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Tips 10 Jun 2018

Facts and myths- amber colour, or what?

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Facts and myths- amber colour, what?

     Amber is the source of many mysteries and curiosities, concealing the history of our planet, which is why many myths and stereotypes surround this mineral. A special interest in the ore results not only from its history but also from its unique appearance, including its uniquecolour. For centuries fascinated collectors and enjoys the eyes enthusiasts around the world. Also vivid reactions and interest in the diverse palette of the collection and history of our museum, served as a source of inspiration to create a series of articles on the facts and myths of the amber world.

     In this publication I will try to explore the secrets of the diversified colour of this popular raw material, which causes such a great admiration and fascination of the guests of our museum.

     Amber colour- but what is the color? I often hear that light brown, reddish, orange. The latter may, however, be more like a tea colour, which corresponds to the cognac amber. Light- yellow, sunny, which sometimes takes on a more yellow- white colour, is also well- known. Then we are dealing with milk amber. Difficulty in assessing and precisely defining the colours of amber results from the variety of this raw material. This stone can take on such colours as: cherry, green, or blue and have different physical and chemical properties. Among these minerals can be found various stones of different transparency, different diameter of gas bubbles embedded in them, or varied degree of weathering. Regardless of whether they are naturally shaped or expressing the modernity and craftsmanship of the artist modifying this mineral, they are a kind of unique and rare.

     To discuss main colour verieties of amber, it should be noted that the most common, and at the same time popular, colour of Baltic amber is the cognac shade. It is a natural colour that in the ancient times was the dominant that distinguishes this raw material from other minerals. However, it can be regularly varied by artists. Today, cognac amber is often embellished with characteristic "scales". Currently, they are so common that they testify to the authenticity of the mineral and Baltic descent. Scalesare obtained in an "autoclave" during the heating process in the presence of gas. After a while, the hot amber begins to crack, which will result scales inside.

     The natural shade is also the natural shade. It occurs practically in the whole range of tones- from white to yellow. The colour results from differences in the internal ctructure of the mineral. Generally speaking, amber can appear in a transparent and opaque structure, which is determined by the presence of gas bubbles and their quantity. The transparent form is characterized by a lack od bubbles structure. Among the representatives of this variety, we find the so- called "Trinket", honey amber, possibly with "cloud". Opaque variants, on the other hand, are characterized by the presence of gas bubbles in the structure. Those with more bubbles, about 900000 bubbles per 1mm2 of amber, are white. The internal structure of such a stone is obtained by the nature of foam, which creates a natural milk colour, while it is still quite transparent and unrampered. With a number of 25000 bubbles on the surface od 1mm2, an opaque yellow amber is formed.

     Few people know that some varieties of amber, such as: Dominican amber mined on the island of Haiti, have a blue colour. This natural variety of amber is known for its "role" in the film "Jurassic Park". An interesting fact is that despite the uniqueness of its colour, this amber is completely natural. The mining difficulties make it less accessible and therefore more attractive and desirable on the market of precious stones. An unusual and type of ore is green amber. The minerals in this colour can be both natural and created by man. The natural green shade is the result of contamination of the mineral with a plant detritus, called natural amber. There are numerous gas bubbles formed during the process of putrefaction of plants, and the colour is earthy and greenish. Green ambers may be the effect of the artist's modification.

     Red/ cherry reds are modified minerals, similarly black variety. They are obtained in an "autoclave" under the influence of high temperature and pressure in the presence of inhibitors.

     All kinds of amber, from the most popular cognac and dairy to less obvious green, cherry or black are natural amber. Some of their varieties have been subjected to human action. However, the basis of each mentioned amber is a resin from several thousand years ago, which can be subjected to a larger or smaller treatment. A polished, polished or cut amber which,by treatment, changes its colour, is called modified amber.

     Colour changes or the creation of scales require the artistry of the artist and a lot of experience, often associated with the loss of kilograms of minerals for science. This dedication, however, brings the artist great satisfaction, and at the same joy the customers receiving a unique product.

     We cordially invite you to our Borunia and Amber Museum galleries in Cracow, where specialists will present you with a collection of outstanding European amber jewelery, bringing you closer to the palette of amber colors!

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