Saturday, December 12, 2015
A Historical Note on Amber
By Blake Reher
Throughout Roman times, Amber was considered the gold of the North. Amber was believed to have medicinal properties that cured arthritis, protected people from suffering mental illness, and healed sore throats. People thought amber had magical properties that gave the wearer bravery. Amber was also a symbol of God’s presence.
Workers harvested amber from the Baltic regions in Russia. Merchants transported amber along roads and rivers to the Mediterranean area in Italy, the center of the Roman Empire. The Romans used it in making jewelry. It was a luxury product that helped develop a trade network in Europe. Without this valuable product and the trading routes it used, Europe would not have developed as quickly.
Amber is fossilized tree sap. The color of this sap is yellowish brown but can also be other colors. The sap sometimes entombs living things such as bugs and leaves and occasionally larger objects.
An ant inside Baltic amber. Image used with permission.
© Anders L. Damgaard, www.amber-inclusions.dk
About the author: Blake Reher is a member of the Pikes Peak Pebble Pups and the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society. He is also a volunteer ranger at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. He is 16 and attends Cheyenne Mountain High School.
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Through this blog pebble pups and junior members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society can access their lessons, work on assignments and projects, and receive details about field trips in the Pikes Peak Region. This Internet program is also suitable for young people who are interested in Earth science but do not live near a rock club or gem and mineral society or for young people anywhere who want a deeper dive into these topics. The only requirement is that all participants must be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and must fill out the CSMS membership form (under important websites) and send their registration and membership fee in. Steven Veatch is the senior instructor and will need an email from you with your name, address, phone number, and permission from your parents to participate in this program.