Nature and symbols

DISCOVERING AMBER

Posted on 28 June, 2017
Nature and symbols

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There is such a strange and beautiful substance that when people find it they think they have found something magical. Its magic is real because this material has traveled over the times bringing along passengers from a distant past who have wonderful stories to tell us.

This extraordinary substance fascinated us from the first time we saw it. What made us fall in love with amber was what we discovered inside, there were vestiges of an old life preserved with a surprising detail. There were thousands of questions … from what world was coming? Must have lived many years ago … How many? Amber became famous around the world because of the film Jurassic Park. I remember the impact it caused us when we saw it in the movies, at the time. Would it be possible to extract the DNA from those species preserved over time for thousands of years to clone living beings already extinct or would it be just fiction? The idea seemed credible and totally logical.

Etymologically the name Amber comes from Arabic, it means “what floats in the sea”

We know that the amber comes from rocks, the beds of the seas, at a certain distance from the coast but people do not find it until it appears dragged by the waves, even some carry hooked shells. People have been picking up these bits thousands of years ago.

In the stone age the amber was not valued in a functional sense, but in another very different one. It was thought to possess mystical or magical properties being used by many cultures as a talisman or a medicinal remedy. Its great beauty is responsible for having been considered a precious substance, and by its mysterious origin was estimated as divine protection, against various damages.

In the year 77 B.C a great Roman naturalist, Pliny the Elder, did an experiment. He set fire to a piece of amber and discovered that it smelled of pine resin.

The pine resin sprouts from the tree and forms a thick paste, the weather changes, the tree dies and ends up spreading its essence on the earth. The resin that one day emerged from the tree, later hardened and fossilized by the action of time, becoming the amber that we know today.

It’s difficult to imagine a more perfect time capsule than this. It’s magic.