The word "Bernstein" (german word) comes from the Greek language and means “burn”. Therefore it was called "Burning Stone". The Romans gave it the name "electrum". Therefore, the word "electricity" comes from. The amber charges electrostatically positive on by friction. Another name is "Succinit" that the Romans used, in Latin: "sucinum" which means tree resin. The name of the pine cedar kind is called "pinus succinifera". The Teutons also called the amber "Glaesum". In German amber is "Bernstein", in French: "ambre", in Italian "ambra".

Amber with air-inclusions


All fossil resins can basically be distinguished into two types: sea or earth amber.


Sea amber or maritime amber

It is found in the water and on the sand of the coastal region. It usually has no weathering rind or bark as these was abraded in the course of millions of years in the sea. The sea amber has a natural polish. Therefore it is also called "bare amber". It can be covered with so-called "barnacles". Its specific weight is less than the one of the earth amber.

Amber with barnacles



Land or earth amber

This amber has a rough, often pitted and cracked weathering rind.

It stores in gravel, sand, clay or in the so-called "blue earth". It was transported up to ten kilometers during the ice age glaciers and by melting water.

We distinguish the following types among experts:

Amber with sheers

These are completely clear stones. They are very rare and valuable. Often they are sea ambers.


Mat, milky Ambers
Available in white, yellow to brown contain many air bubbles and are suitable for carving of figures.

Flumige (flomige) Stones
Have a slight haze. They can be polished excellenty.

Bastard Amber


Bastard Ambers
Are murky and have a strong colour.


Kumst Ambers
This name comes from the East Prussian sour cabbage. Its colour is yellow to brownish yellow. The stone is easy to polish.


Bone Amber 
Is a chalky amber, it is completely opaque, white to ivory-coloured.


Foamy Amber
Is dull, very soft and cannot be polished.

Earth Amber


Brack or Schlack Amber
Is a stone in which mosses, soil compared to resin predominate. It is a marbled amber.


In addition, there are many transitions, because every Anber is unique.

That gives the stone its fascinating beauty.


There is a basic distinction between clear and milky amber.

The ambers are usually found dawned and have a size of one to five inches in diameter. Larger stones are rare and are used as collector stones or for carving. There are even ambers that a weight up to several kilograms. The collection of the author has an amber with a weight of 12.410 kg. It is one of the biggest ambers in Germany, if not the largest. The specific weight of amber is between 1.08 / 1.10 grams / cc. So it's a little heavier than water, but lighter than saline waters such as the Baltic Sea. This is also the reason why the amber "floats". The quality of an amber will be judged on the following criteria:

• The size and integrity;
• Smooth finish with no major indentations;
• Without external or internal fissures;
• Beautiful colour and internal structure;
• Without soil holding inside the stone.



A peculiarity is pointed, "Gagate". It is a "black amber", which contains a large amount of nitrogen. This suggests that 40 to 120 million years ago (= age of amber) there must have been forest fires.



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