AMBER , a fossil
See also:resin much used for the manufacture of ornamental
See also:objects . The name comes from the Arab.
See also:anbar, probably through the
See also:Spanish, but this word referred originally to ambergris, which is an animal substance quite distinct from yellow amber . True amber has sometimes been called karabe, a word of
See also:oriental derivation signifying " that which attracts
See also:straw," in allusion to the power which amber possesses of acquiring an electric
See also:charge by
See also:friction . This
See also:property, first recorded by Thales of
See also:Miletus, suggested the word "
See also:electricity," from the Greek, AEKrpov, a name applied, however, not only to amber but also to an alloy of gold and
See also:silver . By Latin writers amber is variously called electrum, sucinum (succinum), and glaesum or glesum . The
See also:Hebrew hashmal seems to have been amber . Amber is not homogeneous in composition, but consists of several resinous bodies more or less soluble in
See also:ether and
See also:chloroform, associated with an insoluble bituminous substance . The
See also:average composition of amber leads to the general
See also:formula C1oH160 . Heated rather below 30o° C. amber suffers decomposition, yielding an " oil of amber," and leaving a black
See also:residue which is known as " amber colophony," or " amber pitch "; this forms, when dissolved in oil of
See also:turpentine or in
See also:linseed oil, "amber
See also:varnish " or " amber
See also:lac." True amber yields on dry
See also:distillation succinic acid, the
See also:pro-portion varying from about 3 to 8%, and being greatest in the
See also:pale opaque or " bony " varieties . The aromatic and irritating fumes emitted by burning amber are mainly due to this acid . True Baltic amber is distinguished by its yield of succinic acid, for many of the other fossil resins which are often termed amber contain either none of it, or only a very small proportion; hence the name " succinite" proposed by
See also:Professor J . D .
Dana, and now commonly used in scientific writings as a specific
See also:term for the real Prussian amber . Succinite has a hardness between 2 and 3, which is rather greater than that of many other fossil resins . Its specific gravity varies from 1.05 to 1.10 . The Baltic amber or succinite is found as irregular nodules in a marine glauconitic sand, known as " blue
See also:earth," occurring in the
See also:Lower Oligocene strata of
See also:Samland in East Prussia, where it is now systematically
See also:mined . It appears, however, to have been partly derived from yet earlier .
See also:Tertiary deposits (Eocene); and it occurs also as a derivative
See also:mineral in later formations, such as the
See also:drift .
See also:Relics of an abundant
See also:flora occur in association with the amber, suggesting relations with the flora of Eastern
See also:Asia and the
See also:part of
See also:America . H . R . Goppert named the
See also:common amber-yielding
See also:pine of the Baltic forests Pinites succinifer, but as the
See also:wood, according to some authorities, does not seem to differ from that of the existing genus it has been also called Pinus succinifera . It is improbable, however, that the production of amber was limited to a single
See also:species; and indeed a large number of conifers belonging to different genera are represented in the amber-flora . The resin contains, in addition to the beautifully preserved plant-structures, numerous remains of
See also:spiders, annelids, crustaceans and other small organisms which became enveloped while the exudation was fluid .
In most cases the organic structure has disappeared, leaving only a cavity, with perhaps a trace of chitin . Evenhair and feathers have occasionally been represented among the enclosures . Fragments of wood not infrequently occur, with the tissues well-preserved by impregnation with the resin; while leaves,
See also:flowers and fruits are occasionally found in marvellous perfection . Sometimes the amber retains the
See also:form of drops and stalactites, just as it exuded from the ducts and receptacles of the injured trees . The abnormal development of resin has been called " succinosis." Impurities are often
See also:present, especially when the resin dropped on to the ground, so that the material may be useless except for varnish-making, whence the impure amber is called firniss . Enclosures of
See also:pyrites may give a bluish
See also:colour to amber . The so-called " black amber " is only a kind of
See also:jet . " Bony amber " owes its cloudy opacity to minute bubbles in the interior of the resin . Although amber is found along the shores of a large part of the Baltic and the North
See also:Sea, the
See also:great amber-producing
See also:country is the promontory of Samland . Pieces of amber torn from the sea-
See also:floor are
See also:cast up by the waves, and collected at ebb-
See also:tide . Sometimes the searchers
See also:wade into the sea, furnished with nets at the end of long poles, by means of which they
See also:drag in the sea-
See also:weed containing entangled masses of amber; or they dredge from boats in shallow
See also:water and
See also:rake up amber from between the boulders .
