Amber - History, Types & Properties

Amber - History, Types & Properties

Amber ~ A Divine Material


The word amber derives from the Arabic word “anbar”. Ancient Greeks called it “electron”, as it has the ability to magnetize small particles when rubbed against a fur cloth and it is interesting to note that the word "electricity" is related to the property of this material.
Amber is known and used even from the Paleolithic era, for beads and amulets and for healing. According to the Greek mythology, amber was made out of tears, and more precisely by Apollo brothers’ tears, who were mourning their lost brother, Phaethon, while for Chinese, amber was the soul of a tiger.


Amber is not a crystal or a mineral, but it’s classified as a gemstone. It is the fossilized resin of specific conifer trees. In order to protect itself from exterior enemies and wounds, the tree secrets out a resin that covers parts of its trunk and flows towards the soil. During this process, insects, leaves, plants and soil may be captured by the resin.
During the next phase, the polymerization process, all these various ingredients and other organic compounds mixed with the resin, get a more uniform and organized structure, and this mixture gets harder and harder. At this point, this material can be called copal.
During the next phase of the amberization process that may last millions of years, volatile oils contained in the resin (known as turpenes) evaporate and amber is formed.

Types of Amber

The most well-known amber type is the Baltic amber, representing about the 80% of the worldwide amber resources. Baltic amber, although coming in various qualities, usually contains a high percentage of succinic acid. Other types of amber are: Colombian amber, Dominican amber, Borneo amber, among others.
The chemical structure of amber is not consistent, varying not only from deposit to deposit but even within a single fragment.
It is light, with special gravity between 1.050 to 1.096, relatively soft (2.0 to 2.5 hardness according the Moh’s scale) and it melts at about 2000 C.

Amber is sold in the following types:

  • Solid amber, which is pure amber, without any added substances. It is relatively fragile, and has all the beneficial properties of amber.
  • Pressed amber, which is made of amber powder (remaining from solid amber drilling and treatment) and small solid amber pieces, both treated under high pressure and temperature to form a mass. When pressed amber is made only of amber (without the addition of artificial resins), it has the properties of amber and it’s more resistant than solid amber. But many times, pressed amber is made only with just a small percentage of amber and a high percentage of artificial resins. In this case, it’s considerably heavier and without any beneficial properties.
  • Mosaic – it’s made with small pieces of solid amber in various colors pressed and heated together, glued with a small amount of artificial resin, to form the mosaic effect. Mosaic amber is considered to be a high quality amber, because although it’s pressed, the percentage of artificial substances is very low.


Amber comes in a vast variety of colors, from white to honey, red, green, blue and dark gray or even black, in completely transparent or semi-transparent to completely opaque (cloudy) variations. The most common color for it is a honey to cognac shade.
Opaque white to white-light yellow color is called Royal amber.

Testing Amber

Amber can be tested with the Carbon-14, a laboratory test that provides incontestable results. The disadvantage of this method is that it is a very expensive one. Amber can as well be tested in the following practical ways :

  • Heat : by inserting a heated needlepoint and check the reaction of the material : amber does not melt (while copal does) - it rather burns like an incense.
  • Odor : by inserting a heated needlepoint and check the odor – with this method, one has to be familiar with the amber odor in order to distinguish the difference.
  • By the weight/ special gravity: amber is light, and floats on the salted water, while plastic doesn’t. 
  • Solubility : by placing a drop of acetone on the surface to be checked, let it evaporate and repeat. Copal will be affected, while amber will remain intact.

Healing Properties - Metaphysical

Amber has strong bonds with the earth and is a stone with large abilities of grounding and high energy. It brings stability in life but also activates. It stimulates the brain, helps in depression and promotes a positive mental attitude, changing the negative energy into a positive one. It brings balance and patience and encourages the decision-making. It encourages the peaceful disposition and develops confidence, trust, joy and piece of mind. It promotes the unselfishness and helps in discovering knowledge and wisdom.

Healing Properties - Physical

It fills the body with liveliness and it has the power to eliminate illness. Absorbing the pain, the stress and the negative energy, amber allows the body to come back in balance and to be self-healed. It cures the stomach, the spleen, the kidneys, the urinary bladder and strengthens the mucous membrane. It is an exceptional natural antibiotic.


Amber is exceptionally powerful cleaner for chakras and it is associated with the solar plexus chakra.

Astrological Sign

Amber is associated with the Leo sign.

Posted on 2017-07-29 Gemstones - Healing...

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