AmberAmber, which is fossilized pine tree sap, is like an ancient antique from historical times.
Demand is especially strong for amber with insects captured inside. "Amber is like a time capsule made and placed in the earth by nature herself," said David Federman, author of The Consumer Guide to Colored Gemstones. "It has helped paleontologists reconstruct life on earth in its primal phases. More than 1,000 extinct species of insects have been identified in amber."
The two main sources of amber on the market today are the Baltic states and the Dominican Republic. Amber from the Baltic states is older, and therefore preferred on the market, but amber from the Dominican Republic is more likely to have insect inclusions. Prices of amber can range from $20 to $40,000 or more.
Fortunately for new amber enthusiasts, amber from the Baltic states is more available on the market than in previous years due to the liberalization of the economies of eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The largest mine in the Baltic region is in Russia, west of Kaliningrad.
Baltic amber is found in Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Russia, and occasionally washed up on the shores of the Baltic Sea as far away as Denmark, Norway, and England. Other amber sources include Myanmar (formerly Burma), Lebanon, Sicily, Mexico, Romania, Germany, and Canada.
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