Amber has a very long history of use among people. Amber discs or amulets have been found in burial sites from the stone-age period and it has been in constant use throughout history to treat many ailments and ward off evil. Early hunters were theorized to use amber to protect them during a hunt and to make the hunt successful by carrying an animal shaped amber carving with them.
Amber is not a stone; it is the fossilized resin from trees which existed during the Mesozoic time period. The trees are compared to the modern day Kauri pine tree which is found in New Zealand. Not to be confused with tree sap, resin is secreted through the epithelial cells of the plant where as sap actually circulates through the plants vascular system.
The majority of amber is found in the Cretaceous and Tertiary sedimentary rocks which makes it approximately 30-90 million years old. Not bad for a bit or hardened resin!
Throughout history Amber was burned to cleanse the air during childbirth, ground and ingested to treat stomach ailments, worn for adornment or protection – often times for both, and revered for its protective qualities. The Greeks called Amber “Electron” and were the first to expound it’s electrical properties when they found it would attract dust and ash after it had been rubbed with a piece of silk.
Personally I find it fascinating that a 30 million year old fossilized resin creates static electricity when rubbed with silk – another organic material.
Amber ranges in color from pale yellow, to dark brown to red depending on where the amber is found. The vast majority of Amber is found in the Baltic Seas region and was carried by seas, rivers and streams to its current locations.
Magically Amber is associated with protection, love, to increase the strength of spells, to attract money and even to repel the evil eye. Amber warms when held and will float in a salt solution – these are two ways you can distinguish Amber from plastic look-alikes!
Legends and Lore, Magical Properties are from "Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic", by Scott Cunningham.