The electron (amber) is known from the ancient years. Its name derives from one of the seven wise men of Ancient Greece, Thales the Milesian. He was the first who discovered the electricity, starting from the observation of attraction. The amber has this property when rubbed to draw specific objects.
It is an organic compound and it is a fossilized resin of coniferous trees dated at least 20 millions years ago. The gummy resin of trees, before crashed by soil and buried for thousands of centuries below the ground, it collected various materials, such as little branches of plants, leaves, sand, soil, as well as insects, spiders and many other small bugs that were stacked in and could not escape. In many cases amber "has captured" the last breathe of insects, causing the creation of air bubbles in front of their mouth.
The creation of gummy resin is caused from the defensive system of trees. The tree effuses resin as a form of resistance to the attacks from exterior factors as the insects, bugs, etc in order to avoid further invasion, and to be strengthened as well.
The amber’s colour and the other natural properties vary according to the age, the type of tree that produced the resin, the type of influenced material that was covered by the resin of tree, the conditions of temperature and the pressure below the ground.
Its specific weight is 1.08. As a result, the amber floats in a glass of seawater. Its colour varies between the shades of brown, cognac, and yellow. In certain cases, the amber has red, black, green, blue, or white colour. A distinctive property of the amber is its electric conductivity. If we rub the amber with a woollen cloth, it will develop on its ends electric loads that will attract small pieces of paper or other light items.
If we try "to shell" the amber with a sharp knife, and remove a "membrane" from its surface, the only result will happen is its breaking in small pieces. Generally, the amber is a bad conductor of heat and it is soft and hot in touch. When it is burning, it releases a nice essence of resin.
Today the amber can be founded in certain locations of the world. Its main sources are the coasts of Baltic Sea. We can also find amber in Sicily, in Romania but also in Burma, in Dominican Republic, in Canada, in Mexico, in Somalia as well as in other regions of Central Europe and United States.
Due to amber’s softness and sensitivity, it requires special care. The manufacturer that uses silk thread to string the beads together must take the first precaution. The metal chains cause frictions to the inner surface of the beads, causing the braking of the beads after a certain period. Never let amber encounter with cleaning solutions of jewellery, or soaps, detergents, etc, because they can destroy it. The only ways of cleaning amber is with warm water and after wipe it with a soft cloth.
Even if in the market there are a lot of amber imitations, there are many ways to control the genuine amber. The careful control of its special weight, the refraction indicator, the internal structure, the inclusions, the fragility, the essence when it burns, the behaviour in solvents, the fluorescence, the electric and thermal conductivity, are factors that allow us to prove the amber’s genuine.
Remember that amber is one of nature's works of art, so it is important to take special care of it, in order to help its beauty’s preservation.