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I'm not sure how to handle the "folklore" stuff. Certainly it's all nonsense (aside from being badly written), but if it's nonsense that some specific group of people believe, there's no reason not to report on that belief. I suspect that all of this comes from a single source, so that source should be named. Otherwise, there's no way to know whether this is actual folklore or just one man's ramblings. --Lee Daniel Crocker

yes, Lee - see my entry on Corvus's page. I think it's from a source. If Corvus is capitalizing this way himself, he's an exception. --MichaelTinkler.

What makes you say it's badly written?

No, it's not from one source, it's from several years' worth of research and study, and I wrote it myself --corvus13

"...leading to the general formula C10H16O": shouldn't this be "empirical formula"? Dweir

Might want to separate the Amber (fantasy world) section from the Amber (fossilised resin) stuff. Are we going to have entries for fictional countries such as Oz, Narnia, Middle-Earth, Lilliput, Brobdingnag, etc? Might have to decide on qualifier for the name "Amber" (eg. Amber (fictional country) ). I'll leave it in the hands of a Wikipedia expert. Michael Green -

The Baltic Amber is old resin from Pseudolarix amabilis.

Quick Question[edit]

"Sap is the fluid that circulates through a plant's vascular system, while resin is the semi-solid amorphous organic substance secreted in pockets and canals through epithelial cells of the plant."

It seems to me that this is either not properly cited, or it is plagiarized...from here: [1]. (Second paragraph; second sentence.)

Plumberman032 (talk) 03:01, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

How about this:

Sap is like blood and resin is like pus. In terms of function, anyway. John Elson3DhamWF6I A.P.O.I. 17:32, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Not so sure - pus arises as a result of infection. Resin exists already, even if it does have this scar-covering function too. It's maybe more like platelets, but that's an analogy too far. Andy Dingley (talk) 18:47, 28 November 2011 (UTC)


English people usually call burnstones “amber”. Etymologists suggest the Arabian word anbar = Ambre gris, describing the secretions of a sperm whale, may be the source for a great number of amber-like words in modern languages, but with “burneability” in our minds another Latin word "Amb-urus" = "the burning (stone)" may be much more suitable for explanation.

The Latin verb amb-uro, ambussi, ambustum is related to combustion and is translated into the English word “to burn”. The word “amburus” in the sense of “Amber” did belong to vernacular language and will not be found in Latin scriptures. Historic documents are using the Germanic word “Glaesum” instead.

The etymology of the verb „amburo“ is rather complicated. Amburo sources from the Latin verb “uro”:

Latin: uro – ussi - ustum,

1. to burn something or somebody,

2. to dry up, to scorch

3. to passion

Besides uro also buro developed in time, eg. in comburo, bussi, bustum, translated: to burn / to scorch or to bust.

In contrast we find also de-uro, translated: to burn down, indicating the original core must be read "uro" and not "buro".

Maybe/Probably the English verb "burn" sources from "buro".

The word amber is spread accross a great number of people and modern languages, like French (ambre jaune), Italian (ambra gialla), Spanish (el ambar). Unlike the British sailors they certainly were not familiar with walefishing and some early language, maybe Latin, must have provided the word.

Originally the adjective “amburus” in Latin accompanied the male word “Lapis” (Stone) and checking the gender in languages we do not find any discrepancies.

See for complete details:

English Version:

German/Deutsche Version:

The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 04:45, 23 May 2005./The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk • contribs) 03:03, 24 May 2005.

