6 Biggest Amber Stones

There’s gold in them thar trees! Such is what the ancient Baltic civilizations, which resided along the coasts of Russia, Lithuania, and Poland, would discover about a fossilized mineral known as amber, a mineral dating back 95 million years to prehistoric days! All amber mined today, around the globe, is thirty to ninety-five million years old! Any amber found younger than that is of a softer consistency and called copal.

The Baltic region was and continues to be the source for this yellow-orange ‘sticky’ treasure that oozed from the trees and brought about the studying of the leaves, seeds, feathers, and insects that became ensnared and fossilized within, which ascertained prehistoric mankind was the first to experience this phenomenal ‘gold’
sap-like substance. The trees from which it flowed were of an Evergreen variety, called coniferous, meaning trees that produced [pine] cones. This yellow-orange amber substance meant for the tree to heal itself from the cracks and breaks nature brought to the tree. The small objects caught in the amber’s slow-moving path only one of many mysteries that intrigued the scientific community with regards this substance that would eventually be classified as a resin mineral.

This sap-like amber, a mystery to those Paleolithic cave dwellers, became the source of health, wealth and legendary stories of the ancient civilizations residing along the Baltic shoreline. Scientists came to confirm the legendary folklore of amber’s medicinal qualities, recognizing the mineral’s ability to heal inflammation in the body. The ancient civilizations learned they could polish, shape, and mold this amber for ornamental decoration, usually in the shape of a teardrop. Besides amber jewelry, this resin mineral that flowed from pines became source for creating perfumes, incense, varnishes, and lacquers and carried much weight around the globe and why there came the active search for this substance known as amber that lay buried deep beneath sand and clay in the sea where the coniferous trees had fallen, brought back to the shore only by any large storms. The global searching has revealed raw amber stones almost as large as the legendary Greek, Russian, and Lithuanian folklore repeated through the centuries to explain this ‘magical mineral mystery.’

On June 15, 2015, The House of Amber and Copenhagen Amber Museum claimed ownership of an amber stone
discovered in the Darmasraya region in West Sumatra by miners and is estimated to be 15-25 million years old weighing 47.5 kilograms, approximately 105 pounds, and setting them for inclusion in the Guinness Book of World Records.

In February 2017, the International Amber Association of Poland, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, reported that Joseph Fam of Singapore owns an amber stone that weighs in at 50.4 kilograms or
about 111.11 pounds.


Found on January 4, 2007, in a mining accident in Indonesia and now on display at the Palanga museum in
Lithuania is an amber stone weighing 4 kilograms, which is near to 8 pounds and Europe’s third-largest amber stone, called the Sun Stone.

In March of 2017, in the region of Kaliningrad, Russia, a large amber nugget weighing 3.2 kilograms, about 7 pounds, was unearthed from a quarry, the largest in thirty years! Russian mining efforts for amber in the region of Kaliningrad mines700 tons of amber every year and is ‘the new gold!’

The Ukraine region recorded the measure of a raw amber stone at 2562 grams, which equates to 5.5 pounds.

There is also the story, reported by CNN, December 2016 of the ‘big find’ in a smallamber ‘package’ weighing 6.5 grams (one-quarter ounce) where the tail of a dinosaur was found encased in yellow-orange amber by paleontologist Xing Lida, in Myanmar, near to the Chinese border.


How to Choose Genuine Baltic Amber?

When purchasing amber, it is important to know whether you’re receiving genuine Baltic amber—or a cheap imitation. With scientific advances in creating gemstones and other materials dating back to the 18th century, the Baltic amber jewelry market has been flooded with copies of inferior quality that are seeking to fool the average consumer. Therefore, knowing if you’re paying for the genuine natural Baltic amber jewelry ensures not only that you’re getting value, but also ensuring that the natural healing power of ambers is intact. In this article, we’ll take a look at the most common forms fake amber types and methods on how to determine the authenticity of genuine amber.
The Types of Fake Amber

There is a common misunderstanding among novice jewelry buyers to assume that amber is an actual gemstone. While it is typically classified as healing crystals and gemstones, it is actually a fossilized resin. And therein lies how counterfeiters take advantage of consumers.
The following materials are commonly used in the production of fake Baltic amber:
Modern plastics
Phenolic resins

Casein is a plastic material that’s made from mammalian milk (i.e goats, cows ). Commonly shaped as beads, they have a murky, opaque yellow color that is slightly heavier than Baltic amber. Once heated, it diffuses the smell of burnt plastic, which is a telltale sign of counterfeit amber.

