While most gems are formed from minerals, amber is not. In fact, while it is a gem, it isn’t a gemstone at all. Instead, it belongs to a small group of organic gems that form as biological products of nature. Amber is not a crystal or a mineral, but rather a protective tree resin that fossilized over millions of years. It is one of the oldest treasures in the world, and it has been used in jewelry-making for millennia. If you are thinking about using amber gem beads in your jewelry-making endeavors, keep reading to learn more about this unique material!

Amber

How Amber Is Formed

Amber is simply fossilized resin from prehistoric forests. Tree resin begins in a viscous, sticky state. Over the course of millions of years, however, it loses its viscosity and stickiness. Once exposed to high temperatures and intense pressure, it transforms into a solid, orange-colored gem.

Because resin starts off as sticky, insects, plant foliage and even reptiles commonly become stuck in it. When the resin fossilizes, these organic inclusions remain. Today, amber containing life forms from up to 60 million years ago is highly prized by both paleontologists and jewelry makers. Such specimens are highly sought after by collectors as well.

baltic amber with frozen mosquito

Today, the largest deposits of amber are located in the Baltic region. One paper estimates that more than 105 tons of Baltic amber were produced in northern Europe by Paleogene forests during the Early Cretaceous period and later. The oldest amber ever discovered is estimated to be roughly 320 million years old while younger specimens are less than 100,000 years old.

Amber is typically orange in color but may also be various shades of yellow or brown. While rare, there is also amber that is blue, red and green in color.

Uses of Amber

Amber has been used for centuries in countless ways. It has been used to soothe teething pain in babies since ancient times (though this practice is no longer recommended) and is said to act as a natural healing agent. It contains succinic acid which, when the gem is warmed against your body, will be absorbed through the skin to provide pain relief. Succinic acid is also known to boost immunity and improve the balance of other acids in the body.

From a metaphysical standpoint, it is believed to offer exceptional psychic protection. Amber helps clear the mind, release negative energy and balance the emotions. It can also ease stress by eliminating fears and phobias. The stone emits a soothing, bright energy that can help one work through depression or the grieving process. It can also be used to remove toxicity from one’s relationships or life.

Many people believe that amber provides strong protection for children when worn as a necklace or bracelet or sewn into a garment. It can also be placed in a nursery or child’s bedroom to keep negative energies at bay.

Amber can be used as a good luck talisman to attract lasting love and is commonly used during the renewal of wedding vows.

Caring for Amber Jewelry

Amber Jewelry

Amber beads need to be cleaned frequently to ensure that they do not lose their beautiful shine. However, special care must be taken to prevent damage while cleaning. Never use a steam cleaner or an ultrasonic cleaner as they can cause substantial damage. Instead, use only mild soap and warm water. Place your beads or completed jewelry in the solution, and gently use your fingers to wash away any debris. Rinse off the soap and then dry the amber using a soft cloth. Polish using a drop of olive oil to create an amazing shine.

Amber should not be left in direct sunlight or exposed to extremely hot or cold temperatures. You should also avoid cooking or cleaning while wearing amber jewelry. Put on your perfume and use hairspray before adorning yourself with amber jewelry to avoid getting these potentially damaging chemicals on the gem’s surface.

Because it is delicate and easy to scratch, amber jewelry should be stored separately from other pieces. Store it in its own jewelry box or wrap each individual piece in a soft cloth to prevent damage.

If you are looking for high-quality amber gem beads to use in your next project, Beads of Cambay has you covered. Check out our website today to view our full selection.