Sorry, these were my contributions. I just forgot to log in

Johannes.Richter 07:11, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)

re: Greek etymology: Electrum refers to an alloy of gold and silver. Disambiguation? Ancient sources?
It'sWhom (talk) 17:40, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

Electricity and amber[edit]

i read somewhere that archemedies or someone like that rubbed amber with fur and he noticed small objects started to stick to it and he "discovered" static electriicity. could someone verify that?Omgwt..bbq (talk) 02:15, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Well, should you wish to look him up, it's Archimedes. The article on electricity says that the effect was known to ancient Mediterranean cultures. It says that one Thales of Miletos studied it, but it doesn't actually say he discovered the effect. That's the sort of thing that could easily be discovered by accident, a thousand times over, by anonymous individuals handling amber. (talk) 20:20, 3 November 2008 (UTC)Stephen Kosciesza

Ambergris has nothing to do with sperm oil or sperm wax (spermacetti). It is a waxy exudate from the intestines, as described in the "ambergris" Wiki page. I corrected this in the article. Altroman — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:31, 13 July 2012 (UTC)


I actually think that it's reasonable to mention "Danzig" in this article, since there are many connections from historical Danzig to amber. E.g. the famous Amber Room, built in 1701, was created by ethnic German amber artisans from Danzig (as they presumably would have called it, and as Wikipedia policy calls for it to be named at that point in time). The entry for "Gedanite" may not the best place to mention it, though; perhaps the paragraph which mentions the amber room could mention that some of the amber workers came from "Danzig (now Gdansk)". Noel (talk) 19:35, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Royal Prussia was an integral part of Poland, and so the proper name is Gdansk not Danzig. Space Cadet 20:47, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
I (naively) assumed that Royal Prussia was the same thing as the Kingdom of Prussia. I have modified my comment (above) to take this into account. Noel (talk) 21:56, 6 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Space Cadet: Gdansk is not the Polish name of the city, smartarse. Gdańsk is, and I doubt you can pronounce that. And given that Polish is not the indigenous language of the area, the Kashubian name, Gduńsk, would be the proper name by that standard. But since we do not call Warsaw Warszawa only because the region was an integral part of Poland, your reasoning makes no sense in the first place. People need to finally come to terms (again) with the concept of exonyms, dammit! --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:09, 2 April 2014 (UTC)
Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.) says: "DANZIG, or DANTSIC (Polish _Gdansk_), a strong maritime fortress and seaport of Germany, capital of the province of West Prussia", by the way. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 18:15, 2 April 2014 (UTC)

Hey, you guys. No need to call people names.

IceDragon64 (talk) 19:17, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Jurassic Park[edit]

I think the use of amber as a major plot point in Jurassic Park is notable and should be included in the article, although I don't know where. --Grouse 10:53, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

A 'Trivia' section?

The use of Dominican amber in the movie "Jurassic Park" was awesome, except for this one scientific fact: at the time the movie was made it was understood Dominican amber was up to 40 million years old. That is still minimum 20 to 30 million years AFTER the dinosaurus died out. Most current scientific data puts Dominican amber as 15-20 milion years old fossil resin. Spielberg is a master of fiction, not science. (````)

Well, the Dominican amber dealers probably cut a check to the movie makers to popularize their national product so to speak, since they are one of largest amber producers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:03, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

There are other problems with the Jurassic parks scenario as well. Mosquitoes aren't actually that common as amber inclusions, and very few have been found in cretaceous Burmite or other dinosaur era amber. It should be noted, however, that biting midges are actually quite common and engorged ticks are occasionally found as well. The blood meals of such insects are seldom preserved even in Dominican amber and the chances of finding it in the much rarer dinosaur era inclusions are slim indeed.

Most authorities now agree that even if such blood meals were found, the DNA of the source would not be found. Even the people who first reported finding insect DNA in Dominican amber now admit that they were mistaken.

There are other issues such as the fact that DNA reconstructed artificially is unstable and breaks down by the time a few hundred base pairs are added, as well as this issue of how you construct an embryo from its DNA even once you have all its chromosomes fully built, but this is getting off topic for this article. John Elson (talk) 05:43, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I agree that amber's use in the Jurassic Park stories is notable, because they were popular enough that many people probably know of amber specifically through the Jurassic Park books or films.


what is the value of raw amber?

