Amber (or, technically, resinite) is fossilized tree resin (not sap), which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Good quality amber is used for the manufacture of ornamental objects and jewelry. There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents.
Because it originates as a soft, sticky tree resin, amber sometimes includes animal and plant material as inclusions.
Amber occurs in a range of different colors. As well as the usual yellow-orange-brown that is associated with the color "amber", amber itself can range from a whitish color through a pale lemon yellow, to brown and almost black. Other more uncommon colors include red amber (sometimes known as "cherry amber"), green amber, and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after.
Much of the most highly-prized amber is transparent, in contrast to the very common cloudy amber and opaque amber. Opaque amber contains numerous minute bubbles. This kind of amber is known as "bony amber".
Although all Dominican amber is fluorescent, the rarest Dominican amber is blue amber. It turns blue in natural sunlight and any other partially or wholly ultraviolet light source. In long-wave UV light it has a very strong reflection, almost white. Only about 100 kg is found per year, which makes it valuable and expensive.
Sometimes amber retains the form of drops and stalactites, just as it exuded from the ducts and receptacles of the injured trees. It is thought that, in addition to exuding onto the surface of the tree, amber resin also originally flowed into hollow cavities or cracks within trees, thereby leading to the development of large lumps of amber of irregular form.
Molecular polymerization, resulting from high pressures and temperatures produced by overlying sediment, transforms the resin first into copal. Sustained heat and pressure drives off turpenes and results in the formation of amber.
Amber is heterogeneous in composition, but consists of several resinous bodies more or less soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform, associated with an insoluble bituminous substance. Amber is a macromolecule by free radical polymerization of several precursors in the labdane family, communic acid, cummunol and biformene. These labdanes are diterpenes (C20H32) and trienes which means that the organic skeleton has three alkene groups available for polymerization. As amber matures over the years, more polymerization will take place as well as isomerization reactions, crosslinking and cyclization. The average composition of amber leads to the general formula C10H16O.
Amber can be classified into several forms. Most fundamentally, there are two types of plant resin with the potential for fossilization. Terpenoids, produced by conifers and angiosperms, consist of ring structures formed of isoprene (C5H8) units. Phenolic resins are today only produced by angiosperms, and tend to serve functional uses. The extinct medullosans produced a third type of resin, which is often found as amber within their veins. The composition of resins is highly variable; each species produces a unique blend of chemicals which can be identified by the use of pyrolysis–gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy. The overall chemical and structural composition is used to divide ambers into five classes.
This class is by far the most abundant. It comprises labdatriene carboxylic acids such as communic or ozic acids. It is further split into three sub-classes. Classes Ia and Ib utilise regular labdanoid diterpenes (e.g. communic acid, communol, biformenes), whilst Ic uses enantio labdanoids (ozic acid, ozol, enantio biformenes).
Baltic amber yields on dry distillation succinic acid, the proportion varying from about 3% to 8%, and being greatest in the pale opaque or bony varieties. The aromatic and irritating fumes emitted by burning amber are mainly due to this acid. Baltic amber is distinguished by its yield of succinic acid, hence the name succinite. Succinite has a hardness between 2 and 3, which is rather greater than that of many other fossil resins. Its specific gravity varies from 1.05 to 1.10. It can be distinguished from other ambers via IR spectroscopy due to a specific carbonyl absorption peak. IR spectroscopy can detect the relative age of an amber sample. Succinic acid may not be an original component of amber, but rather a degradation product of abietic acid.
Like class Ia ambers, these are based on communic acid; however, they lack succinic acid.
Dominican amber differentiates itself from Baltic amber by being mostly transparent and often containing a higher number of fossil inclusions. This has enabled the detailed reconstruction of the ecosystem of a long-vanished tropical forest. Resin from the extinct species Hymenaea protera is the source of Dominican amber and probably of most amber found in the tropics. It is not "succinite" but "retinite".
These ambers are formed from resins with a sesquiterpenoid base, such as cadinene.
These ambers are polystyrenes.
This class is something of a wastebasket; its ambers are not polymerized, but mainly consist of cedarane-based sesquiterpenoids.
Class V resins are considered to be produced by a pine or pine relative. They comprise a mixture of diterpinoid resins and n-alkyl compounds. Their type mineral is Highgate Copalite.
The oldest amber recovered dates to the Upper Carboniferous period ( ). Its chemical composition makes it difficult to match the amber to its producers - it is most similar to the resins produced by flowering plants, which did not evolve until the Jurassic, around . Amber becomes abundant soon afterwards, in the Early Cretaceous, , when it is found in association with insects.
