Amber is the fossilised, hardened resin of trees, ranging in age from less than a million to more than 300 million years old. Tree resin, initially a sticky semi-liquid, first hardens by losing volatile components, which evaporate into the air over periods from a few days to a few years.
This is followed by a second stage of hardening in which the resin molecules polymerise (link with each other to form larger molecules), a process which can take anywhere from several tens of thousands of years to millions of years.
After polymerisation the amber becomes insoluble (or much less soluble) in organic solvents like acetone, toluene, alcohol, or gasoline.
Young tree resins (sometimes known as "copal") are often misleadingly marketed as "amber", or euphemistically as "young amber", but the term Amber should properly be limited to the ancient polymerised resins that do not become sticky again when a drop of organic solvent is applied.
Amber can be found in all the Baltic countries; Venezuela; Russia; Romania; Burma; in coal seams in Wyoming, USA and the Dominican Republic.
Amber is a beautiful stone that is cut and polished and used as a valuable gemstone. It is very light in weight which allows it to be used in a large jewelry piece without discomfort. Amber, or fossil tree sap, has been known since antiquity. A fossil itself, it can contain many preserved insects and other animals and plants that are tens of millions of years old. The odd inclusions that are often seen in amber usually add to amber's unique look and in many cases greatly increase its value.
Amber is often imitated by plastics, colored glasses and some modern tree resins. However, its hardness is usually greater and it is tougher than other resins. Its low specific gravity (amber can float on salt water) and inclusions can distinguish it from plastics and glasses.
Amber is transparent to translucent, its colour depends on the age and species of the tree that originally deposited the resin. Depending on its age and the original colour of the resin, Amber occurs as pale yellow, golden brown, yellow-green, honey, dark red and dark brown (called black)
Amber and the chakras
Amber will open and heal the Solar Plexus Chakra. It encourages the balancing and healing of the digestive system, the adrenals, the stomach, the liver and the gallbladder.
It assists the body in assimilation of nutrients. It is also tied to the functions of the left hemisphere of the brain. Many crippling diseases, ulcers, intestinal problems and psychosomatic diseases are eased by working with Amber and the solar plexus chakra.