Value of rough amber is difficult to explain. First of all what is "amber"? You have to specify: Baltic amber, Dominican amber etc., in my opinion whenever just the word "amber" is used, it has to mean Baltic amber. This is the fossil resin humans used since 30000 years ago, the one that played such important role in shaping European civilisation. Only recently other fossil resins became more known and scientists for ease of communication started calling other fossil resins "amber"- dealers and public after "Jurassic Park" made this word common without caring for what it means. Value? Well, Baltic amber obtained by excavation in Kalliningrad in its heyday, was 1000 tons a year. Only about 300 tons of it were jewellery quality. Today that mine produces mere 200 tons per year. So quality rough Baltic amber is scarce. Poland's jewellery industry uses about 200 tons of it every year. Sure Ukraine has deposits of Baltic amber that in recent years were began to be mined. But there is like, only one legal operation, the rest is gray market. This equals to supply in the tens of tons per year. Dominican and Mexican amber, excavated by hand is a specialty item in global view. An output of aprox. 5 tons per year from each locality has no effect on jewellery market, but is important for its animal inclusions. Its red, green and blue varieties are highly sought after and pricey. For Baltic amber, of course value depends on size of pieces. The larger the more rare and more expensive. I have held in my hands a 3 kilo piece- it looked just like a loaf of bread! Market prices are often published in Bursztynisko, a magazine of International Amber Association. Amberif, an amber and jewellery fair organised in Gdansk, Poland every March is a great place to sense the amber industry trends. There, two years ago the Russian rough amber dealers changed prices from US$ to Euro currency- same numbers, but a 30% jump in price! (this, if I remember it correctly without checking records. Also, any numbers quoted above- I have quotable sources for and can provide the details). ```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kuczman (talkcontribs) 03:33, 20 July 2008 (UTC)

For quite a while it was $1 a gram. (talk) 16:42, 6 February 2010 (UTC)


What is meant by sub-fossil at end of first paragraph? This must be a slang (i.e., non-scientific) term. SNP 22:43, 10 February 2007 (UTC)

  • Why "must" it be? At a guess it is a "sub-scientific" term. Fossilisation is not an absolute and instant process. One can find things part-way through the process of fossilisation and speaking as an amateur geologist, I think it is quite a reasonable and meaningful one.

IceDragon64 (talk) 19:22, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

age of most amber?[edit]

The statement in the first paragraph: “Most of the world's amber is in the range of 30–90 million years old” is puzzling, and as far as I can tell is un-verifiable. Science does not know when plants first evolved the ability to produce biopolymers for defensive purposes, but for sure, they have not lost the ability; consequently, unless data disputes the obvious, there should be a greater amount of younger than older resinites in sediments. Does anyone know where this statement cam from? SNP 01:27, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

There have been several studies to investigate the age and pretty much every sample has yielded a different result. As far as I can tell the age range should be more like between 20-120 million years, but as you stated correctly it is pretty much unverifiable. That may be because the age samples tested where not the amber itself but the sediment it is found in. Talk about incongruent. There are a few examples on amber dating technique here here.

Your reference includes the statement "time and the environment influence the decaying speed" in reference to radiodating, which is utter nonsense. This reference is linked from the blue amber page, and thus appears to be commercial link spam. SNP 00:19, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, ya might want to be careful. The statement was probably a misunderstanding of the statements made here and here and here. But you would know better.--The Singularity 21:41, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

Some schmuck has been reediting the amber article to include "F... you" and some such. I reverted it, but what on earth?! --The Singularity 17:39, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Just divide them by zero. SNP 00:19, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

i found an amber that might be pretty old judging by the high specific gravity and hardness. see this video i posted please —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:41, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

expert tag[edit]

Is there a "outdated tag"? The bulk of that page is from the 1911 EB. Is all of that still true? -lysdexia 07:19, 15 May 2007 —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 07:19, 15 May 2007 (UTC).

