Be your Highest Self in your every day life.
Sharpen your mind and soften your heart.
Feel happy and open to delightful spontaneity.
Cleanse your body, mind, and energy fields.
Let Amber illuminate your bright spirit!
Mineralogy of Amber
Mineral Family: Organic Gem
Chemical Composition: Hydrocarbon (C, H, O)
Color: typically yellow, but can also be orange, red, or green
Crystal System: None
Luminescense: Blueish-white (long wave) / Yellowish-white (short wave)
Transparency: Transparent to Opaque
Location: While Amber can be found in several locations worldwide, the most prized Amber is found exclusively along the Baltic Coast, an area which includes Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the Kaliningrad region of western Russia.
Formation: Amber is the fossilized resin of coniferous (evergreen) trees. The majority of Amber, found in the Baltic region, is from a now-extinct species of pine tree. Amber is created when coniferous trees seep sticky resin which then, over a long period of time, hardens and fossilizes into a gemstone. Anything caught in the resin, including insects, small reptiles, amphibians, as well as plant material, will be preserved inside the Amber. Over 1000 ancient species have been found preserved in Amber!
Mining: Amber is mined in numerous ways depending on the location. The majority of Amber is found inside Cretaceous age rocks torn up from the seafloor near the Baltic Coast. Much of it is naturally cast up by waves and collected on the beaches. But it can also be mined by dredging or diving. In other locations, Amber is mined in open pits and underground tunnels. Amber is often found in association with coal (which is also the fossilized remains of trees) as well as other plant material.
Enhancements: There is a great deal of imitation Amber on the market, and so care must be taken when buying Amber. Some of the ways you can tell if Amber is authentic are as follows:
- Real Amber is a poor heat conductor and so is warmer to the touch than glass and most plastics.
- Real Amber floats in salt water, while glass and plastic will sink to the bottom.
- When rubbed with wool, real Amber will create a static charge that attracts tissue paper; glass and plastic will not create this charge.
- When heated, real Amber smells like pine.
- When scraped, real Amber becomes a powder, while glass and plastic both flake.
The most valuable Amber contains inclusions of insects and plant materials. However, this too can be faked. When in doubt, check for a small drill hole, which is used to insert the inclusion, and then the space around the inclusion will be filled with modern resin. Genuine inclusions will almost always be black in color, contain tiny air bubbles, and be irregular in shape. Natural Amber is virtually never cut, but instead is tumbled and polished with its organic shape preserved. Too “perfect” a shape is a sign that it may be “pressed Amber,” natural Amber which is heated and pressed to create a higher degree of transparency.
Price is perhaps the simplest way of determining whether or not Amber is real or imitation. Imitation Amber is relatively cheap and often seems “too good to be true.” Real Amber, by contrast, comes with a higher price tag.
Synonyms: Fossilized Tree Resin, Resinite, Ambrite, Copalite, Copal
History of Amber
Amber has one of the oldest and most detailed historical traditions of any healing stone. It is included in virtually every known lapidary, texts which describe gemstones and their powers. At various times, it has been worth more than gold and been fiercely coveted by kings and tsars, popes and empresses. Amber ranges in color from ivory to ebony, with all the colors in between. The most common shades are, of course, the sunset colors of yellow, orange, and red. However, Amber also appears naturally in vivid green and even blue! The most precious color of all is a frothy white, while the rarest is jet black. Amber is found in small deposits in many locations around the world. However, the largest and most important Amber deposit is found along the Baltic Coast in northern Europe. Most of the Baltic Amber is trapped underground, deep enough that it is considered uneconomical to mine. However, some Amber washes up freely on the beach every year, ranging in size from small beads to large bricks!
Amber is fossilized tree resin. Resin is the organic material oozed by evergreen trees as a self-healing mechanism. It treats injuries to the tree (such as broken limbs) and keeps invading insects and diseases at bay. There are numerous species of trees that have produced Amber, but the most common type of tree, and the origin for Baltic Amber, is a now-extinct pine tree from the Sciadopitys family.
Baltic Amber is anywhere from 320-30 million years old! Amber with insect inclusions falls within the younger range, thought to date back only 150 million years. Because Amber sometimes has inclusions, both plant and animal, it is an invaluable resource for scientists studying ancient ecosystems. Michael Crichton’s famous novel/movie, Jurassic Park, relies on the premise that some insects which fed on dinosaurs were trapped in tree resin and their bodies thus perfectly preserved in Amber. Scientists could then extract the DNA preserved in the insects’ stomachs and use it to reproduce the dinosaurs that later wreaked havoc throughout the science fiction thriller. In reality, DNA breaks down over time and so cannot be successfully extracted from Amber. (Moreover, even if DNA was extracted – it would almost certainly be insect DNA – not dinosaur!)