Commercially most important are the deposits of Baltic and Dominican amber.
Baltic amber or succinite (historically documented as Prussian amber) is found as irregular nodules in a marine glauconitic sand, known as blue earth, occurring in the Lower Oligocene strata of Samland in Prussia (Latin: Sambia), in historical sources also referred to as Glaesaria. After 1945 this territory around Königsberg was turned into Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, where it is now systematically mined. It appears, however, to have been partly derived from yet earlier Tertiary deposits (Eocene); and it occurs also as a derivative mineral in later formations, such as the drift. Relics of an abundant flora occur as inclusions trapped within the amber while the resin was yet fresh, suggesting relations with the flora of Eastern Asia and the southern part of North America. Heinrich Göppert named the common amber-yielding pine of the Baltic forests Pinites succiniter, but as the wood, according to some authorities, does not seem to differ from that of the existing genus it has been also called Pinus succinifera. It is improbable, however, that the production of amber was limited to a single species; and indeed a large number of conifers belonging to different genera are represented in the amber-flora.
Amber is a unique preservational mode, preserving otherwise unfossilizable parts of organisms; as such it is helpful in the reconstruction of ecosystems and organisms.
The chemical composition of the resin is, unfortunately, of limited utility in reconstructing the phylogenetic affinity of the resin producer.
Amber sometimes contains animals or plant matter that became caught in the resin as it was secreted. Insects, spiders and their webs, annelids, frogs, crustaceans, bacteria and amoebae, marine microfossils, wood, flowers and fruit, hair, feathers and other small organisms have been recovered in ambers dating to . In most cases the original organic material has decayed, leaving only a cavity, and sometimes remnants of resistant materials such as chitin.
The abnormal development of resin has been called succinosis. Impurities are quite often present, especially when the resin dropped on to the ground, so that the material may be useless except for varnish-making, whence the impure amber is called firniss. Enclosures of pyrites may give a bluish color to amber. The so-called black amber is only a kind of jet. Bony amber owes its cloudy opacity to minute bubbles in the interior of the resin.
Amber has been used since antiquity in the manufacture of jewelry and ornaments, and also forms the flavoring for akvavit liquor.
Amber has been used since the Neolithic, from 13,000 years ago. Amber ornaments have been found in Mycenaean tombs and elsewhere across Europe. Folklore attributed it medicinal properties. Turkish fable has it that mouthpieces made from it prevents infection when pipes are shared. To this day it is used in the manufacture of smoking and glassblowing mouthpieces. Amber's place in culture and tradition lends it a tourism value; one museum is even dedicated to the mineral.
Amber is globally distributed, mainly in rocks of Cretaceous age or younger. Historically, the coast around Königsberg in Prussia was the world's leading source of amber; about 90% of the world's extractable amber is still located in the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia on the Baltic Sea. Pieces of amber torn from the seafloor are cast up by the waves, and collected by hand, dredging or diving. Elsewhere, amber is mined, both in open works and underground galleries. The nodules from the blue earth have to be freed from matrix and divested of their opaque crust, which can be done in revolving barrels containing sand and water. Erosion removes this crust from sea-worn amber.
The Vienna amber factories, which use pale amber to manufacture pipes and other smoking tools, turn it on a lathe and polish it with whitening and water or with rotten stone and oil. The final lustre is given by friction with flannel.
When gradually heated in an oil-bath, amber becomes soft and flexible. Two pieces of amber may be united by smearing the surfaces with linseed oil, heating them, and then pressing them together while hot. Cloudy amber may be clarified in an oil-bath, as the oil fills the numerous pores to which the turbidity is due. Small fragments, formerly thrown away or used only for varnish, are now used on a large scale in the formation of "amberoid" or "pressed amber". The pieces are carefully heated with exclusion of air and then compressed into a uniform mass by intense hydraulic pressure; the softened amber being forced through holes in a metal plate. The product is extensively used for the production of cheap jewelry and articles for smoking. This pressed amber yields brilliant interference colors in polarized light. Amber has often been imitated by other resins like copal and kauri, as well as by celluloid and even glass. Baltic amber is sometimes colored artificially, but also called "true amber".
Often amber (particularly with insect inclusions) is counterfeited using a plastic resin. A simple test consists of touching the object with a heated pin and determining if the resultant odor is of wood resin. If not, the object is counterfeit, although a positive test may not be conclusive owing to a thin coat of real resin. Often counterfeits will have a too-perfect pose and position of the trapped insect.