Errata: tides in the Baltic[edit]

The sentence "Pieces of amber torn from the seafloor are cast up by the waves, and collected at ebb-tide." is clearly erroneous. I live by the Baltic Sea, and the tides are 10 cm, tops, and along most of the Baltic coast, this is not visible to the naked eye. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 5 November 2007 (UTC)


"Most of the world's amber is in the range of 30–90 million years old. Semi-fossilized resin or sub-fossil amber is called copal. It can hold insects or even small mammals."

Woah, small mammals? Can anyone provide a source for that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:05, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

What exactly constitutes "fossilized"?[edit]

I came to this article looking to find out how amber differs from fresh resin that has hardened recently. The article says it is "fossilized," but it also says it is not "mineralized." So I take it the original resin has not been replaced by other substances. But the article does not give a clue beyond that. Browsing various links and other articles, I've tentatively gathered that the substances that make up the resin, over time, become polymerized. Is that correct? Is that what goes into fossilization (in this case) to make amber different from hardened resin? If so, I think someone who knows should put it in the article somehow. (talk) 20:07, 3 November 2008 (UTC)Stephen Kosciesza

yes that is also the question i have. can an amber be completely mineralized to a point where hardness will jump drastically from 2-3 moh's scale to 5-6? most articles found on web doesn't point this out? so once again what exactly constitutes "fossilized"? please see this video of my mineralized amber find in Omaha, NE. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:47, 25 May 2009 (UTC)

  • I think this is really important. They now sell "immature amber" which is becoming harder and denser, but is definately not what we would call amber. I can be hundred of years old, but not millions of years old like typical Baltic amber. We definately need to express what is amber and what is not yet amber etc - and yes, we need to define the chemical & physical processes. Sorry, I don't really know.

IceDragon64 (talk) 19:28, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

In Popular Culture[edit]

I'm thinking this article could use a section on amber in pop. culture. Jurassic Park is the obvious example, but the Golden Compass series features amber in connection with electricity ("anbar") as well as in The Amber Spyglass. (talk) 02:09, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

"Amber Frog Violin Bow"[edit]

This section seems slightly random and overtly specific. It could possibly be generalized to "Amber in Musical Instruments" or something of that sort. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:44, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Agreed, I can't imagine why it's been included. I'm going to remove it along with the accompanying photo. Dbarefoot (talk) 02:16, 14 December 2009 (UTC)
Photo restored, with less confusing caption. The linked reference has some things to say about the difficulty of shaping structural parts from amber. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 18:58, 9 April 2010 (UTC)
Seriously, why is the "amber frog bow" given its own subsection under "Uses?" The linked reference doesn't seem to work, and I can't seem to find the referenced article anywhere using Google. I think the significance of the amber frog bow has been blown way out of proportion. VDanger (talk) 03:18, 28 November 2011 (UTC)

Agreed, it was a bizarre inclusion and I have removed it. (talk) 08:26, 28 November 2011 (UTC) FROG refers to that part of the bow, this one being made from Amber, without a frog inclusion. (talk) 04:10, 21 July 2014 (UTC)


This reads like a faulty translation and at best, makes no sense. " in the Polish language, despite still correct, it is used very rarely" (talk) 21:52, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

Fixed. Thanks for pointing it out. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 18:38, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

Something missing[edit]

This is an interesting (if not well knit) article so far. But it leaves me with big questions. OK amber comes from trees; ok it has bugs in it, is used for this & that. But *how* does it get from A to D? Where in trees does it come from? What kinds of trees? Where are they? How long does that take for huge chunks? Where are they found (are they still found?) What happens to it then? How long does it take to harden? How does it trap a bug? Does it need to be buried to last 30 million years? Where can I find some? Twang (talk) 07:29, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

I'll try to answer a few of your questions:

How long does it take to harden? It depends on the conditions, but it takes anywhere from a few years to a few hundred years for resin to harden, at which point it is known as copal. It takes much longer for it to fully fossilize. Normally, resin that is out in the open or simply buried in the ground will begin to break down and in a few hundred years to a thousand years will be nothing but dust. It is only when copal finds it way into the right kind of sediment that copal is preserved and the process of fossilization, which takes millions of years, can take place. Once it is fully fossilized, the resin is then known as amber. Most resin never becomes amber just as most animals never become fossils.

