What is Amber? | Amanda Bass

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What is Amber?

Amber-Ring.pngAmber is the fossilized resin from prehistoric forests. This resin is fossilized through a process called "polymerization". Amber fossil with insects trapped in them are highly sought after and valuable items. The more vivid and clear the insects are to the naked eye, the more precious the item becomes and the more coveted it's to the amber lover. Ornamenting such treasures and making them into precious jewelry for any and all occasions and reasons is what makes Amanda Bass the most trusted store of its kind in the world.

Amber is sometimes mistaken as a crystal. It is not that nor is it a mineral. It is the toughened sap of an ancient - sometimes those that are aged millions of years - tree, (usually pine trees such as Pinus succinifera), consisting of compounds of terpenes, alcohols, and esters. This resin was secreted to protect the tree if stricken. The resin sheltered the tree from dying by producing a sticky, protective barrier to heal. A Large number of trees in select areas of the world would produce a special sticky resin that would leak out onto the ground and trap anything on the way to the ground; thus preserving a piece of history. The tree resin collected life forms on the way down to the ground. As time passed these forests were buried under the ocean or this special sticky resin once hardened was wiped from the forest floors by heavy rains, draining into large rivers that transported it to the ocean. The world's biggest amber deposits can be dated to 30-90 million years old. The "semi-fossilized" resin is known as copal.

Amber is the one fossil substance considered a precious stone which is not a mineral. Diamonds are mined from coal and amber is the only gem from an organic beginning. The assessment for any type of gemstone is due to its rarity. So, amount of "succinate" enclosed within amber defines the class and value. With Baltic amber containing some of the largest levels of this acid, it makes it a most extremely prized form. Amber's genic makeup of resin assisted in the perfect fossilization of the inclusions, leaving behind a perfect exhibit of life before. These fossil fragments still have viable DNA locked inside.

Composition and Formation

Amber is made up of various resinous bodies of soluble alcohol; either chloroform or alcohol and can be linked to a bituminous substance.

Botanical Origin

There are two sections of fossil resins that come from Europe. They are the Baltic amber and one other that is similar to the "Agathis group".

Geological Record

Amber accumulations found can be dated from 360 years to one million years old; placing the geological period as the "Carboniferous and Pleistocene". When this resin oozed out toward the ground, plant material, small insects were encased in the flow to the ground. Over time, the resin was encased in dirt and debris and over time petrified to become amber.

Paleontological significance

Amber has a valuable place in the scientific community as its unique form of preserving fossils is unparalleled. This type of preservation has assisted scientists in the reconstruction of lost ecosystems and extinct organisms. Some of these organisms can be dated back almost 130 million years. With this type of composition in the resin it is unfortunately, limited in the reconstruction of the type of tree that produced it. This resin contains the organic life forms that became caught in the secretion.

Amber Inclusions

Amber is the fossilization of tree resin and contains the almost perfect remains of prehistoric insects and other organisms that were trapped as the resin seeped from the tree. These fossils provide rare evidence and information about the delicate structure and soft tissues of prehistoric insects and other organisms from so long ago. Scientists have made many attempts to extract the DNA from amber for testing, but none have ever been successful.

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