Amber is the fossilized, hardened raisin of the pine tree, Pinus succinifera, formed mainly in the Eocene epoch of the Tertiary period, about 50 million years ago; found mostly in the Baltic, although younger ambers are known from the Dominican Republic. Mostly Amber is drop or nodular shaped with a homogeneous structure, or has a cell-like formation, often with a weathered crust. Pieces weighting over 22 lb ( 10kg ) have been found. It is often turbid because of numerous bubbles and fine hair lines, or tension fractures. It is possible to clear bubbles and enclosed liquids from the material by boiling in rape-seed oil. Yellow and Brown are predominant colors. There are occasional inclusions of insects or parts plants, and of pyrites.
Amber is sensitive to acids, caustic solutions, and gasoline as well as alcohol and perfume. Can be ignited by a match smelling like incense. When rubbed with a cloth, Amber becomes electrically charged, and can attract small particles. It has a vitreous luster; when it is polished a resinous luster.
The occurrence of insects inside amber was duly noticed by the Romans and led them to the (correct) theory that at some point, amber had to be in a liquid state to cover the bodies of insects. Hence they gave it the expressive name of Suceinum or Gum-Stone a name that is still in use today to describe succinic acid as well as succinite, a term given to a particular type of Amber
The resin contains, in addition to the beautifully preserved plant structures, numerous remains of insects, spiders, and other insects. Even hair and feathers have occasionally been represented among the enclosures. Fragments of wood frequently occur, with the tissues well-preserved by impregnation with the resin; while leaves, flowers and fruits are occasionally found in marvelous perfection. Sometimes the amber retains the form of drops and stalactites, just as it exuded from the ducts and receptacles of the injured trees.
The largest deposit in the world is west of Kaliningrand, Russia. Under 100 ft (30 m) of sand is a 30 ft (9 m) layer of Amber containing clay, so-called blue earth. it is surfaced mined with dredging chain buckets. First the Amber is washed out, then picked by hand. Only 15 percent is suitable for jewelry. The remainder is used for Pressed Amber, or used for technical purposes.
There are large reserves on the seabed of Baltic. After heavy storms, Amber is found on the beaches and in shallow waters of bordering countries. This sea amber is especially solid and used regularly to be fished by fishermen. Further deposits are found in Sicily/Italy (called Simetite), Rumania (Rumanite), Burma (Myanmar-Bunnite), China, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, the United States (Alaska, New Jersey).
Amber has been used since prehistoric times for jewelry and religious objects, accessories for smokers, also as amulets and mascots. The Baltic amber, the " gold of the North," is among the earliest-used materials. Used today for ornamental objects, ring stones, pendants, brooches, Worry Beads, Greek style Komboloi Sets, bracelets, and necklaces.
Below are some Genuine Baltic and Dominican Amber komboloi & Jewelry photos from www.komboloinyc.com library.
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