How does it trap a bug? I'll assume that you actually mean "invertebrate" since most amber inclusions are not bugs but rather other kinds of insects and non insects such as spiders. There are actually two main ways this can happen:

  1. 1 The animal gets stuck in the resin, which is very sticky, much like flypaper, and either digs itself in deeper in the struggle to escape or after it gets stuck more resin flows over it till it is completely covered.
  2. 2 The animal gets caught in a resin flow after its death, making no attempt to escape simply because it is already dead. On rare occasions larger animals such as frogs and lizards have been submerged in resin after their death. These animals would usually be able to free themselves from the resin and so ordinarily aren't found in amber. The same is true of larger invertebrates such as cockroaches, centipedes and large scorpions. Sometimes the animal caught in the resin this way has already begun to decompose, and is preserved in a partially decomposed state. Parts of animals discarded by sloppy predators can also be submerged in resin the same way.

What happens to it then? I'm not sure exactly what you mean by this but amber remains preserved only as long as it is in a rock matrix. Once amber is removed from the matrix it begins to break down. Within a hundred years, the surface crusts over and the amber will begin to crack. After a few hundred to a thousand years or so it will be reduced to dust. An amber necklace buried in a tomb for 1500 years which originally had over a hundred stones had only a few broken pieces left when it was unearthed, most of the pieces having turned to dust. Museums are looking for ways to arrest this process in their prized amber pieces.

Note that some features of amber are even more ephemeral than this. Occasionally an inclusion in Dominican amber will show a small hint of color when first polished, but in a couple of years it is gone. Enhydros, moving air bubbles contained in pockets of water (or other liquid), will sometimes disappear in just a few months.

Where can I find some? Dominican amber is found in mines in the Dominican republic. Extracting amber from the rock in these mines is a dangerous activity and I don't recommend it. Baltic amber is contained in rock deposits beneath the Baltic sea. It isn't practical to dive down there and mine it directly, but geological activity occasionally liberates amber from the rock and, because it is lighter than sea water (albeit heavier than fresh water) it will float to the surface where it can either be skimmed up in nets or picked up off the beach. It hardly seems worth the trip though!

Probably the best place to find amber is where I got most of mine, on sites such as eBay.

John Elson (talk) 04:45, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

This is great material and more of it should be in the Page.

IceDragon64 (talk) 19:57, 14 August 2014 (UTC)

Indonesian blue amber[edit]

I reverted the addition of a new section on blue amber from Indonesia as it was unsupported by sources and I have been unable to find any - it read a bit like an advert. Mikenorton (talk) 09:47, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

Historic medicinal uses[edit]

The reference for this section was non-working - found another link for the source (I think) a museum website/book. The site however failed WP:RS (self-pub'd and promotional). So I removed it and some content and added a citation needed tag. Vsmith (talk) 23:54, 17 April 2011 (UTC)


Dominican amber containing debris but without recognizable conclusions. While not rare or valuable, such pieces can be fascinating to view in stereoscopic detail. Anaglyph, Red left.