Composed of cellulose nitrate and camphor, celluloid is a trademarked thermoplastic which is often yellow and cloudy. One option to know if Baltic amber is genuine and not celluloid is to rub it.If rubbed the celluloid imitation does not become as electrostatically charged. Additionally, when heated, celluloid amber gives off the unmistakable odor of camphor or burnt plastic.

Copal is a form of amber that is close to genuine Baltic amber. However, copal comes from tree resins that can be anywhere 1000 – 1 million years old—genuine amber is actually 30 – 90 million years old. While natural inclusions (plant or animal material) are possible in copal, they are more often than not falsified. One way to determine if it is copal is whether the insects contained in the “amber” are in better too good of a condition. Another way to determine if your Baltic amber is actually copal is whether it melts at a low temperature (lower than 150 Celsius/302 Fahrenheit ); genuine amber tends to burn rather than melt. When heated it diffuses the sweet smell of burning resins.

A glass is a versatile material, but it is relatively easy to distinguish glass from genuine Baltic amber. Glass is more solid, more resistant to extreme temperatures, and cannot be scratched easily by metal.
Modern plastics
Including polystyrene and polyester, there are a number of modern plastics that are being developed to aid amber counterfeiters, especially for creating amber jewelry with inclusions. Optically, modern plastic “amber” is difficult to distinguish from real Baltic amber because with their matched amber colors and limpidity (translucence). As with copal, inclusions are often too big and are too clearly seen. Once heated, plastics typically diffuse the smell of burnt plastic, not Baltic amber’s pine smell.

Phenolic Resin 
Phenolic resin is a versatile substance used for a number of industrial and commercial purposes, due to its inherent properties of strength and flexibility. This is why this material is commonly found in artificial Baltic amber beads, especially since the color is remarkably similar to real amber (limpid, murky yellow, and deep red). Amber beads made from the phenolic resin can be distinguished by a “too exact” exact shape (oval, faceted) and a smell that doesn’t diffuse the characteristic pine smell of genuine Baltic amber.

Tests to Determine Genuine Baltic Amber

There are a number of tests to determine fake from natural Baltic amber:
Buoyancy Test
When dropped into seawater, Baltic amber will float or be buoyant. This is the reason why it washes up on the beaches of the Baltic Sea after a turbulent storm. By using salt-saturated water similar to seawater (~2.5 tablespoons of salt per 1 cup of water), amber imitations of amber will sink in salt water.
Solvent test
Baltic amber is resistant to solvents, which means that it won’t feel sticky or dissolve under. However, copal and plastic amber will deteriorate when in contact with a solvent, like an ethyl alcohol, acetone, or ether. Using a few drops of acetone (otherwise known as nail polish remover) over the surface of the piece reveals whether the amber holds up to the solvent. If the surface becomes tacky, then you can rest assured that it's not genuine Baltic amber.
Heat test
When Baltic amber is heated, it produces a whitish smoke and gives off a smell like burning pine wood, which is sweet and pleasant. One heat test is to use a heated needle in an unobtrusive place on the amber. If the smell is plastic, it gives off a smell of camphor (celluloid), carbolic acid, or any other “plastic” smell. Additionally, the hot point will make the plastic sticky and malleable, while also leaving a black mark. If amber is genuine, this test will make the amber brittle and it also can chip off. Therefore, it’s more often is a good choice to leave this to a trained professional that won’t mar precious jewelry.

Static test
Of all of the tests, the static test is the simplest and safest test to perform on your amber. Baltic amber is warm to the touch and when rubbed, it will become electrostatically charged and attract small particles, like dust or paper.


The multi-century journey of Baltic Amber from Sea to wear

The holy grail of Amber, the Amber Room of 1716 held over 6 tons of Amber. The collection gifted to Peter the Great of Russia has become a mystery.

The history of the Amber Room spans three centuries. Let’s explore its history and some of the theories of its status today.

The original room began creation in 1701 at the hand of a German designer for the King of Prussia. Given as a gift in 1716 to Peter the Great, the contents of the room were sent to the Russian to symbolize the alliance of the Prussian and Russian governments.

Later in the century, the room was moved to a larger space and redesigned by an Italian designer. Other semi-precious gemstones adorned the room, yet the attraction was Amber. For the following two centuries, the room received praise for its significance and the contributions of many cultures to its beauty. Peace was the feeling among the rooms observers until the second World War changed its history forever.Sterling Silver and Baltic Amber Pendant "Rose"

During WWII, the Nazis stole a significant amount of Amber between 1941 and 1945. The loot was kept as décor and hidden for the enjoyment of only German officers and officials. Even after the war, the Amber was hidden from authorities and coveted by Nazi sympathizers. The Amber was seen as something that was won in the war and now belonged to those Germans who had it in possession.