The English word amber stems from the old Arabic word anbargris or ambergris and refers to an oily, perfumed substance secreted by the sperm whale. Arabic a'mbar > Middle English ambre > Old French ambre > Medieval Latin ambra (or ambar). It floats on water and is washed up on the beaches. Due to a confusion of terms (see: Abu Zaid al Hassan from Siraf & Sulaiman the Merchant (851), Silsilat-al-Tawarikh (travels in Asia), it came to be the name for fossil resin, which is also found on beaches, and which is lighter than stone, but not light enough to float.
The presence of insects in amber was noticed by Pliny the Elder in his Naturalis Historia and led him to the (correct) theory that at some point, amber had to be in a liquid state to cover the bodies of insects. Hence he gave it the expressive name of succinum or gum-stone, a name that is still in use today to describe succinic acid as well as succinite, a term given to a particular type of amber by James Dwight Dana (see below under Baltic Amber).
The Greek name for amber was ηλεκτρον (electron) and was connected to the Sun God, one of whose titles was Elector or the Awakener. It is discussed by Theophrastus, possibly the first ever mention of the material, and in the 4th century BC.
The modern term "electron" comes from the Greek word for amber (which was then translated as electrum), and was chosen because of the material's electrostatic properties. It was coined in 1891 by the Irish physicist George Stoney whilst analyzing elementary charges for the first time.
Heating amber will soften it and eventually it will burn, which is why in Germanic languages the word for amber is a literal translation of burn-Stone (In German it is Bernstein, in Dutch it is barnsteen etc.). Heated above 200°C, amber suffers decomposition, yielding an "oil of amber", and leaving a black residue which is known as "amber colophony", or "amber pitch"; when dissolved in oil of turpentine or in linseed oil this forms "amber varnish" or "amber lac".
Amber from the Baltic Sea has been extensively traded since antiquity and in the main land, from where amber was traded 2000 years ago, the natives called it glaes (referring to its see-through similarity to glass).
The Baltic Lithuanian term for amber is Gintaras and Latvian Dzintars. They and the Slavic jantar are thought to originate from Phoenician jainitar (sea-resin). However, while most Slavic languages, such as Russian and Czech, retain the old Slavic word, in the Polish language, despite still correct, it is used very rarely (even considered archaic) and was replaced by the word bursztyn deriving from the German analogue.
Jaipur is the largest city in Rajasthan and was built in the eighteenth century by Sawai Jai Singh as India's first planned city. Although Jaipur serves mainly as a stepping stone for travelers heading to the desert cities of Jodhpur and Jaisalmer, it is not without its own attractions, such as several massive Rajput forts. So, despite the chaos and dust, it is definitely worth pausing here for several days. Now Jaipur is growing fast and various development projects are being done by the government and private enterprises.
Jaipur is often called the Pink City in reference to its distinctly colored buildings, which were originally painted this color to imitate the red sandstone architecture of Mughal cities. The present earthy red color originates from repainting of the buildings undertaken for a visit by the Prince of Wales in 1876.
Jaipur Airport (JAI/VIJP) is situated in the satellite town of Sanganer and offers sporadic (chartered) service to London and Dublin. Flights to Singapore and Bangkok are available via Delhi. Direct flights to Sharjah, Muscat and Dubai are also available.
One plus point for those flying out of Delhi is that the Delhi airport is close to the highway, so you could reach the airport without entering the city.
Indian Railways connects Jaipur from all over the country and is one of the cheapest options. A number of daily trains connect Jaipur to Delhi, Ahmedabad, Agra,Mumbai, Jodhpur, Kota, Alwar and Ajmer. Daily connections are also available for Udaipur, Chittaurgarh, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Kolkata, Jammu, Pathankot, Ludhiana, Kanpur, Roorkee, Haridwar, Gwalior, Indore, Jabalpur and Bhopal.
budgetary requirements. Long-distance trains arrive from many other major cities including Lucknow, Allahabad, Benaras, Vadodara, Surat, Nagpur, Bilaspur, Raipur, Patna, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Chennai, Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad, Goa, Mangalore, Kozhikode and Kochi.
However the most popular option from Delhi is the Shatabdi express which departs New Delhi station at 6:05AM and reaches Jaipur at 10:50AM.
There are three major railway stations Jaipur Junction (main station),Durgapura and Gandhinagar (Jaipur), which is not to be confused with Gandhinagar in Gujarat state. All trains stop at Jaipur Junction and a few trains stop at Durgapura and Gandhinagar stations also.
