Amber is the fossilized resin from ancient forests.
Amber is not produced from tree sap, but rather from plant resin. Amber is the ancient resin of trees. The resin has gone through a number of changes over millions of years. The result of this metamorphosis is an exceptional gem with extraordinary properties. It is exploited and used by both craftsmen and scientist. Amber, which is in fact a fossil, is often held in the same class as semi-precious stones such as turquoise and jade because of its ornamental uses. Unlike these stones, amber is not mineralized. Rather, it is simple the fossil of resin, or tree sap.
Although considered a gem, amber is a wholly-organic material derived from the resin of extinct species of trees.
In the dense forests of the Middle Cretaceous and Tertiary periods, between 10 and 100 million years ago, these resin-bearing trees fell and were carried by rivers to coastal regions. There, the trees and their resins became covered with sediment, and over millions of years the resin hardened into amber. Although many amber deposits remain in ocean residue, geological events often repositioned the amber elsewhere.
Amber can be found on the shores of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. The main producer of amber worldwide is Russia. In fact about 90% of the world’s available amber is located in the Kaliningrad region of Russia, which is located on the Baltic. Here, amber is washed up on the coast after being dislodged from the ocean floor by years of water and ocean currents. Amber can also be found in the forests of Ukraine. Ukranian amber, which is found within the marshy forest floor in the area surrounding the Volhyn-Polesie border, is prized for its wide range of tones and colors.
Amber is still widely used in jewelry and ornament today. Many jewelers who create stately designs enjoy working with amber because such large pieces are available. Furthermore, amber is significantly less expensive than gemstones. Because of the color range within amber, a necklace made of amber beads can include a stunning arrangement of tones and hues.