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What Is Amber?

Understanding what amber really is.

Amber is most ancient of the widely known semi-precious stones which age counts millions of years and even it was a contemporary of dinosaurs. This is pitch earth of ancient coniferous plants which has been formed in the course of evolution of living soil cover. The wood which has generated this pitch stood on the soil which has developed in the Cretaceous, and nowadays being under waters of the Baltic Sea. Interestingly, Amber as we know it today has been collectively named, owing to the fact that amber of various types is to be found from pitch of different types of pines.

For millions of years this pitch hasn’t altered its essential structure and properties. It is especially hard to find any other stone having such intriguing history of naming. Today it adopted more than 30 different names, and each of them reflects some property the amber possesses. Why amber has such a variety names? Most probably, it is related to the fact that its origins are scattered all over the world and different nations called it in their own manner and style.

In Ancient Greece term for amber was electrum (radiant, solar, shining), the Romans called it atvchech (the hardened dew fallen from heaven), in Germany – börnstēn (hot, burning), in Turkey – kehribar (the thief of straw), in Russian – has remained the old Slavic name – jantar (“jan” and “ter” – energy of the earth), in Lithuania – gintaras, and in Latvia – dzintars! Meanwhile, at present chiefly amber is associated with its Baltic origin – succinate.

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