Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Amber ~ gift of the trees

Polished but uncut specimen
Amber is one of my favourite 'gems'.  Of course it isn't a gem at all; it's tree resin which has become fossilised.  Amber is light, and quickly warms when worn next to the skin.

Here we have three necklaces.  I was told that amber of the dark one is from the Baltic area.  It hasn't been polished so the chips are slightly rough.  The one inside it at the top was one of the first necklaces I bought for myself, and the lower one belonged to my mother when she was a child.

The beautiful necklace below is made up of polished chips.  When picking it up or putting it down the pieces rattle together producing a series of soft clinking sounds.  It's lovely to wear.  The little beetle brooch was given to me when I was a child, and the ear-rings at the left are costume jewellery which came to me from my mother's collection. 

Amber is relatively soft and is easily chipped, scratched and broken, so should always be strung on a soft thread or cord, never on wire.  Ideally the cord should be knotted between each bead.  Avoid wearing it with metal chains of anything of that sort.  It's best stored in a soft bag, away from other jewellery to prevent damage.  I was once advised to polish it with a chamois leather cloth to keep it shiny, but have never tried doing so. 

It's possible to buy very nice necklaces which look like amber but are synthetic, which is to say plastic.  Don't expect them to be cheap, however!  I like this one, which certainly is eye-catching, and when I wear it people often admire it...

...But ultimately, nothing beats the glow and mellowness of the real thing!

Amber chips

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