The story, frozen in stone
Amber is a sunny stone. Perhaps, it is under such a “code name” that this gem has been known for many long and long years. Years and decades pass, fashion changes, and yellow beads of warm stone like the sun’s rays still adorn the most sophisticated fashionistas. Amber items probably lay in your grandmother’s treasured casket … Well, it’s time to arrange an audit and complement your image with cozy and some very natural amber jewelry.
The origin of the sun stone
There are almost more legends and myths about the origin of amber than historical evidence. But they all agree on one thing: this stone is considered the first gem on earth. Women adorned themselves with them in very ancient times.
Amber myths of ancient Greece
Perhaps the wise Greeks were the first to guess the true nature of amber. They still have a legend that Phaeton, the son of the sun god Phoebus, asked his father for permission to ride through the sky. It was dangerous, and Phoeb did not agree for a long time. The horses, who were harnessed to the sun chariot, were very hot and obeyed Phoebe alone. But Phaeton so begged his father that he finally agreed. Unfortunately, something that Phoeb was so afraid of happened. The weak Phaeton lost control and the sun rolled too close to the ground. The consequences were catastrophic: green and blooming Greece turned almost into a desert.
Then Zeus intervened. Without thinking twice, the supreme god killed the unlucky youth with lightning. The phaeton was thrown off the horses directly into the river. His mother and sisters could not reconcile with the death of his beloved and cried forever, bending over the river, in which lay the body of the unfortunate Phaeton. Amber, the Greeks assured, – these are the tears shed by the native son of Phoebe. Falling into the water, tears turned into pebbles and carried away by the stream of the river into the sea. That is why, the ancient sages completed their story, amber stone is still found only on the seashores.
The most amazing thing is that this legend is very similar to the truth. After all, it says here about climate change on the planet, and about the “tearful” nature of amber.
Today, scientists are sure: amber is completely incorrect to call a stone. This is done rather out of habit. In fact, the origin of amber is associated with the vital activity of conifers. Before us are the “tears” of conifers that were shed … tens of millions of years ago. These tears are nothing more than a petrified wood resin in which coniferous needles or insects could be “preserved”.
It is believed that about 50 million years ago, the climate on our planet changed: it became much warmer and wetter. In response to these transformations, conifers began to emit tar. A thick viscous liquid rolled down to the ground and gradually accumulated in the soil, hardening over time. And the rivers carried these solid pieces all over the earth.
Theoretically, pieces of amber can be found anywhere on the planet where conifers grew millions of years ago. But almost not every resin can become a piece of jewelry. This is a rather unstable substance, which is afraid of heat, pressure, sudden temperature changes. But those gems that fall into the hands of people are slightly different. They are not hidden in the thickness of the earth, but are, for example, on the seabed. Strong storms “push” amber to the surface, and getting to the shore is a technical matter: wind and current make this way easier. That is why, as the legend says, pebbles are found, as a rule, on the seashores.
Controversy over the name of the stone of the sun
What is amber? It is interesting that in different languages different words and associations are used to denote this gem:
in German it is bernstein, that is, a combustible stone;
in Ukrainian – burshtin (it is clear from which language this word came to us);
in Arabic – anbar (this word, slightly modified, is found in many European languages, for example, amber – in English);
in Greek – electron: it is believed that amber is a descendant of Electra, stars from the constellation Taurus;
in old Russian – alatyr (if you try to “distort” the Greek electron, then you will get an alatyr; at least, in old Russian it turned out that way);
in Latvian – dzintars: this word comes from the verb “protect” (amulets were often made from amber in the Baltic states).
Places of power
Where, then, is the same stone found that can later bear the proud name of amber jewelry? After all, as already mentioned, not every “frozen resin” has jewelry value. The main place of world production is the Baltic states and the coast of the North Sea. It is believed that up to 90% of all amber gems are mined there. But not a single Baltic. In Ukraine, near the city of Rivne, stunning amber is mined. And the third of the most significant deposits is in the Dominican Republic. Imagine the spread of geography?