Many deposits of amber that have been located can be dated in the area of 360 to one million years old. These deposits were formed in the "Carboniferous and Pleistocene" ecological era. The sticky resin seeped from the trees, trapping various organisms, plant life and other objects inside. Over the millions of years this resin became fossilized.
During this period, amber was admired for its brightness, beauty and soft texture; allowing ancient civilizations to easily created a variety of items. There is no way of knowing when amber was first used, but the oldest artifact of amber is from around 10,000 BC. BC. The artifact that was found was a piece of amber carved to look like a horse head; and was found in Northern Europe, near Meiendorf.
As the world changed, so did the people. Moving from hunters, to farmers and finding time for religion and ceremonies. During this time, amber could be found in many religious practices, as talismans and different types of jewelry.
During this time frame, the use of amber began to decline in used due to various metals being used; such as bronze and gold. These metals where considered more highly valued then amber; however, amber still had a place in religious ceremonies throughout this era. Amber jewelry has been found in many gravesites. Also during this era, the exportation of amber started flowing into the Mediterranean. These trade routes were well established during this time, as the Greeks had a great use for amber. There is a lot written in Greek mythology about amber.
When the Romaine Empire started to expand all across Central Europe, the amber trade began to increase and thrive. During this time period the trade routes from the Baltic are were mapped. People in the Roman Empire bought huge amounts of amber where they then created a wide range of products. Some of these products were said to bring a person protection, happiness and good health.
During this era, the control of producing amber switched. The Teutonic Knights took over and were vicious rulers; taking control of the amber trading from 1283 on, after returning from the crusades, they were the sovereigns in Prussia and ruled the sources of Baltic amber, the manufacturing of amber objects, offenders found were put to death. During the ensuing 500 years, amber could only be used for religious purposes. Local people were not allowed to have anything to do with amber; unless it directly profited the knights. The knights did allow amber to be exported.
Europe has always been in love with amber and has been a favorite piece to use as jewelry. Sometime during the 17th Century artist began creating amber necklaces. At that time, amber necklaces worn were seen as a status symbol and the popularity increased. As the wealth of people increased, amber was then carved into a variety of other shapes to be purchased. Today, amber is still prevalent due to its uniqueness. Poland has some of the most skilled artist and is one of the largest amber jewelry producers.