Amber is the ancient, fossilized resin of pine trees. 80% of it is found in Northern Europe, along the Baltic Sea—that large body of water surrounding (and beneath) the Scandanavian countries. Scientists believe it was produced some 44 million years ago. Because the resin was originally soft and sticky, amber pieces sometimes display “inclusions” of prehistoric plant or animal matter which got stuck in the resin before it hardened. These once-living remnants provide biological material which scientists can date with accuracy.
While deposits of amber have been found in-land (in Germany, Russia, and Poland), it is now believed that these pieces may have floated there in prehistoric times, become lodged, and awaited discovery by modern humans. Even today, one can find amber washed-ashore along the Baltic coast.
Amber contains a chemical call succinic acid (hence another name for amber: “succinite”). This chemical has a pain-relieving effect; some people believe that amber worn on the skin (near an injury) will help reduce pain. Others have given amber to children as a teething aid.
I prefer amber as jewelry, like the cufflinks shown above. Warm, handsome, natural, lightweight—and 44 million years old.