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- Esihistorialliset eläimet historiankirjoissa- Prehistoric Creatures Documented by the Ancient Man
Fossiilikalja vie maan
geologisisten aikajaksojen alta
Helsingin Sanomien Tiedesivu uutisoi "40 miljoonaa" vuotta meripihkafossiileissa säilyneestä leivinhiivasta (3.8.), jonka käymistuotteista on ilmestynyt markkinoille patentoitua fossiiliolutta.
"Meripihkakaljan" tapaus todistaa lopullisesti, että toistuvasti raportoidut löydökset ehjinä säilyneistä biologisista yhdisteistä ja pehmeistä kudoksista fossiileissa ovat tosia, eivät laboratoriokäsittelystä aiheutuneita kontaminaatioita. Ehkä kuuluisin esimerkki alalla on Tyrannosaurus rexin reisiluusta eristetyt läpinäkyvät, taipuisat ja ontot verisuonet. Suonia voi venyttää useita kertoja niin, että ne palautuvat alkuperäiseen kokoonsa ja niistä löytyy punaruskeita verisoluja. T-rexin proteiinien säilyminen on todistettu tuoreimmassa Journal of Proteome Research -tiedelehdessä.
Aiemmin on puhuttu vain bakteeri-itiöiden säilymisestä, mutta nyt on kyse elävästä ja paljon monimutkaisemmasta eukaryootti- eli aitotumaisesta solusta. Perimän DNA-juoste pilkkoutuu lopullisesti 50 000 vuodessa ja jo paljon vähäisemmät mutaatiot estävät hiivakasvuston monistumisen. Kokonaan kertomatta tiedesivuilla jäi, että meripihkakalja saattaa kyseenalaiseksi näiden fossiilien miljoonien vuosien iän. Joltakin on nyt kadonnut suhteellisuuden taju.
Forty Million Years Old Amber Beer?!?
Come'one! Yeast does not, will not and has not been preserved as a living life form such ages. Even in a spore stage. Its max 50,000 years and DNA is all but gone:
Lindahl T (1993). Instability and decay of the primary structure of DNA. Nature 362, 709-715.
AGE OF AMBER
What do we learn from this?
Amber is less than 50,000 years old!
Olen ostanut meripihkainkluusioita ja kiertänyt itsekin Baltian maita niitä
hakiessani, koska siellä sijaitsevat koko maailman parhaat meripihkaesiintymät.
E-Amerikassa pihkan crosslinkkaus ei ole läheskään yhtä tiivis eikä kaikki
tärpätin kaltaiset jämät pois. Meripihkaa louhittiin Baltiasta 1875-1914 noin 10
miljoonaa tonnia. Suurimmat "merestä" troolarein kalastetut palaset ovat
painaneet 200 kiloa (1860-luvulla) ja vastikään 136 kiloa (v. 1988). Vuotuinen
saalis 1860-1890 välillä Itämeren Kuurinhaffin ruoppauskoneilla oli 75 tonnia.
Meripihkan suurta ikää vastaan puhuvat myös ilmakuplat, joista on mitattu jopa
32% happipitoisuus nykyisen 21% sijaan. Tiedämme jurakaudella vallinneen
korkeamman hapen osamäärän, mutta nin pitkässä ajassa osapaineen olisi pitänyt
tasaantua, vaikka puristus sinänsä nostaisikin ilmakuplan ilmanpainetta.
Inkluusioissa siellä tehdään paljon feikkejä ja pitää tietää konstit aidon yksilön erottamiseksi, Tyypillisesti feikeissä on jälkiä kuumentamisesta ja amberin polttamisesta, joskin taitavimmat saavat sen liukenemaan kemikaaleilla ilman korkeaa lämpötilaa. Yhden parhaimmista kappaleista toimitin drosophila-tutkimusryhmään siitä nimenomaisesta syystä, että sen sen banaanikärpänen oli jonkin verran erilaisempi kuin nykyään, mikä vahvisti tietenkin aitouden. Kuuluisin esimerkki aiheessa: Aurinkopaneeliin saatiin idea meripihkaan jäänyttä Dolichpodidae-heimon kärpästä tarkasteltaessa. Kärpäsen silmissä havaittiin yhdensuuntaisia 145 nm korkuisia kohoumia 240 nm päässä toisistaan. Rakenne estää valoa heijastumasta takaisin kärpäsen silmästä ja auttoi näkemään hämärässä. Koska kohoumien väli on valon aallonpituutta pienempi, valo kohtaa sen kuin yhtenäisen kalvon. Tällainen ”efektiivinen” kalvo estää valoa heijastumasta takaisin ja sellaiseen pyritään mm. kameran linssissä päällystämällä se yhtenäisin kalvoin.