There is an excellent bus service between Jaipur to Delhi by Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation with buses approximately every half an hour both sides. There are several types of buses including Deluxe, AC and the superior AC Volvo buses. From Delhi you can board the bus from Bikaner House on Pandara Road next to India Gate. From Jaipur you can board the bus from Narayan Singh Circle or the main Sindhi Camp bus stand. You can also book tickets up to 6 days in advance from both these places.These buses typically take 6 hours (by Volvo) or 6-7 hours by other deluxe buses. There are also some private bus operators active in the city but you should avoid them as most of them do not have permits and drive rashly. Also note that if you plan to leave from Delhi airport, you can get off the bus at Dhaula Kuan and get an autorickshaw or perhaps a taxi from there. You do not need to enter congested Delhi.
Express buses to Ahmedabad and several cities and towns within Rajasthan (such as Kota and Bundi) are also available.
This is the most popular way of reaching from Delhi. The journey by car from Delhi to Jaipur takes less than 4hrs. National Highway no. 8 connects Delhi to Jaipur via the industrial township of Gurgaon. The road is excellent.
It is the best and cheaper way to visit the Jaipur Local Sights by RTDC(Rajasthan Tourism Dept. Corp.) There are three type of tours : (1)Full day Tour, (2) Half Day Tour and (3)Pink city by night Tour. For Details : http://www.rtdc.in/ctt.htm
There will be one guide with each bus to give you brief info about all sights.
By and large, autorickshaw is the best way around the city. In order to hire an autorickshaw for a whole day (with a trip to Amber Fort) costs 350 INR (August 2009). Prepaid autos are available at the Jaipur railway station and the Sindhi Camp bus stand.
The rates have been revised to around Rs. 350-400, and the autorikshaw walas will tell you to take the Slip from the Police Booths, but you can also go directly without the Slip but don't forget to Bargain over the price in that case, it could be much cheaper. It'll be best if you start your Sight seeing by 10 in the morning as all the major spots get closed by 4:30 and each spot takes a lot of time especially the Forts.
In some cases, the AutoRickshaw drivers try to bring up with some excuses that this happened or that happened so pay more, or any lame story or excuse to get some more from you after the trip is over. But strict to the original amount decided, Police in Jaipur is very friendly, in case you feel the AutoRickshaw driver is trying to misguide you or forcing you for some extra money then just refer the police persons located at various spots. The cops are really friendly and caring there. Also some autorickshaw drivers will tell you to buy artifacts and gifts from some shops especially some located on way to amber fort. Firmly refuse to stop there as these shops operate on commission to the auto driver and fleece you. If you've got to buy some souvenirs buy them in city's main shopping areas like bapu bazzar. Also take some first hand information about the eating and Shopping places as the drivers have their fixed commissions at shops and eating outlets, so you might end up paying more for and item or eating at an undesirable place.
Cycle-rickshaws are cheaper, but the amount of time it takes quickly makes the extra few rupees worth it. Walking in the bazaar is a treat, although side streets are a bit less welcoming and offer a sharper glimpse of poverty.
The taxis in Jaipur are very convenient and comfortable. Most of the vehicles are Maruti Omni Vans or Tata Indica cars, which are much safer than Auto rickshaws, and the drivers are polite. If you are alone or going to an unknown destination, you are strongly advised to choose this option, even though the rates will be double that of an autorickshaw. you must call for a taxi, as it is nearly impossible to hail one unless you are at a major point like the airport. When you call, you should negotiate a fare (or agree on using the meter) and get the taxi's 'number'. The taxi will come pick you up, and call you when they are close. Taxis generally have yellow license plates with black letters. Some taxis are painted with yellow & black color scheme on their body which helps to uniquely identify from the private cars.
Most travel agencies will provide cars for local hire. There are many tour operators available which are approved by Tourism deptt. and one can hire for a leisure tours.
B.M. Birla Auditorium and Convention Centre is located at the heart of Jaipur. This auditorium is spread over 9.8 acre, that includes a computer centre, interactive science museum, an information processing centre, library, a processing planetarium, eight research division, a dissemination cell and an auditorium. Auditorium has the capacity of 1350 people to seat and it is among the largest auditoriums of India. This auditorium is built up to international conference standards.
Also called Birla temple, this is a relatively new temple made of white marble with beautiful carvings.This temple is situated below the well known Moti Dungri fort in Jaipur. It covers the vast area in jaipur city and is built in a contemporary manner. Birla Temple is completely constructed with finest high quality white marbles.
Jain temple in Shivdaspura is well known as “Bara Padampura”. This temple comes under district Jaipur. Temple is a unique place of miracles and is famous in north India for its very beautiful statue of God Padamprabhu (The 6th Teerthankar for Jain’s). God is sitting in a crossed leg seating posture. Height of the statue is 2 feet & 4 inch and statue is made of pure white stone. Statue was appeared while digging for foundation of a house.
