Amber - Gemstone Blog #1

This is the first in a series of blog posts exploring individual gemstones, we will briefly summarise each stone's history, usage and culture. This week we will be exploring Amber.

An extremely popular gemstone within the jewellery industry, known for its warm, enchanting golden colour and smooth texture. Amber is formed from fossilised tree resin, from which it gains its unique pattern and earthy colour.

Amber’s usage in jewellery over the course of history is plentiful due to its beauty. We will start with ancient Egypt, where it was often included in necklaces, designed so that the stones were laid over the wearer’s chest and heart where they could derive the maximum benefit from their supposed healing properties which we shall explore later in this post. The Egyptians heavily associated the stone with the sun god Ra, where it gained its nickname 'light of the sun'.

In ancient Greece, amber was thought to have healing properties and was used as a treatment for various illnesses wherein the patient would wear or be exposed to the stone throughout the course of treatment in an attempt to expunge illness. The stone was also used in the Middle Ages as a symbol of wealth and status, often featuring in ornate pieces in the form of a single large stone. 

Amber is considered to have unique properties and symbolic associations. It was believed to have healing properties and is often still used in alternative medicine. Amber is also said to promote positive energy and to protect the wearer from negative influences, for this reason amber jewellery is often used as a thoughtful gift for individuals suffering from arthritis.

It’s predominant usage within jewellery features the stone cut into cabochons or beads and set in necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. The stone’s natural smoothness also makes it ideal for decorative pieces such as vases and sculptures. 

Amber is a fairly soft gemstone, with an average ranking of 2.25 on the Mohs scale (Diamond is 10 for reference). It has a specific gravity of 1.05 to 1.10 and an appealing resinous luster.

Overall, Amber is a beautiful gemstone that is admired for its warm, golden color and organic origin. Join us next week where we explore the elusive Amazonite, a much rarer but no less beautiful gemstone.