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Gem of the Month

Gem of the Month is a regular feature of "THE COTTAGE"




With an energy like liquid sunshine, amber is the fossilized resin of pine trees. Amber is said to enhance the beauty of the wearer. It can be used to invoke solar powers such as wealth, success, attraction, vitality, joy or to add energetic power to your workings.
SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION: Amber is not a true stone. It is fossilized resin of coniferous trees of the Oligoncene geological epoch, some thirty million years ago. It varies in color from pale yellow to dark brown, although some specimens have been found that are red. Amber is famous for containing insects and small animals of various kinds as well as leaves, bark and other contemporary detritus which became stuck and enclosed in the resin while it was still liquid. It is sometimes also called succinite. Amber is a very soft stone, with a hardness of 2 to 2-1/2.

ENVIRONMENT: The trees that exuded the resin for Baltic amber grew in what is now central and south-eastern Sweden. From there, it was carried by rivers and the sea to the present site.

OCCURRENCE: The most prolific source of amber is the Baltic seacoast to the north and west of a town now known a Kaliningrad in the USSR. Small deposits have been found in the Dominican Republic.

NAME: The name is derived from the Arabic. Succinite is from the Latin [succus], meaning "juice". The ancient Greeks called it [elektron].

LEGEND and LORE: The ancient Greeks were the first to record information about amber's "electrical" properties. If it is rubbed with a piece of silk, it will attract dust and ashes. Because of the inclusions of insects and small animals, it was often thought to contain the essence of life.

MAGICAL PROPERTIES: Amber has always been associated with magic. It is a favorite protective and enhancing stone of Wiccans and Shamans. It is a sensual, (amber is warm to the touch,) magnetic stone that attracts love.

HEALING: In ancient times, amber was burned to cleanse the air, especially during childbirth. It was also thought to improve eyesight by gazing into it.

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: Touching amber is soothing to the nerves. Stones of the pale/bright yellow type are good "all-healers", since they represent the energy of the Sun. I use them at the Solar Plexus, which is the center of Chi in the body.

NOTES: Amber will float in a saturated salt solution (ten level teaspoonfuls of salt in a tumbler of water). Plastic will not.

Ambergris, which is much used in perfumery, is totally different in appearance and is not even distantly related to amber.

I discourage people from burning amber, although it will create a rather pleasant odor. Amber, like all fossils/fossil fuels is NOT a renewable resource.


1. Scientific, Environment, Occurrence and Name are from (or paraphrased from) "Gemstones" by E. H. Rutland.

2. Legends and Lore, Magical Properties are from "Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic", by Scott Cunningham.

3. Some of the healing information may come from "Color and Crystals, A Journey Through the Chakras" by Joy Gardner.

4. Personal Experience is from MY personal experience, journals and notebooks, by Tandika Star.