Galtaji is an ancient Hindu pilgrimage site situated 10 km from Jaipur on Jaipur-Agra highway near Sisodia Rani Garden. The main temple here is temple of Galtaji in constructed in pink stone. The temple has a number of pavilions with rounded roofs, exquisitely carved pillars and painted walls. The temple is surrounded by natural springs and reservoirs that are considered holy .There are also seven tanks or kunds here.
Jantar Mantar is the biggest of five astronomical observatory build by Maharaja Jai Singh during the period 1727-1734 in north India. It is located very close to the City Palace. The observatory consists of fourteen major geometric devices (or yantra in Hindi) for measuring time, predicting eclipses, tracking stars in their orbits, ascertaining the declinations of planets, and determining the celestial altitudes etc. Unfortunately no text is made available to tourists regarding the various yantras nor are there any plaques/boards in front of them. In most of the cases local guides are not of any help either.
Hawa Mahal (or Palace of breeze) was built in 1799 by Maharaja Sawai Singh as part of City Palace. It was an extension of the Zenana (women) chamber. It's purpose was to allow royal ladies to observe everyday life in the street below without being seen. It is a five storey high red sandstone structure complete with over 950 windows. The breeze (or hawa in Hindi) circulates through these windows giving the palace its name.
This pale is located at a distance of around 15km from Jaipur, on the Jaipur-Amber road. This is a royal cremation site of the royal rulers of jaipur.
Just remember that nothing comes 'fixed price' in Jaipur, even in the self advertised Govt. (RTDC) approved shops & emporiums. Almost everything, from food to to transportation to handicrafts, even accomodation can be bargained down upto a 60% discount on the quoted price. The lowest rates will be found in the bazaars - Bapu & Johari. Even here, keep inquiring in several shops - each one will have a different price for the same item.
Jaipur has an excellent selection of expensive places to be treated like a maharaja for a day or two, most of which are many times booked a year in advance. Though the list is endless, a few of them are:
Beyond the standard dangers of travelling in India (thieves, hustlers, touts, questionable drinking water), Jaipur has developed its own set of unique scams.
You may be accosted by youths on motorbikes who claim that Westerners are unwilling to engage with the Indian people. "Why don't tourists want to talk to me",or "I am a student, I want to learn about your culture" is the normal opener The scam artist then changes their tune and invites the traveller to drink tea. Often the tourist will only be told of the gem stones the next day or after dinner. Usually it is some sort of tax problem. The unwitting mark is then sold fake stones for resale in his/her home country. Even if stones are posted in front of your eyes,you are more likely to see Elvis than the gems again. As a general rule, do not accept tea from strangers, but in addition be wary of any who invite you to talk in secluded areas.
There have been reports of smugglers trying to entice travellers to assist in smuggling items. Under no circumstances accept - smuggling is a major criminal act.
Dhammathali Vipassana Meditation Center 10 day meditation courses run for a donation. PH: 2680220
Madhavanand Girls College Free hatha yoga courses from 6am to 7am PH: 2200317
Mr Kripal Singh Renounced artist offers Indian painting and ceramic classes for free, however you must supply materials. Advance bookings are required. PH: 2201127
Maharaja Sawai Mansingh Sangeet Mahavidyalaya (music school) Music lessons 8am-11am Dance lessons 4-8pm Tuition starts from Rs500/month
Continue into Rajasthan, to the beautiful city of lakes Udaipur, the stunning, powerful fort of Jodhpur, and onto the dreamy, enchanted desert city of Jaisalmer or for a more untouristic desert city go for the charm of Bikaner as an alternative to Jaisalmer.
To Udaipur train #2965, Jaipur Udaipur Superfast Express, is the best option has it has recently entered service after work was finished on converting the gauge enroute although many will try to tell you that it is still not operational at Railway Reservation Offices outside of Jaipur.
In 1767 A.D. then aged Rao Dalip Singh was commander of Jaipur forces against Bharatpur ruler Jawahar Singh at Maonda-Mandholi, near Neem Ka Thana, for Jaipur ruler Sawai Madho Singh I. In a fierce battle Rao Dalel Singh his son Kunwar Laxman Singh and grand son Bhanwar Raj Singh (11yr) all lost their lives. Such was the bravery of Bhandarej chieftains.