In prehistoric Europe, Amber was used for animal carvings, some of which have been dated as far back as 7000 BCE, making them more than 2000 years older than the earliest civilizations in Egypt and Mesopotamia. The oldest known reference to Amber is in Homer’s Odyssey (8th century BCE). In the epic poem, the Greek nobleman Eurymachus is described as wearing beautiful Amber jewelry while he tried to seduce Odysseus’ wife, Penelope. For the ancient Mediterranean civilizations, Amber came from what would have been considered “the edge of the world.” They knew little of its origins, except that it came from the place “where the North Star culminates,” according to one obelisk listing the treasures of an Assyrian king. At first, Amber was traded mainly by the Phoenicians, the great sailors, explorers, and merchants of the ancient world. Later, Amber traveled overland. In fact, the main trade routes linking Northern and Southern Europe were often referred to as the “Amber Road” in a similar spirit as the “Silk Road” which runs east to west across Eurasia.
Due to its main coloring, Amber has long been associated with the sun. The Greeks called this gemstone elektron (or sun) because of its coloring and the way that it glows in light. Many centuries later, an English physician studied Amber’s curious ability to attract other substances, such as lint and dried grass, when rubbed. He dubbed this natural phenomenon “electricity.” The modern name “Amber” comes from the Latin ambar, a shortened form of ambergris, a waxy substance produced by sperm whales. Ambergris and Amber both wash up occasionally on seashores, and both can be burned as incense or used to make perfume.
Perhaps more than any other stone, Amber has the widest assortment of origin myths. According to numerous Greek, Celtic, and Germanic stories, Amber was solidified sunshine created when the sun’s rays fell into the ocean. Roman and Chinese myths describe Amber as fossilized honey, which had dripped off bees and fallen into the sea. In one Greek myth, Amber was the dew from the Golden Apples found in the Garden of Immortality, while in another bizarre Greek story, Amber was refereed to as lyncurius, and believed to be the fossilized urine of the lynx cat!
The most common origin story relates Amber to tears. For example, in one myth, Amber fell from the eyes of Apollo, the Greek sun god, after he was briefly exiled from Olympus. In another myth, the Meleagrids, sisters of the hero Meleager, wept copious tears after their brother died. Their grief was so raw that, eventually, Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo, took pity on them and turned them into guinea fowl. The transformation ended their sorrow and also changed their tears to Amber. In yet another tale, Phaethon, a son of Apollo, was given the opportunity to drive the chariot of the sun. But he lost control of the great fiery horses and the chariot ran out of control, severely burning the earth, thus creating vast deserts and causing volcanoes to erupt. Zeus, king of the gods, threw a lightening bolt and killed Phaeton, and the horses, now without a driver, bolted back home. When Phaeton’s seven sisters, the Heliades, found his body, they too wept. Eventually, they became black poplar trees, but their tears continued to flow as resin, eventually hardening into Amber.
Amber was also said to be tears of regret shed by Freya, the Norse goddess of love and beauty. She cheated on her husband, Odur, with four dwarfs in exchange for a beautiful Amber necklace! When Odur found out, thanks to Loki, the god of mischief, he went into a rage and left Valhalla forever. Freya confessed her sins to Odin, the king of the gods, and in penance he commanded that she travel the world in search of her husband. As she searches, the goddess cries. When her tears fall on land, they turn to gold, when her tears fall in the water they become Amber instead.
Perhaps the saddest story tying Amber to tears is the Baltic myth of the mermaid-goddess Juraté. Long ago, a handsome fisherman named Kastytis cast his nets into the sea, near the mouth of the Sventoji River, in Lithuania. This fishing angered the local sea-goddess, Juraté, and so she sent her mermaids to tell him to stop. But he continued to fish, and so eventually Juraté arrived personally, intending to punish the fisherman. But when she saw how handsome he was, she fell in love and invited Kastytis to come live with her in her underwater palace made of Amber. When her father found out, he was enraged and so killed her mortal lover and destroyed her palace. Juraté was left chained to the ruins of her palace, mourning her handsome fisherman for all eternity, and crying tears of Amber. The best Amber is said to be tear shaped, and as clear and pure as Juraté’s love for the Kastytis.
Yet another story ties Amber to love and loss, if not to actual tears. Once upon a time, a beautiful maiden named Amberella, lived on the shores of the Baltic Sea. One day she was swimming and caught the attention of the Prince of the Seas who decided to claim her as his bride. He drew her down in a powerful whirlpool and installed her in his underwater palace made of Amber. But his bride was unhappy and begged to go home. This enraged the Prince and he churned the sea in a storm and taking Amberella in his arms he rose to the surface of the water intending to scare her with this show of his powers. Her parents were on the shore and saw their daughter and cried out to her. She tore some Amber jewelry off her body and threw it to her parents so they would know how much she loved and missed them. The Prince often gets angry and churns the seas and shows off his powers, and whenever he does Amberella uses this as an opportunity to cast Amber up out of the sea and on to the shore.