L-aminohapot rasemisoituvat peilikuvikseen noin 400-50 000 vuoden puoliintumisnopeudella (25 C), sata kertaa hitaammin nollassa asteessa. Metsään kuolleen eläimen luut, lihakset ja veri muuttuvat vähitellen vedeksi ja hiilidioksidiksi eli häviävät olemattomiin. Vaikka itiöissä olisi aineenvaihduntaa hapettumisen, rasemisaation jne. aiheuttamien vaurioiden korjaamiseksi, niin tähän vaadittava energialähde puuttuisi. Samat tutkimusryhmät (Cano, Bada) ovat herättäneet meripihkafossiileista henkiin tieteelle tuntemattomiakin bakteerilajeja.
Liitukauden (65 Mrv) tuolta puolen on löydetty myös mm. dentiiniä, kollageenia ja osteokalsiinia. Kuitenkin 13 000 vuoden ikäiseksi arvioidusta mammutinluusta kaikki kollageeni on saattanut jo hävitä. Dinoluut eivät monesti ole kokonaan kivettyneet. 80 Mrv takaa kalsiumin ja fosforin suhde saattaa olla aivan samanlainen kuin nykyisissä luissa. Koppakuoriaisen kitiini välkehti 25 Mrv jälkeen kaikissa pääväreissä, mutta varmuuden vuoksi asia sinetöitiin massaspektrometrillä ampumalla. Mitä toistettavuuteen tulee, niin ”muinais-DNA” on huonossa kunnossa. Se esiintyy vain muutaman sadan nukleotidin pätkissä, juosteet ovat ”takussa” ja sen emäkset ovat usein hapettuneita tai kokonaan poissa. Mm. tammen, tulppaanin, magnolian ja sypressin fossiililehdistä on onnistuttu eristämään DNA:ta ja sekvensoimaan niistä biosfäärin yleisintä proteiinia, kloroplastista ja monikopioista rubiscoa. Esimerkiksi entisistä järvenpohjista nostetuissa kivettyneissä magnolianlehdissä saattaa nähdä vihreää väriä, mutta altistus auringonvalolle hävittää häivähdyksen nopeasti.
Having said this: Minä en tiedä Maapallon ikää sen paremmin leivinhiivan ikää. Mutta yhtäkään miljoonaista vuotta Canon alkuperäisnäytteen se ei ole, jos spinnaa eläviä hiivakasvustoja. Tässä viite DNA:n maksimi-iälle: Lindahl T (1993). Instability and decay of the primary structure of DNA. Nature 362, 709-715.
Sana sähkö tulee meripihkasta, sillä muinaisteknologiassa fossiilipihkalla synnytettiin staattista sähköä. (Kreikan termi elektron ja elektra.) Meripihka on 20-100 miljoonaa vuotta sitten kasvaneiden havupuiden kivettynyttä pihkaa, joka on kerrostunut meren pohjaan. Sieltä sitä huuhtoutuu myrskyjen jälkeen rannoille. Euroopassa meripihkalla viitataan usein Itämeren ja Pohjanmeren rantojen meripihkaan. Kivikaudelta saakka meripihkaa on saatu erityisen runsaasti nykyisten Liettuan ja Kaliningradin alueen rannoilta. Sitä käytettiin mm. korujen raaka-aineena. Suomessa raakameripihkaa on löydetty pieneltä alalta pellolta Inkoosta, lisäksi on muutamia hajalöytöjä Paraisilta ja Nauvosta. Mahdollisesti jäät ovat kuljettaneet sitä jostain eteläisemmältä Itämereltä. Suomesta meripihkaa on löydetty myös kivikautisilta asuinpaikoilta, kuten esimerkiksi Yli-Iin Kierikistä. Meripihkaa kutsutaan myös nimellä kivikauden kulta. Kreikkalaiset ja roomalaiset hankkivat arvostamansa meripihkan vaihtamalla sitä metalleihin ja pronssiesineisiin. Meripihka oli tärkeä vaihdon väline tuohon aikaan. Useiden kielten sähköä tarkoittava sana tulee kreikan kielen meripihkaa merkitsevästä sanasta elektron, sillä meripihka sähköistyy helposti hangattaessa. Joissakin Keski-Euroopan maissa on tapana ostaa lapsille hampaiden puhkeamisen aikaan meripihkahelmet. Meripihka vähentää vanhan tarun mukaan hampaiden puhkeamisen kipuja. Dominikaanisen tasavallan meripihka on erityisen kuuluisa 15-45 miljoonaa vuotta vanhoista hyönteissulkeumista. Dominikaanisen tasavallan meripihka on peräisin Hymanaea protera -puulajin pihkasta. Vuonna 2007 Harvardin yliopiston tutkija Ramírez Santiagon tutkijaryhmä löysi Dominikaanisen tasavallan vesiltä meripihkaa, jossa oli jäänteitä 15-20 miljoonan vuoden takaisesta orkideasta. Löytö antoi tutkijoille uuden käsitteen orkidean historiasta. Meripihka voi vaihdella väriltään valkoisesta mustaan. Yleisimmät värit ovat keltaisen eri sävyt, ruskea, punainen ja vihreä. Dominikaanisesta tasavallasta ja Baltiasta tunnetaan myös harvinaista sinistä meripihkaa. Meripihka liukenee kloroformiin, alkoholiin ja eetteriin ja se kelluu suolavedessä.
