Color(s): Light yellow to brown, red, nearly colorless, mostly white, blue, black, greenish
Chemical Make-up: C10H16O
Hardness: 2-2 1/2
Where they are found: Poland, Germany and Russia (Baltic Amber) as well as Sicily, Romania, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and along the eastern coast of the United States.
About Stone: Amber is fossilized sap or pitch from trees. Baltic Amber is the oldest and considered the finest in the world, and comes from the Baltic region. Amber has been used in jewelry for thousands of years. Amber is a highly sensitive gem and must be cared for delicately. It is easily scratched (watch your fingernails!) and sensitive to chemicals, abrasives, acids, caustic solutions, alcohol and perfume. It is also flammable and can be ignited with a direct flame. Steamers, hot water and ultrasonic cleaners can damage this gem. To clean amber, use mild soap, room temperature tap water and a soft cloth.
To determine whether amber is natural or has been combined with resin stabilizers, place the gem in a glass of warm salt water. Natural amber will float, whereas synthesized amber will sink. Another technique for distinguishing between natural and synthesized amber is to heat the tip of a sewing needle until it is white hot. Then, insert the needle into the amber (preferably on the backside of the gem). If a pine scent emits, the amber is likely all-natural. Ambroid will emit an aroma of burning plastic.
Zodiac Association: Gemini, Leo, Aquarius.
Metaphysical Properties: Helps eliminates worries and fears so that we may communicate from the heart and breakthrough our boundaries. Helps to bring clarity of thought.