Amber and natural beads


Amber and natural beads

Amber is fossilized pine resin from the temperate and subtropical forest regions of the Old - Tertiary, as geological around 60 to 40 million years old. It feels light and warm and usually comes in transparent light to golden yellow honey color before , rare in a series of opaque or semi-transparent tones of ruby red to iridescent green and blue shades .

The most important amber deposits are found in the Baltic region - in or off the coast of Sweden, Denmark , Germany, Poland and Russia , buried under 30 to 40 m high sand and marl layers in a clay deposit that you " blue earth " is called . Today, the most amber is mined in the former East Prussian Sambia Peninsula, but only 15 percent of the material collected there have a quality that is good for jewelry processing . More rich amber deposits extend beneath the Baltic seabed up to 75 kilometers from the coast. Violent storms carrying not uncommon on the beaches or in shallow waters of the Baltic countries to light amber , also on the coasts of England and France are already isolated amber finds have been made . Bernstein was probably the first gem -like material from which man crafted jewelry. An Upper Palaeolithic sites of the Magdalenian culture in France and Spain beads and pendants were found in amber , the remote from the time of archaeologists discovered amber deposits 150 km , probably BC came to 13 000 on the trade routes there.

The golden color and the smooth surface of Baltic amber left him no later become a sought after commodity at the beginning of the Neolithic . The peoples of the Baltic region, Central Russia , in western Norway and Finland already negotiated 3000 BC with Bernstein , both as raw material and in the form of finished beads. In almost all parts of Europe Bernstein occurs Neolithic and Bronze Age tombs of the second millennium BC .

In the Bronze Age amber was on the north-south routes that followed the major European rivers , transported . One of the most important trade routes began in Jutland (Denmark) , crossed along the Weser and Elbe Germany , then followed the Vltava through Moravia and Austria , the Alps via the Brenner overcame , reached through the Po Valley , the Adriatic to the other side to the Peloponnese and from there by ship to go to Crete. A second land route followed the Danube in the Balkans, while a third of central Germany west led by Britain and the English kingdom of Wessex . Around 600 BC was a different route from the Dutch coast, the Rhine Valley and up through the Rhone Valley to the Mediterranean port of Marseille . Along all those routes large amounts of amber beads were found during excavations . In general, transported Bernstein as a raw material , which was then processed by the recipients to pendants and beads.

Simultaneously with the transcontinental amber trade of the Baltic tin and Kupfelhandel developed in the Bronze Age ; these two materials were needed to produce bronze alloys . Since about 1600 BC they exchanged amber and tin Baltic against finished bronze weapons and other tools of the highly developed cultures of the Mediterranean .

From the middle to the end of the 2nd Millennium BC held the Mycenaeans - its successor later Phoenicians and Etruscans - the threads of a far-reaching amber trade firmly in hand . It is not surprising that there are striking similarities between amber necklaces, which were found in Jutland, Wessex , Mycenae , or on the Rhine. At the same time came Baltic amber from the Aegean Sea to the eastern Mediterranean countries: A contained in Ras Shamra excavated in Syria Mycenaean pot amber beads from the Baltikum.Die earliest written evidence of amber can be found in Homer's Odyssey , which are granted only in the 8th Jahrhundet was written BC, but older oral tradition follows. Temporal clue is the fall of Troy ( 1300 BC) , the location of the action in the Greek island of Ithaca 's west coast. Odysseus wife Penelope receives from her suitor Eurymachus " a collar of gold , richly ornamented, by lined with amber, as beautiful as dei sun."

The word electricity is derived from electron, the Greek word for amber. When looking at Amber rubs , it is electrically charged so that small pieces of paper or filaments stuck to it. This phenomenon, which Plato and Aristotle in the 4th Watch century BC, may explain why Amber was in ancient times surrounded by an aura of mystery and magic . Certainly these electrical properties and golden color have helped that the material was said to have healing powers for thousands of years .


The Greek myth has an elegiac interpretation of Bernstein: As the Heliopolites sisters wept for her dead brother Phaeton , whose chariot was overthrown from heaven , her tears dripping into the river and solidified into amber . The Greek statesman Nicias (late 5th century BC) was a golden amber as " congealed in the sea solar beams which are washed up on the coasts ." According to another source Bernstein is the solidified urine of the lynx , and he is therefore sometimes also called lyncurius . It is further believed that he made ​​of petrified seeds of dolphins or seals bestehe.Trotz all these legends the Greeks and Romans knew very well about the true nature of amber , the Roman historian Pliny described its origin with remarkable knowledge .

Be it because of ignorance , or because they wanted to keep as shrewd merchants their knowledge to themselves was , kept the Phoenicians , the references of amber secret. The Etruscan sailors but discovered the Baltic sources and switched in turn into the amber trade. Their successors , the Romans , sent in the 2nd Century AD expeditions in the Baltic Sea region. to import Bernstein .