In Saint Petersburg, Russia, there was a reconstructed Amber Room made as a replica of the original room with donations from Germany. When the Russian government decided to recreate the mythical room, the German officials were only so happy to donate approximately $250M worth of the recovered Amber. The newly created Amber Room was finished in 2003 which helped to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Many of the pieces added to the new room were recreations to replicate historic photos of the original room. Although the old room resembles the new, it can never be exactly recreated.

Many believe that the entire Amber Room was pillaged by the Nazi’s and the majority of the treasure remains in underground bunkers hidden in Germany. Others believe that the Nazi’s only were able to abscond with the lighter items and left the most valuable and fragile pieces in the room for Russians to eventually hide.

To this day, the mystery of the original Amber Room remains. Historians agree that the actual Amber room was disassembled by the Nazi’s and that the remaining pieces are spread throughout the world in private collections and others have been destroyed.

Perhaps the gap of knowledge helps to feed the curiosity that still holds the passions of historians. Like your first love, knowing that it existed somewhere in time is all the belief that you need to know that it was real.


The multi-century journey of Baltic Amber from Sea to wear

Amber is worn as the perfect addition to your outfit by day and rubbed on joints to relieve the pain of arthritis by night. The uses of Amber trace back centuries and lead to a Sci-Fi future.

The rich history of Amber follows a path that helped build roads and filled the homes of people along with way with it’s multi-uses. Baltic Amber contains an acid called succinic that is a natural analgesic and is the reason for the temporary relief it offers small aches and pains on the outer body.

Amber was originally named “elektron” in Greek for its ability to conduct static electricity. With major supplies of Amber remaining within the area where the stone was found, many “Amber Roads” were established for those seeking to barter for the resin gemstone.

The uses of Amber spread throughout Eastern Europe and the many small villages established along the Amber Roads. The trade of Amber cultivated cultural development throughout the European continent. Amber also became a symbol of Christianity with its use being heavily favored among the artisans of rosary necklaces.
Cultures would claim their own versions of the origin of Amber and sometimes use the stone during rituals. From initial thoughts that Amber was useless to people being beheaded for collecting the valuable stone, the conceptions of Amber have been diverse. Ancient tombs still being unearthed today are found filled with Amber that was laid to rest with the wealthy residents of the tombs.
Yellow, green, red, and blue colors were found on the shores of the Baltic Sea after storms. An Amber is very lightweight, so it was easily moved by the stirring waters of the sea. Those in the area who sought out Amber became wise to the stones migration and began to cast nets into nearby waters and fish for Amber. This allowed local tradesmen to support a steady supply of the stone for trade with travelers passing through the area.


In the late 1800’s the first serious miners of Amber began to mine the stone after securing a contract with the Prussian government. This mining produced the discovery of many types of Amber and allowed for the modern study of the stone.

Modern scientists became enticed by Amber as a way of preserving history, such as a plant or an insect’s DNA within its resin infrastructure. Many extinct species were discovered and studied thanks to the encompassing nature of Amber.

The Conifer tree produced the unique sap that formed Amber is now extinct and Amber look-alikes are everywhere. Only the original stone has the healing powers and rich history that made the film Jurassic Park possible. After winning its third academy award, it’s safe to say that the film revealed Amber to everyone who didn’t know of its existence before 1994.

So, the amber jewelry that you see is only a preview of the uses of Amber. From development of a continent to the relief of aches and pains, the uses of Amber have yet to reach their end. When you are wearing a piece of Baltic Amber, you are wearing centuries of living history.

Cleaning Tarnished Sterling Silver Jewelry
Today we start a series of articles where we will be exploring and testing different products for jewelry and storing the jewelry. We want to share with you some simple methods which can help remove tarnish and make your jewelry look beautiful for years to come with proper care. In this article, we will be sharing a simple method for removing tarnish from sterling silver using baking soda and aluminum foil. This method is very simple and you will be impressed with the results.
Surprising Health Benefits of Wearing Amber
People have valued amber for its healing properties for thousands of years, using this fossilized natural resin to treat various medical conditions. The most popular way to harness the healing power of Baltic amber is to wear it as jewelry. It’s fashionable and surprisingly good for the entire body. Below are some interesting benefits of wearing amber.
How to Spot Fake Amber Jewelry
Unfortunately, there are some stones being marketed as amber that is anything but the gem. Here are some ways to test and verify that your amber, is actually genuine.
What’s Special About Baltic Amber and Why You Should Wear It
Amber is a fossilized resin of ancient pine trees cherished as if it were a gemstone through centuries and used both as jewelry and a natural remedy to soothe pain. The substance that gives it healing powers is the Succinic Acid and the largest quantities of it are found in Baltic amber.