Facts and myths - amber, or what?

14 June 2018 /  

Amber is a source of many secrets and curiosities that hide the history of our planet, which is why there are many myths and stereotypes surrounding this mineral. Particular interest in the ore is due not only to its history, but also to its unique appearance. It has fascinated collectors for centuries and pleases the eyes of enthusiasts around the world. 

Amber color - but what color is it? I often hear light brown, reddish, orange. The latter, however, may look more like a tea color that suits cognac amber. Equally well known is the bright yellow, sunny color, which sometimes takes on a more yellow-white shade. Then we deal with milk amber. The difficulty in assessing and precisely defining the color of amber is due to the variety of this raw material. This ore can take on colors such as: cherry, green or blue and have different physical and chemical properties. Among these minerals you can find various stones with different transparency, different diameter of gas bubbles embedded in them, or varying degrees of weathering. Regardless of whether naturally shaped or an expression of modernity and craftsmanship of the artist modifying this mineral, they are a kind of uniqueness and rarity.

To discuss the main color varieties of amber, it should be noted that the most common and popular color of Baltic amber is the cognac shade. It is a natural color, which in ancient times was the dominant of this raw material from other minerals. However, it is regularly varied by artists. Today, cognac amber is often embellished with characteristic "scales", they are obtained in an autoclave during the heating process in the presence of gas, followed by rapid cooling, as a result of which the scales break up and scales appear.

A similar shade is milky shade. It occurs in virtually the entire range of shades - from white to yellow. The color results from differences in the internal structure of the mineral. Generally speaking, amber can occur in a transparent and opaque variety, which is determined by the presence of gas bubbles and their quantity. The transparent form has a structure with no bubbles. Among the representatives of this variety we find the so-called "bauble", honey amber, possibly with a "cloud". Opaque varieties, however, are characterized by the presence of gas bubbles in the structure. Those with more bubbles, approx. 900,000 bubbles per 1mm2 amber, they are white. The internal structure of such a stone acquires the character of a foam, which creates a natural milky color, while it is still quite transparent and not fogged. With 25,000 bubbles on 1mm surface2 opaque yellow amber is formed.

Green is an unusual and unusual color of amber. Amber, both natural and man-made, can appear in this color. The natural green shade is the result of mineral detectors contaminating the plant with minerals, called natural amber. There are numerous gas bubbles formed during putrefaction of plants, and the color is earthy-greenish. This "nice" green color is the result of an autoclave modification or redecoration from below with black paint. 

Red, cherry or black ambers are not natural but modified colors. They are obtained in an autoclave under the influence of high temperature and pressure in the presence of inhibitors. The exact process of obtaining them is unknown, because they are the secrets of technological processes.

Customers often ask about blue amber. But does such amber exist? There is no such blue Baltic amber. It can only have a blue glow - these are pyrite crystals breaking through the surface. However, blue amber appears on the market - but it can be, for example: Dominican amber mined on the island of Haiti. It is interesting that, despite the unusualness of its color, this amber is completely natural. However, mining difficulties make it less available and therefore more attractive and desirable on the precious stones market.

We cordially invite you to our galleries of Boruni and the Amber Museum in Krakow, where specialists will present you a collection of outstanding European amber makers, presenting the palette of amber colors!

Visiting the exhibition Amber Museum

Ladies and Gentlemen! From November 2023 the form of our Amber Museum is changing. The current exhibition is smaller and available to you as part of the Boruni Gallery.

Adults and children with guardians can visit the Museum without prior reservation during the museum's opening hours.

Opening hours:
Mon - Thu 10:00-20:00
Fri - Sun 10:00 - 20:00
Admission is free.
Telephone: +48 513 511 512

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