Welcome to the World of Amber

by Susie Ward Aber, Emporia State University, Kansas, USA

Introduction

Million years ago large stands of forests in some parts of the world began to seep globs of sticky resin! This aromatic resin oozed down the sides of trees, as well as filling internal fissures, trapping debris, such as seeds, leaves, feathers and insects. As geologic time progressed the forests were buried and the resin hardened into a soft, warm, golden gem, known as amber. Amber is the fossilized resin of ancient trees which forms through a natural polymerization of the original organic compounds. Most of the world's amber is in the range of 30-90 million years old.

Amber studies are truly interdisciplinary. Geologists and paleontologists are interested in amber because it is a fossil, evidence of prehistoric life. Archeologists 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. Curators and conservationists preserve and archive amber. Poets, writers, and artists look to amber for sunny inspirations. Gemologists and jewelers desire amber for its beauty and rarity.

Complete information @ World of Amber

© Notice: The World of Amber is offered by the Earth Science department for the use and benefit of students enrolled at Emporia State University, Kansas, USA. All are welcome to view these webpages. Any other use or repackaging of these materials is prohibited without permission from the author.