the origin of the coveted gem, could not be proved. Scientists believe that both larch and cedar and other coniferous trees may be considered suppliers of amber.
The name of the coveted gem derives from the middle Low German word "börnen", which means "to burn" means. The result was the term "börnesteen", which refers to the strong flammability of the resin.
Amber forms tubers and stands out for its characteristic color, which ranges from an intense honey yellow to brown, red and orange. Rare is ivory, slightly bluish or greenish and almost black amber. Often, an amber shows inclusions that are caused by water blisters, plant seeds, small animals or insects, pieces of bark or tree branches. The fossil resin can appear both transparent and opaque, showing a greasy to waxy sheen.
Occurrence and localities:
The most famous and most sought-after amber comes from the Baltic States and is also known as succunite. It originated about fifty million years ago in what is now Finland and Central Sweden, where at that time there was a huge forest area called the Amber Forest. Due to climate changes, there were heavy floods, which led to the trees drowned in the floods and the water washed the not yet fossilized resin from the trunks. This deposited itself in the resulting huge swamps and bays and petrified there over the course of millions of years. Gradually, the deposits of sand and stones were covered, which led to oxidation and water loss. This explains why the famous Baltic amber is found as a fossilized resin today, especially along the North Sea and Baltic Sea coast and in Samland.
History and usage:
In antiquity, amber was referred to as "electron" (Greek) or "electrum" (Latin) because people used larger pieces of the hardened resin than clothes brushes that attracted static and dust particles. As a result, Bernstein is today also known as the eponym for the concept of electricity. Its main importance is amber as a gem, which not only adorns necklaces, bracelets, rings, brooches and earrings, but also antique caskets, statues and inlays of various pieces of furniture, cigarette holder and tobacco pipes. By the end of the 17th century, discolored transparent amber was used to make optical lenses. For jewelry not usable copies were processed to amber lacquer and oils. In addition, the amber today in the esoteric various positive properties attributed to the health of humans and pets.