Amber, the stone fire
One of the greatest treasures available to Dominican Republic is amber, a fossil resin that from immemorial times has fascinated mankind.
Some years ago, the launch of Jurassic Park movie popularized a gem of biological origin standing out for its color, brightness and, in many cases, by the presence of plants, insects and arthropods inside.
Amber is a fossilized resin of plant origin with yellow, orange and brown tonalities, although black, white, green, red and blue ones can also appear accurately. Its density is low, 2 to 2.5, and it depends on its origin. It has resinous luster that can vary from transparent to translucent and in some occasions opaque.
As already mentioned, amber is a fossil resin of plant origin consisting of organic molecules of terpene nature. The presence of succinic acid in its composition allows ambers to be divided, if fossils, those with succinic acid are succinites and those lacking this acid are retinites,. According bubbles inside, amber is classified as transparent with no bubble, and cloudy those with bubbles, and the latter, in turn, Osseous, Bastard and Succulent, depending on the number of bubbles per square millimeter and its size, being Osseous the variety with more bubbles, small size (0.0008 to 0.004 mm in diameter), while Succulent has very little presence of bubbles but bigger ones (> 0.02).
Amber is an amorphous substance that comes in various forms, highlighting the nodules or lumps. Its origin is from fossilized tree resin over of 200 species, all examples of conifers and angiosperms, and many of them now extinct. Its name comes from Arabic meaning what floats in the sea and centuries ago people believed it was a special stone with magical properties. One of the most striking aspects of amber is inclusions carried inside. Up to 150 different species have been identified in the plant kingdom, whereas over 200 arthropods have been identified in the animal kingdom. In addition, shells, organic debris, and others may appear.
Arthropods and insects found in amber help, in many cases, to know whether it is original or fake. The insects trapped by amber tried by all means, to escape from the resin to resume their normal life, hence they always appear twisted or in unnatural positions. On the contrary, insects in fake stones come out in a state of pose, showing that it is man-made pieces and unnatural. Amber has a minimum age of 17 million years, being so called younger resins Copal, Kauri Gum and Dammar and the Copal is the best known in the market. One way to differentiate them from amber is the smell released after being rubbed, being totally characteristic and distinctive resinous smell of amber.
Other distinguishing issue among amber, young resins and fake ones is the response to UV light, specific weight, solubility in certain substances and the reaction when being touched with a hot punch, etc.
Real ambers are found in various parts of the world, being the best known the one in the Baltic. There are in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Poland and Russia. In Dominican Republic they are abundant highlighting the bluish and greenish ones, which acquire astronomical prices, although the most common go from pale yellow to brown tonality. Myanmar, Romania, Mexico, Spain, Canada and Italy are also countries where they appear frequently. The Dominican Republic’s amber is found primarily in the Northern Cordillera (North and South districts) between Santiago and Puerto Plata, knowing the latter locality as the Amber Coast due to huge amounts of this resin present in its environment. The pieces belonging to Dominican Republic stand out, as mentioned above, for its different tonalities, blue and green specifically, and the strangeness of its inclusions, where sometimes you can see scorpions, lizards and frogs.
Tags: Fauna and Flora