A Bug's Life - Insects from the Age of Dinosaurs Trapped in Baltic Amber

November 07, 2016

A Bug's Life - Insects from the Age of Dinosaurs Trapped in Baltic Amber

Do you like unique jewellery?

If so, you have probably already been drawn to amber.

The most unusual pieces include insects, or very rarely animals, who were unlucky enough to become trapped in the sticky tree resin millions of years ago.  Insects are often accompanied by plant material, including seeds or blossoms, which may assist with identifying the region where the original tree was growing. The insect has been entombed for millions of years and protected by the amber.

Amber has been an invaluable source of information on ancient plant and insect species, offering a window on the distant past. It is very rare to find authentic Baltic amber with insect inclusions suitable to be fashioned into a piece of jewellery. In some cases the piece of amber may be too fractured or opaque to view the insect, or the amber has been damaged over the passing of millions of years.

Fakes and forgeries!

Unfortunately, there are many fakes and forgeries available on the market. Be wary of pendants with a large or "perfect looking" insect in the middle. Unscrupulous dealers have been adding modern insects to synthetic resins or copal (young amber). Remember these insects are millions of years old and would have struggled to escape their sticky prison! Genuine insects are typically a few millimetres in size. Animals and large insects in amber are very rare and would be priced accordingly.

Most gemstones are facetted to maximise their optical effects (e.g. the lustre of diamond). Amber is different. It is usually polished to showcase its unique inclusions, including insects, making every piece different.

Check out our range of Baltic Amber with insects and sterling silver settings. We include a gemmologist's loupe (magnifier) so you can explore your piece!

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