Amber gemstone

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Physical properties of amber

Hardness: 2-2.5 out of 10 on the Mohs scale
Luster: resin
Transparency: transparent, translucent, opaque
Color: light yellow, yellow, orange-yellow, red, brown, almost colorless, milky white, greenish

Characteristics of amber

Amber (the stone of the sun, electron, kahraba, bernstein, birmite (Burma), simetite (Sicily), rumenite (Romania), the gift of the sun, tears of the sea, sea incense, ambroid) - can be safely called a unique gemstone among all precious gemstones.

Firstly, amber is a stone of organic origin (and there are quite a few such precious stones - jet, coral, pearls and amber). Secondly, amber is a fossilized tree resin (and the age of these trees sometimes reaches 100 million years).

The color range of amber goes from almost white to almost black, through the whole range of shades of yellow and red. In total, experts have more than 350 shades of this gem.

Amber. Gemstone. Amber cabochons

Varieties (grades) of gemstone amber:

  • yellow amber - color from rich yellow to lemon, transparent and clean
  • colorless amber - actually pale colored yellow amber
  • orange amber - color from golden to reddish, rich color, transparent, slightly cloudy
  • green amber with inclusions - color from lemon to green, transparent, uneven color, sometimes there are veins
  • yellow opaque amber - from light yellow to yellow-brown, patterned color
  • white amber (bone amber) - milky white color with a yellowish tint, actually yellow amber with chalk content
  • brown amber - opaque, sometimes translucent, rare
  • red amber - bright color, rare, very often imitated
  • pink amber - the color is an alternating stripes of pink and green, rare
  • blue amber - color from blue to cornflower blue, transparent, clear, may phosphorescent, rare
  • black amber - opaque and brittle, very rare

Mankind has long known about amber, and people greatly revere this "gift of the sun." There are many legends and myths about him.

For example, the ancient Greeks, who called amber electron, believed that these were the frozen tears of the gods that were wept over Phaeton (Phaeton, a mythical character, the son of the sun god Helios, could not hold the fiery chariot, which is our luminary, and died) .

The Arabs called amber "kahraba", which translates as "straw thief". This name is given to the stone because of its ability to electrify.

And the ancient Germans gave amber the name "Bernstein" ("fire stone"), as they drew attention to the fact that amber, unlike many other precious stones, can burn.

Baltic amber is considered one of the best. And inclusions of air or water bubbles greatly reduce the price of stones (such amber is called "bastard"). But the presence of inclusions (insects or pieces of plants inside the stone) can significantly increase the price of amber.

Burmese amber is also very famous. It is most often opaque and more solid. But the pieces of amber found in Burma can be very large (the record holder is a stone weighing more than 15 kg). This amber is called birmite.

In Russia, amber has long been called "sea incense", since these stones were found here on the coasts of the Arctic Ocean.

How much is amber

The price of amber depends on the grade and purity of the stone. Blue amber is considered the most unusual and most expensive. Blue amber beads can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. However, blue amber is rare and cannot be found in an ordinary jewelry store.

After blue, red amber is the most expensive. Then - green amber, which is valued higher than yellow and orange. But the price can vary greatly depending on the quality and appearance of the stones.

Yellow and orange amber beads are priced between $40 and $120 depending on the quality. Brown amber will cost less. And beads made of cloudy amber or stones with defects in general can be bought very cheaply - from $10 to $25.

Amber imitations

For a very long time there have been technologies for changing the color of amber. Even the ancient Greeks boiled amber in honey to give the stone a red color.

And in modern times, the technique of making artificial amber is used. Such amber even got its own name - ambroid (similar to amber). True, the quality of these stones is still low compared to natural amber - ambroids turn out to be cloudy and less hard.

There is also the precious stone copal, which is, so to speak, immature amber, yielding to amber in hardness and strength, but in appearance being the best imitation of amber.

Nowadays, amber is not as popular as before, and only beads, bracelets, earrings, necklaces are made from it. And before, carvers and jewelers greatly appreciated amber for its qualities - hardness and polishability.

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