Meripihkakauppa kukoisti pronssikaudella laajalla alueella Euroopassa.
Meripihkaa saatiin Länsi-Tanskasta ja Itämeren rannoilta Koillis-Puolan ja
Lounais-Liettuan rannikolta Kaliningradin tienoilta. Sitten sitä kuljetettiin
etelään meripihkateitä pitkin. Ennen vuotta 2500 eaa. meripihka levisi
Skandinaviaan, mutta alkoi vuoden 2000 eaa. jälkeen levitä kaupan mukana
etelään. Noin 1600-1200 eaa. Mykeneen vietiin meripihkaa ja sieltä saatiin
pronssiesineitä. Vuonna 2500 eaa. meripihka oli levinnyt Tanskaan, Ruotsiin ja
Norjaan. 1900 eaa. Puolaan, Saksaan, Belgiaan, Hollantiin, Koillis-Ranskaan,
Tšekkiin, Slovakiaan. Noin 1300 eaa. Englantiin, Keski- ja pohjoiseen
Etelä-Ranskaan, Sveitsiin, Itävaltaan, Unkariin, Pohjois-Kroatiaan, Sloveniaan,
Pohjois-Romaniaan, Valko-Venäjälle, Ukrainaan, Venäjälle.
AMBER - GOLD OF THE NORTH
The fossile resine has fascinated people since ancient times and gave name to the most important link between Northern and Southern Central Europe, the Amber Road. This ancient trade route connects countries and nations between the Baltic and the Mediterrenean Sea. Our aim is to revive these relations.
Amber is fossil tree resin, which is appreciated for its color and beauty. Good quality amber is used for the manufacture of ornamental objects and jewelry. Although not mineralized, it is often classified as a gemstone. A common misconception is that amber is made of tree sap; it is not. Sap is the fluid that circulates through a plant's vascular system, while resin is the semi-solid amorphous organic substance secreted in pockets and canals through epithelial cells of the plant. Because it used to be soft and sticky tree resin, amber can sometimes contain insects and even small vertebrates. Semi-fossilized resin or sub-fossil amber is known as copal. 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. A lot 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", even though it is in fact true amber.
Origin of the term
Wood resin, the ancient source of amberThe English word amber stems from the old Arabic word anbargris or ambergris and refers to an oily, perfumed substance secreted by the sperm whale. 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 was coined in 1891 by the Irish physicist George Stoney, using the Greek word for amber (and which was then translated as electrum) because of its electrostatic properties and whilst analyzing elementary charge for the first time. The ending -on, common for all subatomic particles, was used in analogy to the word ion.
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.
A mosquito and a fly in this Baltic amber necklace are between 40 and 60 million years old
Chemistry 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 should be distinguished from copal. Molecular polymerisation caused by pressure and heat transforms the resin first into copal and then over time through the evaporation of turpenes it is transformed into amber.
Baltic amber is distinguished from the various other ambers from around the world, by the presence within it of succinic acid, hence Baltic amber is otherwise known as succinite.
Amber in geology
The oldest amber originates from the Upper Carboniferous period approximately 345 million years ago. The oldest known amber containing insects comes from the Lower Cretaceous, approximately 146 million years ago.
Commercially most important are the deposits of Baltic and Dominican amber.
A bee and a leaf inside amberBaltic 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.
Dominican amber is considered retinite, since it has no succinic acid. There are three main sites in the Dominican Republic: La Cordillera Septentrional, in the north, Bayaguana and Sabana, in the east. In the northern area, the amber-bearing unit is formed of clastic rocks, sandstone accumulated in a deltaic or even deep-water environment. The oldest, and hardest of this amber comes from the mountain region north of Santiago area, from the mines at La Cumbre, La Toca, Palo Quemado, La Bucara, and Los Cacaos mining sites in the Cordillera Septentrional not far from Santiago. Amber in these mountains is tightly embedded in a lignite layer of sandstone.