Mythology aside, the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder (CE 23-79) is credited with being the first author to correctly recognize that Amber was fossilized tree resin. He also documented its literal value in the ancient world, stating that an Amber carving could be worth more on the open market than a healthy slave. In his book, The Natural History of Precious Gemstones, Pliny also recorded many of the medicinal uses of Amber. According to his work, Amber had been used for medicinal and spiritual purposes at least as far back as the time of Hippocrates (c.400 BCE), the original Father of Medicine. Amber could be used to treat a wide-variety of diseases, from fevers to gum disease, and from heat-stroke to whooping cough. Some of the remedies were as simple as just wearing Amber beads, while others used powdered Amber in expensive medicines that also included ingredients like oil-of-rose and honey. Amber was also recommended to protect infants from evil spirits. Interestingly, the modern trend for giving infants Amber beads during teething actually dates back centuries! Medieval and modern lapidaries continued to celebrate Amber’s many healing properties. It has been variously rumored to cure everything from the plague to heart disease, impotence to jaundice, to epilepsy and even loose teeth!
Healing Properties of Amber
Spiritual: Amber is sunshine we can hold in our hands and is used to connect us to all that is Light and Good. It links us to our Highest Self and helps us to see how we can become positive agents of change in our own lives and in the lives of others. It encourages us to be spontaneous and confident, while also being gentle and respectful. Amber is a fantastic manifestation tool, inspiring us to seize hold of our dreams and ambitions and do the work to turn them into reality. Amber brings us good fortune, and both aligns and cleanses our entire energy field. It is closely tied to the old Norse Gods and can evoke their power and passion. Amber is attuned to the Solar Plexus Chakra and linked to the astrological sign of Leo, Aquarius. It is connected to the element of Earth and vibrates to the number 3.
Emotional: Amber has an exceptionally happy and joyful vibration. Its energy frees us from any negative emotional chains that tie us down, and helps to combat depression, anxiety, and other difficult emotions. Amber reminds us that life is good and that we are a vital part of it! Amber can help us to strengthen and improve all types of relationships, particularly between friends and lovers. It reminds us why we first liked and loved other people, and what it was about ourselves that first attracted them to us. Amber encourages us to bring the best of ourselves to our relationships and to love unconditionally and expansively. It is a peaceful stone, that encourages us to be generous and trusting.
Mental: Amber strengthens our sense of purpose and direction. It encourages us to think big and to work towards real solutions. It stimulates the intellect as well as our creativity. Amber reminds us that when we consciously and wholeheartedly direct our energy and focus on to something, we can do great things. Amber pushes us to move beyond “pragmatic” and “practical” and instead move into “inspirational.” It encourages us to see the world clearly and respond to it for the Highest Good of all.
Physical: Amber is said to help increase general physical vitality and energy levels. It helps the body to heal itself, by inviting in positive energy and good habits, and releasing negative energy and poor habits. Amber reminds us that more often than not, we know what we should be doing, so we just need to do it. Amber is used by metaphysical healers to help stimulate the digestive system and to treat disorders associated with the stomach, spleen liver, kidney, and gallbladder. Amber is also commonly used on teething infants to help alleviate their pain.
Always use wisdom when considering crystal therapies for healing.
Ethically Sourced Baltic Amber
The Miners sell to a Lapidary.
The Lepidary sells to a Wholesale Amber Jeweler.
The Jeweler sells directly to Moonrise Crystals.
Moonrise Crystals sells directly to you.
The Supply Chain
The Supply Chain is clean and relatively short.
The Mines are scattered throughout the Baltic coastline and the Lapidary is in Poland.
The Jeweler is in a a specialist who deals only in Baltic Amber.
This Amber was mined on the Baltic Coast.
It is most likely from an industrial Amber mine on the Sambia Peninsula, Russia.
Learn More: Ethical Mining
This Amber has been lightly polished in an Amber Lapidary in Poland.
It was purchased by a US Jeweler, a woman who specializes in Baltic Amber.
Lapidary conditions would be safe and all workers paid fairly.
Learn More: Ethical Lapidary
I first met the Amber Jeweler at the 2015 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. I stopped at a booth selling beautiful Amber jewelry, and asked them if they knew of anyone selling high-quality tumbled Amber, since at that point I had only seen very low-quality tumbled pieces for sale. To my surprise, they pulled out a bag of Amber that was filled with beautiful pieces that were not quite perfect enough to be used in their jewelry. I picked through the bag and selected the largest and prettiest ones. They remain my preferred source for Baltic Amber.
Baltic Amber Tumbled Stone
Color: Orange. This is a 100% natural stone, so minor variations are part of their unique beauty.
Size: 1 inch, or a little bit bigger
Weight: Less than 1 oz
Shipping:Next business day – Domestic First Class averages 3-7 days. International First Class averages 2-3 weeks.
Safe Handling of Amber
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