The story of Amber
Amber, also known as the "Gold of the North" (in greek Electrum, Succinum in Latin), was formed at least forty million years ago.
The Baltic Sea region has been the original source for amber since Prehistoric times. Although it is not known exactly when Baltic amber was first used, it can be linked to the Stone Age populations. Amber of Baltic origin was found in Egyptian tombs that date back to 3200 B.C., establishing the archaeological barter and trade routes.
Amber is known to mineralogists as succinite, from the Latin succinum, which means amber. Heating amber will soften it and eventually it will burn, a fact that has given rise to the name of bernstein, by which the Germans know amber. Rubbing amber with a cloth will make it electric, attracting bits of paper. The Greek name for amber is elektron, or the origin of our word electricity. Amber is a poor conductor of heat and feels warm to the touch (minerals feel cool).
Amber studies are truly interdisciplinary. Geologists and palaeontologists are interested in amber because it is a fossil, evidence of prehistoric life. Archaeologists look at trade routes and the barter view of amber. Organic chemists investigate the physical and chemical properties. Botanists and entomologists examine the botanical sources of amber and embalmed insects and debris. Poets, writers, and artists look to amber for sunny inspirations. Gemmologists and jewellers desire amber for its beauty and rarity. Curators and conservationists preserve and archive amber.
Today, some of the myths and beliefs of antiquity has been scientifically proven and amber can be recognized for his important therapeutic properties.
They are scientific confirmation of many its physical properties (including the positive ionization, the large amount of iodio and succinic acid contained in Amber)
The Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925) argued that the amber strengthens the vital energy in the child and / or the wearer, because as a fossil resin, amber stops electromagnetic fields.
The Nobel Prize winner Robert Koch (1843 - 1910) in his work confirmed positive influence of succinic acid naturally contained in the human body. The doctors during the war, in the absence of anything else, they used the resin taken from trees on a wound as a disinfectant.
Amber and medicine
Hippocrates(460-377 BC), father of medicine
In his works described medicinal properties and methods of application of amber that were later used by scientists until the Middle Ages.
In ancient Rome
Was used as medicine and as a protection against different diseases. Physicians of those times, wrote that amber protects from madness, powder of amber mixed with honey cures throat, ear and eye diseases and taken with water cures stomach illnesses.
Persian scientist Ibn Sina
Called amber remedy for many diseases. There was a belief in eastern countries that amber smoke strengthens human spirit and gives courage. In China "amber syrup", a mixture of succinct acid and opium, was used as a tranquillizer and antispasmodic.
In the Middle Ages
Amber beads were even worn for the treatment of jaundice. It was believed that the magic force of this yellow stone could absorb unhealthy yellowness of the skin and the weakness of the organism. Terms Oleum succini (amber oil), Balsamum succini (amber balsam), Extractum succini (amber extract) were often used in the recipes and records of the alchemists of those times.
Inclusions in amber can be both organic and inorganic. Sulfur and pyrite (fool's gold) are examples of inorganic inclusions.
Black inclusions can be decayed botanical debris, carbonized wood, cones, needles, and bark. Over a thousand species of insects and crustaceans have been found and when amber is in contact with the sea, barnacles and other skeletons of colonial crustaceans will cover the surface.
Entombed lizards do attract much attention, but most of the trapped remains are flies (account for 54% of the insects trapped). Different species embalmed in amber include: flies, ants, beetles, moths, spiders, centipedes, millipedes, termites, mayflies, lice, mites, gnats, bees, wasps, scorpions, cockroaches, grasshoppers and fleas.