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AMBER, a fossil resin much used for the manufacture of ornamental objects. The name comes from the Arab. anbar, probably through the Spanish, but this word referred originally to ambergris, which is an animal substance quite distinct from yellow amber. True amber has sometimes been called karabe, a word of oriental derivation signifying "that which attracts straw," in allusion to the power which amber possesses of acquiring an electric charge by friction. This property, first recorded by Thales of Miletus, suggested the word "electricity," from the Greek, i X�KTpov, a name applied, however, not only to amber but also to an alloy of gold and silver. By Latin writers amber is variously called electrum, sucinum (succinum), and glaesum or glesum. The Hebrew lhashmal seems to have been amber.
Amber is not homogeneous in composition, but consists of several resinous bodies more or less soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform, associated with an insoluble bituminous substance. The average composition of amber leads to the general formula C10H160. Heated rather below 300° C. amber suffers decomposition, yielding an "oil of amber," and leaving a black residue which is known as "amber colophony," or "amber pitch"; this forms, when dissolved in oil of turpentine or in linseed oil, "amber varnish" or "amber lac." True amber yields on dry distillation succinic acid, the proportion varying from about 3 to 8%, and being greatest in the pale opaque or "bony" varieties. The aromatic and irritating fumes emitted by burning amber are mainly due to this acid. True Baltic amber is distinguished by its yield of succinic acid, for many of the other fossil resins which are often termed amber contain either none of it, or only a very small proportion; hence the name "succinite" proposed by Professor. J. D. Dana, and now commonly used in scientific writings as a specific term for the real Prussian amber. Succinite has a hardness between 2 and 3,. which is rather greater than that of many other fossil resins. Its specific gravity varies from r�05 to 1�10.
The Baltic amber or succinite is found as irregular nodules in a marine glauconitic sand, known as "blue earth," occurring in the Lower Oligocene strata of Samland in East Prussia, where it is now systematically mined. It appears, however, to have been partly derived from yet earlier Tertiary deposits (Eocene); and it occurs also as a derivative mineral in later formations, such as the drift. Relics of an abundant flora occur in association with the amber, suggesting relations with the flora of Eastern Asia and the southern part of North America. H. R. GOppert named the common amber-yielding pine of the Baltic forests Finites succinifer, but as the wood, according to some authorities, does not seem to differ from that of the existing genus it has been also called Pinus succinifera. It is improbable, however, that the production of amber was limited to a single species; and indeed a large number of conifers belonging to different genera are represented in the amber-flora. The resin contains, in addition to the beautifully preserved plant-structures, numerous remains of insects, spiders, annelids, crustaceans and other small organisms which became enveloped while the exudation was fluid. In most cases the organic structure has disappeared, le i tving only a cavity, with perhaps a trace of chitin. Even hair and feathers have occasionally been represented among the enclosures. Fragments of wood not infrequently occur, with the tissues well-preserved by impregnation with the resin; while leaves, flowers and fruits are occasionally found in marvellous perfection. Sometimes the amber retains the form of drops and stalactites, just as it exuded from the ducts and receptacles of the injured trees. The abnormal development of resin has been called "succinosis." Impurities are often present, especially when the resin dropped on to the ground, so that the material may be useless except for varnish-making, whence the impure amber is called firniss. Enclosures of pyrites may give a bluish colour to amber. The so-called "black amber" is only a kind of jet. "Bony amber" owes its cloudy opacity to minute bubbles in the interior of the resin.
Although amber is found along the shores of a large part of the Baltic and the North Sea, the great amber-producing country is the promontory of Samland. Pieces of amber torn from the sea-floor are cast up by the waves, and collected at ebb-tide. Sometimes the searchers wade into the sea, furnished with nets at the end of long poles, by means of which they drag in the sea-weed containing entangled masses of amber; or they dredge from boats in shallow water and rake up amber from between the boulders. Divers have been employed to collect amber from the deeper waters. Systematic dredging on a large scale was at one time carried on in the Kurisches Haff by Messrs Stantien and Becker, the great amber merchants of Konigsberg. At the present time extensive mining operations are conducted in quest of amber. The "pit amber" was formerly dug in open works, but is now also worked by underground galleries. The nodules from the "blue earth" have to be freed from matrix and divested of their opaque crust, which can be done in revolving barrels containing sand and water. The sea-worn amber has lost its crust, but has often acquired a dull rough surface by rolling in sand.
Amber is extensively used for beads and other trivial ornaments, and for cigar-holders and the mouth-pieces of pipes. It is regarded by the Turks as specially valuable, inasmuch as it is said to be incapable of transmitting infection as the pipe passes from mouth to mouth. The variety most valued in the East is the pale straw-coloured, slightly cloudy amber. Some of the best qualities are sent to Vienna for the manufacture of smoking appliances. In working amber, it is turned on the lathe and polished with whitening and water or with rotten stone and oil, the final lustre being given by friction with flannel. During the working much electricity is developed.