There is also amber in the south-eastern Bayaguana/Sabana area. It is softer, sometimes brittle and suffers oxidation after being taken from the mines, therefore less expensive. There is also copal found with only an age of 15-17 million years. In the eastern area, the amber is found in a sediment formation of organic-rich laminated sand, sandy clay, intercalated lignite as well as some solated beds of gravel and calcarenite.
Both Baltic and Dominican amber are rich sources of fossils and give much information about life in the ancient forests. 
Amber from the Middle Cretaceous is known from Ellsworth County, Kansas. This approximately 100 million year old amber has inclusions of bacteria and amoebae. They are morphologically very close to Leptothrix, and the modern genera Pontigulasia and Nebela. Morphological stasis is considered to be confirmed.
A spider trapped in amber
Ant trapped in amber.
The resin contains, in addition to the beautifully preserved
plant-structures, remains of insects, spiders, annelids, frogs, crustaceans,
marine microfossils and other small organisms which were trapped by the
sticky surface and became enveloped while the exudation was fluid. In most cases
the organic structure has disappeared, leaving only a cavity, with perhaps a
trace of chitin. Even hair and feathers have occasionally been represented among
the enclosures. Fragments of wood frequently occur, with the tissues
well-preserved by impregnation with the resin; while leaves, flowers and fruits
are occasionally found in marvelous perfection. Sometimes the 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.
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.
Not all amber is translucent, becoming transparent when the surfaces are polished, thus revealing inclusions. The technique of inspecting darkly clouded and even opaque amber for inclusions, through bombarding it with high-energy, high-contrast, high-resolution x-rays, is being developed at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. Nearly 360 fossil invertebrates have been discovered from opaque amber found at Charentes, France: primitive wasps, flies, ants and spiders, particularly those measuring just a few millimeters. Three-dimensional images of the trapped organisms are built up through microtomography, showing detail on the scales of micrometres. An enlarged plastic three-dimensional model can be obtained of an organism that has remained embedded in the amber, suggesting alternative means of cataloguing new species trapped in amber.
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 proposed by Professor James Dwight Dana, and now commonly used in scientific writings as a specific term for the 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 1.05 to 1.10. An effective tool for Baltic amber analysis is IR spectroscopy. It enables the distinction between Baltic and non-Baltic amber varieties because of a specific carbonyl absorption and it can also detect the relative age of an amber sample. On the other hand, it has been suggested by scientists that succinic acid is no original component of amber, but a degradation product of abietic acid. (Rottlaender, 1970)
Although amber is found along the shores of a large part of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, the great amber-producing area for many centuries was the promontory of Sambia or Samland, the coast around Königsberg in Prussia, since 1945 part of Russia. 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 at ebb-tide. Sometimes the searchers wade into the sea, furnished with nets at the end of long poles, which they drag in the seaweed 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 Curonian Lagoon by Messrs Stantien and Becker, the great amber merchants of Königsberg. 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.
Since the establishment of the Amber Road, amber known as "Prussian gold" (which is now also referred to as "Lithuanian gold") has substantially contributed economically and culturally. Amber jewellery and amberware is offered to foreign tourists in most souvenir shops as distinctive to Lithuania and its cultural heritage. The seaside town of Palanga has the Palanga Amber Museum dedicated to amber. Amber can also be found in Latvia as well as Denmark, northern Germany, Poland, and, since the takeover of Prussia in 1945, also in Russia.
A rare set of Arab worry beads (masbaha) made of Dominican blue amber.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".  In contrast to much Baltic amber, Dominican amber found on the world market is natural amber the way it comes from the mines, and has not been enhanced or received any chemical or physical change. The age of Dominican amber is up to 40 million years. 
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 kilos of this fossilized tree is found per year, which makes it valuable and expensive.
Dragon carved from Dominican blue amberDominican amber, and especially Dominican blue amber, is mined through bell pitting, which is highly dangerous for workers due to the risk of the excavation walls collapsing on them.  Bell pitting is basically a foxhole dug with whatever tools are available. Machetes do the start, some shovels, picks and hammers may participate eventually. The pit itself goes as deep as possible or safe, sometimes vertical, sometimes horizontal, but never level. It snakes into hill sides, drops away, joins up with others, goes straight up and pops out elsewhere. Rarely are the pits large enough to stand in, and then only at the entrance. Miners crawl around on their knees using short-handled picks, shovels and machetes. The amber that is found is either directly sold as rough or raw pieces or cut and polished without any additional treatments or enhancements.
