Gemstone: Amber – A gem, but not a gemstone

We handmake all the jewellery you’ll find on our site and love working with gemstones from time to time. You can find these one-off designs in our Bespoke Jewellery Collection or contact us to discuss a Custom Order.


The word ‘amber’ was derived from the Middle Persian word ‘ambar’.

Asian cultures regard amber as the ‘soul of the tiger’. Amber comes from trees and therefore it shares many spiritual qualities similar to that of a tree.



Amber comes in more than 300 different shades! Amber occurs in a range of different colours, but it is mostly yellow, orange or brown. Golden-yellow amber is usually a hard, translucent resin from evergreen pine trees. The Dominican Republic is known to produce rare blue amber. There is also rare green and red coloured amber. The red amber is sometimes referred to as “cherry amber”.



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Birthstone: Sun Sign for Taurus

Anniversary: 21st



Amber is almost always cut en cabochon  – like this necklace. Amber is very rarely faceted. Amber is very easy to cut because it is so soft, it can also be sanded and polished by jewellers which makes it an interesting gem to work with. Round and oval amber stones are very popular. Other fancy shapes such as stars, hexagons, pentagons, trillions and heart shapes are also readily available.



Amber is not a mineral but an organic product. It is fossilized resin of ancient trees living 25 to 50 millions years ago, but some pieces have been found which can be as old as 130 millions years. This early Tertiary amber comes mainly from around the shores of the Baltic Sea, from today’s Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, Poland, southern Sweden, northern Germany, and Denmark.



Amber measures a 2-2.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.




The proper classification for organic gems like coral, pearl, and amber is “gem” material, not gemstone.

When a tree is punctured or scratched,the tree releases a sticky substance called resin to seal the wounded area. Over time, chemically stable kinds of resin will harden and form the pretty, translucent version of amber that you are familiar with.

Amber gemstones do not float in freshwater, but float in saltwater.

When amber is burning it smells like pine.


Amber can contain many preserved animals inside such as wasps, flies, ants, bees, centipedes, spiders, frogs, scorpions, and lizards. Preserved plants such as flowers, seeds, pine cones and pine needles that are tens or hundreds of millions years old can also be found inside amber. Because these fossils are not the same species that are alive today, these frequent fossil inclusions that are often seen in amber normally add to the stone’s unique look and can greatly increase its value.

imagesMore than 1,000 extinct species of insect have been identified in amber.

Unlike the minerals and glass, amber is warm against the skin.


Click to discover more interesting facts about Howlite or Diamonds gemstones.

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