By gradually heating amber in an oil-bath it becomes soft and flexible. Two pieces of amber may be united by smearing the surfaces with linseed oil, heating them, and then pressing them together while hot. Cloudy amber maybe clarified in an oil-bath, as the oil fills the numerous pores to which the turbidity is due. Small fragments, formerly thrown away or used only for varnish, are now utilized on a large scale in the formation of "ambroid" or "pressed amber." The pieces are carefully heated with exclusion of air and then compressed into a uniform mass by intense hydraulic pressure; the softened amber being forced through holes in a metal plate. The product is extensively used for the production of cheap jewellery and articles for smoking. This pressed amber yields brilliant interference colours in polarized light. Amber has often been imitated by other resins like copal and kauri, as well as by celluloid and even glass. True amber is sometimes coloured artificially.
Amber was much valued as an ornamental material in very early times. It has been found in Mycenaean tombs; it is known from lake-dwellings in Switzerland, and it occurs with neolithic remains in Denmark, whilst in England it is found with interments of the bronze age. A remarkably fine cup turned in amber from a bronze-age barrow at Hove is now in the Brighton Museum. Beads of'amber occur with Anglo-Saxon relics in the south of England; and up to a comparatively recent period the material was valued as an amulet. It is still believed to possess certain medicinal virtue.
Rolled pieces of amber, usually small but occasionally of very large size, may be picked up on the east coast of England, having probably been washed up from deposits under the North Sea. Cromer is the best-known locality, but it occurs also on other parts of the Norfolk coast, as well as at Yarmouth, Southwold, Aldeburgh and Felixstowe in Suffolk, and as far south as Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex, whilst northwards it is not unknown in Yorkshire. On the other side of the North Sea, amber is found at various localities on the coast of Holland and Denmark. On the shores of the Baltic it occurs not only on the Prussian and Pomeranian coast but in the south of Sweden, in Bornholm and other islands, and in S. Finland. Amber has indeed a very wide distribution, extending over a large part of northern Europe and occurring as far east as the Urals. Some of the amber districts of the Baltic and North Sea were known in prehistoric times, and led to early trade with the south of Europe. Amber was carried to Olbia on the Black Sea, Massilia on the Mediterranean, and Hatria at the head of the Adriatic; and from these centres it was distributed over the Hellenic world.
Whilst succinite is the common variety of European amber, the following varieties also occur: Gedanite, or "brittle amber," closely resembling succinite, but much more brittle, not quite so hard, with a lower meltingpoint and containing no succinic acid. It is often covered with a white powder easily removed by wiping. The name comes from Gedanum, the Latin name of Danzig.
Stantienite, a brittle, deep brownish-black resin, destitute of succinic acid.
Beckerite, a rare amber in earthy-brown nodules, almost opaque, said to be related in properties to gutta-percha.
Glessite, a nearly opaque brown resin, with numerous microscopic cavities and dusty enclosures, named from glesum, an old name for amber.
Krantzite, a soft amber-like resin, found in the lignites of Saxony.
Allingite, a fossil resin allied to succinite, from Switzerland.
Roumanite, or Rumanian amber, a dark reddish resin, occurring with lignite in Tertiary deposits. The nodules are penetrated by cracks,;but the material can be worked on the lathe. Sulphur is present to the extent of more than i %, whence the smell of suiphuretted hydrogen when the resin is heated. According to G. Murgoci the Rumanian amber is true succinite.
Simetite, or Sicilian amber, takes its name from the river Simeto or Giaretta. It occurs in Miocene deposits and is also found washed up by the sea near Catania. This beautiful material presents a great diversity of tints, but a rich hyacinth red is common. It is remarkable for its fluorescence, which in the opinion of some authorities adds to its beauty. Amber is also found in many localities in Emilia, especially near the sulphur-mines of Cesena. It has been conjectured that the ancient Etruscan ornaments in amber were wrought in the Italian material, but it seems that amber from the Baltic reached the Etruscans at Hatria. It has even been supposed that amber passed from Sicily to northern Europe in early times - a supposition said to receive some support from the fact that much of the amber dug up in Denmark is red; but it must not be forgotten that reddish amber is found also on the Baltic, though not being fashionable it is used rather for varnish-making than for ornaments. Moreover, yellow amber after long burial is apt to acquire a reddish colour. The amber of Sicily seems not to have been recognized in ancient times, for it is not mentioned by local authorities like Diodorus Siculus.