After the collapse of the Roman Empire the amber trade declined in the turmoil of the migration period . It was only in the later Middle Ages saw the interest in Bernstein and consequently the new commercial momentum, though now German merchants processing and distribution controlled - a monopoly that they were able to maintain for centuries. Between 1300 and 1800 a strict guild regulations amber beads especially for Christian , Buddhist or Muslim prayer beads were made in the central European craft under supervision. Journeymen who wanted to join the guild , had to "prove their aptitude by they made a quarter pound of perfectly rounded and geichmäßig pierced beads, namely free by eye , without the aid of a compass ."

Also in Asia Bernstein was estimated , especially Persians , Turks, Arabs and Chinese. The Englishman Thomas Kinton arose in the 20th Century a Chinese amber necklace from the 18th Century , the beads were carved in the shape of Mandarin minds , " each face with a different expression , some lächesten , others made ​​faces , and others showed a serious facial expression .

In addition to the Baltic deposits possessed Sicily , Romania and Burma over amber deposits , the returns were , however, relatively small quantitatively. The color scale of Baltic amber ranges from pale yellow white to reddish brown, almost black , with yellow tones dominate . Sicilian amber is also yellow, but is also present in a rare ruby red as well as green , brown, blue and purple tones. Another peculiarity is that it luminesces frequently, which may be related to the volcanic nature of the Etna zone. Dunks colors are typical for Romanian Bernstein: Rose-red , smoke gray , dark garnet red , brownish red, and a color scale of greenish shades of blue , green and brownish- green variants with agate -like patterns , " Piatra - amber " called . The dark red , strongly iridescent amber from Burma is one of the most precious and most beautiful types of amber in the world.

The Farbvarationen amber caused by the action of various elements in Versteinerungsprozeß . Dark amber may come with wood ash or iron pyrite in conjunction . Blue amber contains calcium carbonate, which are executed during some other colors by sulfuric acid as a result of putrefaction . Amber gets darker with age. The color may change within 100 years from yellow to a reddish brown. Nevertheless, it is assumed that the isolated emerging in Greek graves dark red amber Sicilian origin, especially in ancient amber often processed to originate from Sicily. Evidence for this thesis , however, there is not , the study of ancient amber has rather shown that most of the specimens have a yellow core and traces of succinic acid include : characteristic features of Baltic amber so .

There are both transparent and opaque amber. Depending on the presence and amount of tiny trapped air bubbles , the resin is cloudy or clear. While the resin ran down to the trunks , often caught insects , branches and leaves in the sticky mass . Million years later, these inclusions provide valuable information about the flora and fauna of the prehistoric amber forests.

The materials , which are often confused with Bernstein, include copal, Ambroid and bakelite . Copal, a natural resin , there is halbversteinertem state and as directly Taken from the trees resin. It is believed that pearls were made ​​of copal in earlier times. However, most so-called Kopalperlen are almost always made from amber or plastic.

Genuine copal is found in large quantities on the island of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania, where it during the rainy season , when the ground is softened , degrades . You collect there also Rohkopal of birch -like trees. Both materials are recovered and on the West African coast and in New Zealand, Brazil and Malaysia. It is believed that genuine copal is about a million years old and located in the middle of a complex chemical process that would ultimately lead to the formation of amber. Ambroid or reconstructed amber consists of small compressed Bernsteinteilchen . Although it is so uim reason to genuine amber , this product can not compete with the clarity and beauty of naturally formed amber.

It has long been claimed that many of the data processed in pieces from the twenties and dreißier years amber imitations were made of Bakelite, a processed from thirties amber imitations made of bakelite existed , a 1909 so designated by the Belgian chemist Baekeland molded plastic from condensation products of phenol and Farmaldehyd . In reality , these are mostly to various cast phenolic resins which are intensely colored and translucent, while Bakelite is opaque and usually dark in color.

The only amber factory in the world is to Palvininkai ( Jantarny ) in Russian since 1945 administrative area Königsberg. This Baltic Centre for amber mining and processing now produces primarily for export. Colors and shapes may vary , wherein the beads are generally irregular.

Natural pearls

Natural pearl - pearls in English as opposed to the previously discussed beads - are as Benstein an organic substance , the product of a living organism. While Bernstein is a many thousand year-old fossil form of pine resin to form beads by glandular secretions of certain oyster and mussel species. They come around the world wowohl in marine and freshwater molluscs in . This naturally grown jewels are the finest contribution of nature on the subject of pearls. By nature completely , they differ from all other gemstones in that they require no further procedures to make her beauty visible. Shaping and polishing are unnecessary : these pearls have only fixed , ie, inserted or drilled or punched.

To determine the origin of these beads to many myths and legends. In China, they wanted to know that they grow in the minds of dragons, while in India many ideas existed : So they come either from the clouds , elephants, boars , snail shells, fish, snakes , from bamboo or the oyster - although that last version of the precedence was given.