See also:Divers have been employed to collect amber from the deeper
See also:waters .
Systematic dredging on a largescale was at one
See also:time carried on in the Kurisches Haff by Messrs Stantien and Becker, the great amber merchants of
See also:Konigsberg . At the present time extensive
See also:mining operations are conducted in quest of amber . The "
See also:pit amber " was formerly dug in open
See also:works, but is now also worked by underground galleries . The nodules from the " blue earth " have to be freed from
See also:matrix and divested of their opaque crust, which can be done in revolving barrels containing sand and water . The sea-worn amber has lost its crust, but has often acquired a dull rough
See also:surface by
See also:rolling in sand . Amber is extensively used for beads and other trivial ornaments, and for
See also:cigar-holders and the mouth-pieces of pipes . It is regarded by the
See also:Turks as specially valuable, inasmuch as it is said to be incapable of transmitting infection as the
See also:pipe passes from mouth to mouth . The variety most valued in the East is the pale straw-coloured, slightly cloudy amber . Some of the best qualities are sent to Vienna for the manufacture of smoking appliances . In working amber, it is turned on the
See also:lathe and polished with whitening and water or with rotten
See also:stone and oil, the final lustre being given by friction with
See also:flannel . During the working much electricity is
See also:developed . By gradually
See also:heating amber in an oil-bath it becomes soft and flexible .
Two pieces of amber may be
See also:united by smearing the surfaces with linseed oil, heating them, and then pressing them together while hot . Cloudy amber may be clarified in an oil-bath, as the oil fills the numerous pores to which the turbidity is due . Small fragments, formerly thrown away or used only for varnish, are now utilized on a large scale in the formation of " ambroid " or " pressed amber." The pieces are carefully heated with exclusion of air and then compressed into a
See also:uniform mass by intense
See also:hydraulic pressure; the softened amber being forced through holes in a
See also:plate . The product is extensively used for the production of cheap jewellery and articles for smoking . This pressed amber yields brilliant interference
See also:colours in polarized
See also:light . Amber,has often been imitated by other resinslike
See also:copal and kauri, as well as by celluloid and even
See also:glass . True amber is sometimes coloured artificially . Amber was much valued as an ornamental material in very early times .. It has been found in Mycenaean tombs; it is known from lake-dwellings in
See also:Switzerland, and it occurs with neolithic remains in Denmark, whilst in England it is found with interments of the
See also:bronze age . A remarkably
See also:cup turned in amber from a bronze-age
See also:barrow at
See also:Hove is now in the
See also:Brighton Museum . Beads of:amber occur with Anglo-Saxon relics in the south of England; and up to a comparatively
See also:period the material was valued as an
See also:amulet . It is still believed to possess certain medicinal virtue .
Rolled pieces of amber, usually small but occasionally of very large
See also:size, may be picked up on the east
See also:coast of England, having probably been washed up from deposits under the North Sea . Cromer is the best-known locality, but it occurs also on other parts of the Norfolk coast, as well as at Yarmouth, Southwold,
See also:Aldeburgh and
See also:Felixstowe in
See also:Suffolk, and as far south as Walton-on-the-Naze in
See also:Essex, whilst northwards it is not unknown in
See also:Yorkshire . On the other side of the North Sea, amber is found at various localities on the coast of
See also:Holland and Denmark . On the shores of the Baltic it occurs not only on the Prussian and Pomeranian coast but in the south of Sweden, in
See also:Bornholm and other islands, and in S . Finland . Amber has indeed a very wide distribution, extending over a large part of
See also:Europe and occurring as far east as the Urals . Some of the amber districts of the Baltic and North Sea were known in prehistoric times, and led to early
See also:trade with the south of Europe . Amber was carried to Olbia on the Black Sea, Massilia on the Mediterranean, and Hatria at the
See also:head of the Adriatic; and from these centres it was distributed over the Hellenic
See also:world . Whilst succinite is the common variety of
See also:European amber, the following varieties also occur: Gedanite, or " brittle amber," closely resembling succinite, but much more brittle, not quite so hard, with a lower melting-point and containing no succinic acid . It is often covered with a
See also:white powder easily removed by wiping . The name comes from Gedanum, the Latin name of
See also:Danzig . Stantienite, a brittle, deep brownish-black resin, destitute of succinic acid .