(rvt: please look for images without severe color distortion (refraction) and with a more straightforward interpretation)

Are you really that clueless? Where have you been the last ten years? John Elson (talk) 03:55, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I'm willing to explain my revert, but it might be a good idea you first contemplate that image and then formulate your question. Materialscientist (talk) 03:59, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Obviously it is a stereoscopic (3D) anaglyph, the kind that you view with colored glasses. Your explanation seems to suggest you didn't realize that, which is kind of hard to believe. The alternative is that you have issues with such images, in which case you didn't do a very good job of explaining your actions and this clearly represents a personal prejudice on your part, which doesn't justify your actions. John Elson (talk) 05:57, 2 August 2011 (UTC) 05:08, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

I have not explained my revert well, that is absolutely right; I had no hard feeling about that and wish you have a second thought. (i) The article is already overloaded with images (their placement is screen-resolution dependent); (ii) anaglyph adds confusion in this case as many readers won't understand what it is and why it is necessary here, when depth contrast can be better seen in other, conventional photos; (iii) the caption says "amber containing debris but without recognizable conclusions. While not rare or valuable.. " - so the reader should wonder why is it included? In this case, the image could simply be replaced by its caption. Further ".. such pieces can be fascinating to view in stereoscopic detail." - this phrase does call for a fascinating image :-), which this one is not. Materialscientist (talk) 06:51, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Actually there is a very good reason to include it, though you seem to have missed the point. The images of amber included in the article are all of pieces that have large inclusions or are of jewelry grade. This gives a misleading impression. There are many amber pieces such as this one which contain miscellaneous debris and are fascinating to look at, especially through a stereo microscope or in a large stereoscopic image. The description probably could have explained that a little better, and "conclusions" should have been "inclusions" but that is no reason for removing the image altogether.

As for anaglyph, I myself prefer stereo pairs, but anaglyphs are more accessible to most people. The larger image seen when this one is clicked on does a much better job of showing the "depth contrast", as you put it, then a conventional photograph would. This large image can't be shown in the article itself, but is available to anyone who cares to click on the thumbnail. John Elson (talk) 07:36, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

My point is that there are so many amber images around that it is possible to find a few conventional photos of a non-gem with all kinds of inclusions here, like this (surely, photographers like insects around :). Materialscientist (talk) 07:49, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Perhaps, but there are recognizable ants in that image, and just because there are conventional photos around, doesn't mean that all the illustrations need to be conventional photos. I'm sure there are plenty of black and white images around, but that doesn't mean color images can't be used. John Elson (talk) 07:56, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

The image is rather ugly without 3d glasses and as 99.99% + of page viewers aren't using 3d specs it is simply distracting. I see it is also used on the scanography page where it is more fitting perhaps. I've also removed an ugly 3d scan from wavellite for different reasons. Vsmith (talk) 10:56, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

Surely you have no problem with the new version of the image. John Elson (talk) 20:44, 2 August 2011 (UTC)

File:Amber2.jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Amber2.jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on July 13, 2012. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2012-07-13. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 17:16, 12 July 2012 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Ant encased in amber

An ant encased in amber, the name for fossilized tree resin. Amber has been known since at least the fourth century BC and was used as fuel in ancient times, as well as jewelry, a use which continues to this day. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder correctly theorized that because insects and other objects were occasionally found in amber, it must have been a liquid at some point in the past. The English word amber derives from the Arabic anbar, via Medieval Latin ambar and Old French ambre. The word originally referred to a precious oil derived from the sperm whale (now called ambergris). The two substances were confused, because they both were found washed up on beaches.

Photo: Anders L. Damgaard
ArchiveMore featured pictures...


So if this word originates in Middle Persian, and was brought to Europe by the Crusaders, then what was Pytheas talking about in 330 BC ?

And who says the use of ambergris was "waning" around 1400 CE ? There was surely a lot more whaling of sperm whales in the second half of the last millenium, than the first half of the last millenium.Eregli bob (talk) 03:14, 14 May 2013 (UTC)


There is Greek wine, retsina, which has amber in it. (talk) 04:07, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Caption for the Amber Room picture is wrong[edit]

The amber from the Amber Room was never found. It was most likely accidentally burned by the Soviet soldiers. There isn't enough evidence for that one way or another. The point is though that while the Amber Room was reconstructed, it was done so using old black and white photographs and using amber mined from the same region as the original. (talk) 00:00, 22 December 2014 (UTC) Nick F. Spanlopis Jr.