The most common use for Dominican amber is as ornaments and jewellery, while the more valuable enclosures and colorations become priced exhibition pieces both in private and public collections.  In the Far East, the rare blue Amber has been masterfully worked into artistic carvings. Others have used blue amber to make jewellery that can be especially attractive for its natural fluorescence under UV lights. In the Muslim world, Dominican amber and particularly blue amber beads have found their way into another use as Prayer beads and worry beads, since Dominican amber can very easily be worked.
Amber deposits are found around the world. Some are much older than the well known amber deposits in the Baltic countries and the Dominican Republic, others are much younger. Some amber is considered to be up to 345 million years old (Northumberland USA).
A lesser known source of amber is in the Ukraine, within a marshy forested area on the Volyhn-Polesie border. Due to the shallow depth at which this amber is found it can be extracted with the simplest of tools, and this has led to an economy of amber poaching under cover of the forest. This Ukrainian amber has a wide range of colors, and was used in the restoration of Amber Room in the Empress Catherine's palace in Saint Petersburg (see below).
Sailboat made entirely from amber in a gift shopRolled 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, such as Great Yarmouth, as well as 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 the Netherlands and Denmark. On the shores of the Baltic it occurs not only on the German and Polish coast but in the south of Sweden, in Bornholm and other islands, and in southern Finland. 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 through the Amber Road. Amber was carried to Olbia on the Black Sea, Massilia (today Marseille) on the Mediterranean, and Adria at the head of the Adriatic; and from these centres it was distributed over the Ancient Greek world.
Amber is found in Switzerland, Austria and France. Amber from the Swiss Alps is about 55 - 200 million years old, amber from Golling about 225 - 231 million years. The well-known Sicilian Amber (Simetit - copal) is just 10 - 20 million years old.
In Africa, copal is found in the coastal countries of East and West Africa, but especially on Madagascar. This so-called Madagascar Amber is only 1,000 - 10,000 years old and consists of the solidified resin of the amber pine. Nigeria also has amber, which is about 60 million years old.
In Asia amber can be found especially in Burma (former Burma / Myanmar) as Burmit. It is about 50 million years and the Lebanon amber 130 - 135 million years old. Amber of the Australian-oceanic area can be found in New Zealand and Borneo (Sarawak amber). They are about 20 - 60, part 70 - 100 million years old.
Rare polished transparent Borneo amber from Sabah, MalaysiaAmber is also found to a limited extent in the United States, as in the green-sand of New Jersey, but it has little economic value. Middle Cretaceous amber has also been found in Ellsworth County, Kansas. It has little value for jewelry makers, but is very valuable to biologists. The source of this amber is under a man-made lake.
A fluorescent amber occurs also in the southern state of Chiapas in Mexico, and is used for eye-catching jewellery. In Central America, the Olmec civilization was mining amber around 3000 B.C. There are legends in Mexico that mention the use of amber in adorning, consuming and using it for stress reduction as a natural remedy.
Indonesia is also a rich source of amber with large fragments being unearthed in both Java and Bali.
Amber, 12 cm diameterThe 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 jewellery 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.
Amber art and ornament
Unpolished amber stonesAmber 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.
The so-called Hove amber cup, a cup turned in amber from a bronze-age barrow at Hove is now in the Brighton Museum.
Beads of amber are found with Anglo-Saxon relics in the south of England. Amber was valued as an amulet and it is still believed to possess medicinal properties.
Amber is used for beads and 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-colored, slightly cloudy amber. Some of the best qualities are sent to Vienna for the manufacture of smoking appliances.
The Amber Room was reconstructed from the Kaliningrad amber.The Amber Room was a collection of chamber wall panels commissioned in 1701 for the king of Prussia, then given to Tsar Peter the Great. The room was hidden in place from invading Nazi forces in 1941, who upon finding it in the Catherine Palace, disassembled it and moved it to Königsberg. What happened to the room beyond this point is unclear, but it may have been destroyed when the Russians burned the German fortification where it was stored. It is presumed lost. It was re-created in 2003.
Amber Frog Violin Bow
The Amber Frog bow by Keith Peck made in 1996/97 commissioned by Gennady Filimonov.Baltic amber has been used to create the "frog" part of a violin bow. It was commissioned by Gennady Filimonov and made by the late American Master Bowmaker Keith Peck 
The Amber Frog / Picture bow (copy of F.N. Voirin), is the first documented amber frog bow (made in 1996-97) that was (and is) a complete success. It is still being played by Gennady Filimonov.
Finnish History, Culture and Nature
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