Amber is fossilized resin. This is a mineral of organic origin, consisting of stagnant resin of coniferous plants.
It is composed of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Usually it has 79% C, 10.5% O and 10.5% H. According to O. Helm, amber comprises 3% to 8% of amber acid.
Its hardness according to Moss scales - 2 to 2.5, and occasionally rises to 3.
Resinous pines grew in the forests. After thawing in the climate, their resin began to flow onto the ground, mingled with it and hardened. The accumulated resin from the forest soil was washed out by the rivers and transported to the sea. Eventually, due to oxidation and polymerization processes, resin became current amber.
Amber is of very different age, which was formed in the following periods:
- Carboniferous period (360-285 million years ago). It is found in the USA,
- Permian period (285-245 million years ago). It is found in Russia,
- Triassic period (245-215 million years ago). It is found in Austria,
- Cretaceous period (145-65 million years ago). It is found in the USA, Canada, Russia, Siberia, Brazil, Mexico,
- Neo gene period. This is the youngest one - the Baltic amber.
Amber size differs from 1-2 mm to 1 m long blocks, each weighing 10 kg.
Amber can be of different forms: drop-shaped or icicle shaped amber occurred after the resin’s spill on the surface. A lot of resin crept along a tree trunk on the ground, hardened and became lumps or accumulated under the bark or just on the trunk of the tree.
While the resin was creeping, the multi-color flow mixed up, intertwined, and, therefore, amber gained a very colourful colour texture. Amber colour varies from white to dark brown, red, dark red, from pale yellow, yellowish tint to glow yellow and orange. Due to impurities, which occurred on the resin, it dyed blue, green, black and brown. Amber can be transparent or matted, impenetrable.
While the resin was flowing through the trunk, remains of plants, insects and other animals stuck to them and, in this respect, inclusions were formed.