The Unique Properties Of Amber

By: justarticles
Amber is a form of fossilized resin that is often used in the creation of jewelry and ornamentation. While not a stone in any sense of the word, amber, due to its translucent optical properties and its workability, is often considered to be a gemstone regardless of its chemical composition. While amber is a popular substance for ornamentation, it is also useful in the field of natural science. Plants and insects can become trapped in tree resin before it fossilizes and, when this occurs, may remain intact for millions of years.

From archaeological evidence, it is obvious that amber has been used in jewelry and ornamentation for millennia. Since amber has no practical uses in terms of tool or weapon making, its presence in excavated camps and along ancient trade routes shows that the humans of this period had progressed intellectually to the point that they valued appearance and jewelry.

Amber has yielded valuable clues about natural history to scientists as small pieces of wood, plants, seeds, fruit, animal droppings, and even whole insects have been found firmly encased in amber where they have been preserved for millions of years. When the amber pieces with insect or plant inclusions are discovered, they provide a rare glimpse of life as it existed millions of years in the past. In this way, amber has served as a window to the past and amber inclusions are among the most well preserved fossilized pieces of flora and fauna known to science. Unfortunately for fans of the book and movie Jurassic Park, insects trapped tend to disappear after awhile, leaving behind only the occasional exoskeleton, so you can forget about extracting DNA from amber encased mosquitoes for the time being at least.

Scientific uses aside, amber is highly valued for its qualities as a fine material for use in jewelry crafting. Amber is very workable and has a rustic, almost primitive, appearance, making it an ideal material for use in certain pieces. Amber rings are perhaps the most common type of amber jewelry, though it is not at all uncommon to find necklaces, bracelets, religious and spiritual items such as crosses and rosaries, as well as many other type of personal adornments constructed from amber.

Amber is a very ubiquitous product in the jewel maker's toolbox that can give certain designs the rustic or primitive touch that they need. While the uses of amber are primarily ornamental, there have been several interesting uses of amber in the past. Since amber is a highly dielectric material, it is very easy for amber to acquire a static electrical charge. This property of amber has been used in the past to remove lint from clothes. Amber has also been used as the foundation for altars and other objects of religious significance.
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