Burmite is the name under which the Burmese amber is now described. Until the British occupation of Burma but little was known as to its occurrence, though it had been worked for centuries and was highly valued by the natives and by the Chinese. It is found in flat rolled pieces, irregularly distributed through a blue clay probably of Miocene age. It occurs in the Hukawng valley, in the Nangotaimaw hills, where it is irregularly worked in shallow pits. The mines were visited some years ago by Dr Fritz Noetling, and the mineral has been described by Dr Otto Helm. The Burmese amber is yellow or reddish, some being of ruby tint, and like the Sicilian amber it is fluorescent. Burmite and simetite agree also in being destitute of succinic acid. Most of the Burmese amber is worked at Mandalay into rosary-beads and ear-cylinders.
Many other fossil resins more or less allied to amber have been described. Schraufite is a reddish resin from the Carpathian sandstone, and it occurs with jet in the cretaceous rocks of the Lebanon; ambrite is a resin found in many of the coals of New Zealand; retinite occurs in the lignite of Bovey Tracey in Devonshire and elsewhere; whilst copaline has been found in the London clay of Highgate in North London. Chemawinite or cedarite is an amber-like resin from the Saskatchewan river in Canada.
A fluorescent amber is said, however, to occur in some abundance in Southern Mexico. Amber is recorded also from the Dominican Republic.
REFERENCES. - See, for Baltic amber, P. Dahms, "Ueber die Vorkommen and die Verwendung des Bernsteins," Zeitsch. fur praktische Geologie, 1901, p. 201; H. Conwentz, Monographie der baltischen Bernsteinbeiume (Danzig, 1890); R. Klebs, Guide to Exhibit of the German Amber Industry at World's Fair (St Louis, 1904); and abstract by G. F. Kunz in Mineral Resources of the U. S. (1904). For Sicilian amber, W. Arnold Buffum, The Tears of the Heliades, or Amber as a Gem (London, 1896). For Burmese amber, papers by Fritz Noetling and Otto Helm in Records of Geol. Surv. of India, vol. xxvi. (1893), pp. 31, 61. For British amber, Clement Reid in Trans. Norfolk Nat. Soc., vol. iii. (1884) p. 601; vol. iv. (1886) p. 247; and H. Conwentz in Natural Science, vol. ix. (1896) pp. 99, 161. (F. W. R.*)
<< Amber, India
From a form of the Hindi आसमान (āsmān, meaning the heavens).
(Ezek 1:4, 27; 8:2. Heb., hashmal, rendered by the LXX. elektron, and by the Vulgate electrum), a metal compounded of silver and gold. Some translate the word by "polished brass," others "fine brass," as in Rev 1:15; 2:18. It was probably the mixture now called electrum. The word has no connection, however, with what is now called amber, which is a gummy substance, reckoned as belonging to the mineral kingdom though of vegetable origin, a fossil resin.
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[[File:|thumb|250px|The Amber Room was reconstructed from the Kaliningrad amber.]]
Although not mineralized, it is sometimes considered and used as a gemstone. Neopagans often use the stone for healing. This stone was called Freya's tears by the ancient Norse. Most of the world's amber is in the range of 30–90 million years old. Semi-fossilized resin or sub-fossil amber is called copal.
Baltic amber (historically documented as Prussian amber) is found as irregular nodules in a marine sand, known as blue earth, in the Lower Oligocene strata of Sambia in Kaliningrad Oblast, where it is now systematically mined.
The resin can contain, in addition to the beautifully preserved plant-structures, remains of insects, spiders, annelids, frogs, crustaceans and other small organisms which became enveloped while it was fluid. In most cases the organic structure has disappeared, leaving only a cavity, with perhaps a trace of chitin.
Although amber is found along the shores of a large part of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, the great amber-producing country is the promontory of Sambia, now part of Russia. About 90% of the world's extractable amber is located in the Kaliningrad region of Russia on the Baltic Sea. Amber is extensively used for beads and other ornaments, and for cigar-holders and the mouth-pieces of pipes.
When gradually heated in an oil-bath, amber becomes soft and flexible. Two pieces of amber may be united by smearing the surfaces with linseed oil, heating them, and then pressing them together while hot. Cloudy amber may be clarified in an oil-bath, as the oil fills the numerous pores to which the turbidity is due. Small fragments, formerly thrown away or used only for varnish, are now utilized on a large scale in the formation of "ambroid" or "pressed amber". The pieces are carefully heated with exclusion of air and then compressed into a uniform mass by intense hydraulic pressure; the softened amber being forced through holes in a metal plate. The product is extensively used for the production of cheap jewellery and articles for smoking.
Amber was much valued as an ornamental material in very early times.
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