February, 2002 Feature:
Introduction to Amber

Amber is a fossilized resin from Asian pine forests long submerged under the sea, from between 20 to 60 million years old. Amber could be gathered irregularly, especially along the North Sea coast of East Anglia, Jutland, and the shores of South Baltic. Having been washed loose from its deposits by sea currents, mainly during violent storms. Amber often contains insects that were trapped when the resin was secreted.

Color ranges: Amber is transparent of opaque, and ranges in color from very pale yellow to deep brown -red, green, bluish, or black. As it has a very low specific gravity, amber will float in salt water. This distinguishes it from imitation of plastic, Bakelite, or Perspex, which will sink.

Amber has been traded in Morocco for thousands of years, and has been highly regarded. At one point it was regarded to be higher than gold. Baltic amber was called gold of the north because of its bright yellow color, which is the most popular color in Morocco.

Amber is mainly used as beads in necklaces, and used by all tribes, especially the Sus. It used to be common that a bride to be was given a big amber necklace as part of her future security, and to show her family's wealth.

Amber was used not only ornamentally, but also as a gemological remedy both internally and externally. Roman physicians prescribed ointment made from ground amber, made as a salve for wounds. In morocco they use it internally to clean the blood system, and also for spiritual purposes, where they burn it as an inscent.

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