Beckerite, a rare amber in earthy-
See also:brown nodules, almost opaque, said to be related in properties to
See also:gutta-percha . Glessite, a nearly opaque brown resin, with numerous microscopic cavities and dusty enclosures, named from glesum, an old
See also:game for amber . Krantzite, a soft amber-like resin, found in the lignites of Saxony . Allingite, a fossil resin allied to succinite, from Switzerland . Roumanite, or Rumanian amber, a dark reddish resin, occurring with
See also:lignite in Tertiary deposits . The nodules are penetrated by cracks, but the material can be worked on the lathe .
See also:Sulphur is present to the extent of more than i o/o, whence the smell of sulphuretted hydrogen when the resin is heated . According to G . Murgoci the Rumanian amber is true succinite . Simetite, or Sicilian amber, takes its name from the
See also:river Simeto or Giaretta . It occurs in
See also:Miocene deposits and is also found washed up by the sea near
See also:Catania . This beautiful material presents a great diversity of tints, but a
See also:rich hyacinth red is common .
It is remarkable for its
See also:fluorescence, which in the opinion of some authorities adds to its beauty . Amber is also found in many localities in
See also:Emilia, especially near the sulphur-mines of
See also:Cesena . It has been conjectured that the
See also:Etruscan ornaments in amber were wrought in the
See also:Italian material, but it seems that amber from the Baltic reached the Etruscans at Hatria . It has even been supposed that amber passed from
See also:Sicily to northern Europe in early times—a sup-position said to receive some support from the fact that much of the amber dug up in Denmark is red; but it must not be forgotten that reddish amber is found also on the Baltic, though not being fashionable it is used rather for varnish-making than for ornaments . Moreover, yellow amber after long
See also:burial is
See also:apt to acquire a reddisn colour . The amber of Sicily seems not to have been recognized in ancient times, for it is not mentioned by
See also:local authorities like Diodorus Siculus . Burmite is the name under which the Burmese amber is now described . Until the
See also:British occupation of
See also:Burma but little was known as to its occurrence, though it had been worked for centuries and was highly valued by the natives and by the
See also:Chinese . It is found in
See also:flat rolled pieces, irregularly distributed through a blue
See also:clay probably of Miocene age . It occurs in the Hukawng valley, in the Nangotaimaw hills, where it is irregularly worked in shallow pits . The mines were visited some years ago by Dr Fritz Noetling, and the mineral has been described by Dr
See also:Otto Helm . The Burmese amber is yellow or reddish, some being of
See also:ruby tint, and like the Sicilian amber it is fluorescent .
Burmite and simetite agree also in being destitute of succinic acid . Most of the Burmese amber is worked at
See also:Mandalay into
See also:rosary-beads and ear-cylinders . Many other fossil resins more or less allied to amber have been described . Schraufitc is a reddish resin from the Carpathian
See also:sandstone, and it occurs with jet in the cretaceous rocks of the
See also:Lebanon; ambrite is a resin found in many of the coals of New Zealand;
See also:retinite occurs in the lignite of Bovey Tracey in Devonshire and elsewhere; whilst copaline has been found in the
See also:London clay of
See also:Highgate in North London . Chemawinite or cedarite is an amber-like resin from the Saskatchewan river in
See also:Canada . Amber and certain similar substances are found to a limited extent at several localities in the United States, as in the
See also:green-sand of New Jersey, but they have little or no economic value . A fluorescent amber is said, however, to occur in some abundance in Southern Mexico . Amber is recorded also from the Dominican Republic .
AMBATO, or ASIENTO DE AMBATO
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