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Color and transparency of amber


Color and transparency of amber

The color of amber is quite rich - experts distinguish from 200 to 400 shades. The gem's palette contains almost all colors, any other mineral formation would envy such a property. If you want to view the entire assortment of amber products and see how the stones look in processed form, go to our ukrburshtyn.com website. If there is a need for the help of our managers, they will be happy to help with all questions.

In this spectrum of colors, yellow, golden yellow and golden orange are the absolute leaders. Such a color scheme contributed to the appearance of the concept of "amber color" ("amber-colored hair, "... honey", "... fruits"). Thanks to the warm tones of the stone and its ability to emit a warming light, amber was awarded the epithet, "sun stone".

Milk-white amber only seems so. In fact, it is also a yellow stone, just abundantly filled with small bubbles of moisture and air, "whitening" the yellowness. Since ancient times, this kind of light amber has been endowed with strong healing power.

The colors of "dragon's blood" - red and cherry - were especially revered in Japan and China. Only members of the ruling dynasty were honored to wear amber jewelry that absorbed the energy of the sun and resembled the color of precious rubies. The appearance of such a rare stone color is due to forest fires. Due to the strong heating of the soil, the frozen drops of amber changed their color.

The colors of rare blue specimens vary from soft blue to cornflower blue. For a long time, it was believed that such a strange color is due to small inclusions of the mineral vivianite, blue in color, but studies have shown that the unusual color is caused by the same microscopic voids, which, scattering the color, create the corresponding optical effect.

The color of amber depends on the primary components of the resin, the conditions of its burial, petrification, the presence of mechanical inclusions, and impurities. For a long time there was an opinion that the color of the gem depends on the type of tree, the resin of which later becomes amber. It affects the shade and amount of succinic acid in the stone. The smaller it is, the lighter it is.

Amber in purple, yellow, green, blue, and black colors are most popular with collectors. At the same time, the most valuable are blue and green.

Amber is transparent, like a tear

Transparency, purity and light penetration of amber determine its value, not only size, shape, color. Pliny the Elder said that the brilliance of the gem should be such that, looking at the stone, a person saw the reflection of fire, and not the fire itself.

According to the degree of transparency, the hardened resin goes from completely transparent, like ice, to opaque. Also, the degree of transparency depends on the presence of microvoids on the amber - bubbles of gas and moisture, the color of the mineral, various impurities and other factors. For example, transparent straw-yellow amber either does not contain bubbles, or they are so large that they practically do not affect transparency. In translucent samples, bubbles occupy up to 30% of the volume of the stone, in opaque samples - up to 50%.

Patterns, framing and value

White, ivory, cloudy, with traces of "frost pattern", with indistinct spots, algae - all this is created by bubbles of gas and moisture.

Put a piece of cloudy amber under a microscope, and you will see a lot of round voids and bubbles in it. The number of voids in 1 cubic millimeter of whitish amber is about six hundred. A completely opaque, bony stone has much more of them - 900 thousand. By analyzing gas bubbles, scientists learn the composition of the ancient atmosphere of our planet.

Patterned amber allows artists and jewelers to play with nature's stories in various amber jewelry: pendants, brooches, rings, bracelets and other accessories. All the beauty of such products is concentrated in the gem, and the successful framing of the precious metal only emphasizes the enchanting beauty of the radiated heat and light of the stone. Magical drawings, like picturesque paintings, are framed by an exquisite frame.

Translucent amber with blue and green tints has always been valued. In different historical eras, amber was valued in different ways. In ancient Rome, white and waxy amber was used for smoking, it was relatively inexpensive, but the transparent, red stone was expensive. At the beginning of our era, golden transparent stones refined by boiling in copper were especially valued. In our time, it is customary to consider high-quality amber those gems that have a lemon-yellow color and shine evenly throughout the entire mass of the stone.

Classification of amber

There are a wide variety of approaches to the systematization of a precious stone. They were used at different times by jewelers, gem merchants, gemmologists, paleontologists and other interested persons.

One of the modern classifications is based on the transparency of the stone, which depends on the presence of bubbles in the stone. According to this feature, amber is distinguished as transparent, translucent (cloudy), bastard (opaque, but shines through in thin chips) and foamy (opaque). Often, samples are observed where all these varieties are combined.

Based on the complex of properties, Ukrainian natural amber was divided into six types as early as the second half of the 19th century:
  • succinite - makes up about 98% of all Ukrainian amber; is the main raw material that is mined;
  • hedanite ("rotten amber") - slightly more than 2% of all stone production; the color ranges from yellow to dirty yellow; is rare;
  • stantinite - a rare brown-black amber;
  • beckerite - a rare brown, viscous amber;
  • kranzite ("unripe amber") - extremely rare, greenish shades, soft, elastic;
Glessite is a very rare red-brown amber.

Also, amber is conventionally divided into varieties (9 in total) depending on the color, transparency and polishing of the stone:
  • batter - a transparent gem with a characteristic amber shade from almost colorless to dark brown; highly valued due to its transparency and beautiful color; easily polished;
  • translucent (smoky) - the color varies from yellow to dark yellow, less often red, even less often blue; slightly cloudy, with transparent slits; easily polished;
  • bastard - characterized by a heterogeneous yellow color with dark spots and medium transparency; easily polished;
  • bone - opaque, white, few shades, similar to ivory; polished;
  • red - opaque; not polished;
  • layered - white; not polished;
  • foamy - does not look like amber in appearance; the structure resembles frozen foam; opaque, white; the most porous, respectively, the lightest variety of gem; not polished;
  • polluted - from gray to black; opaque; not polished;
  • opening - red, with a thick crust of oxidation; shines through; polishes poorly.

Despite the flawlessness of resin stones created by nature, craftsmen have tried to improve gems more than once. Transform the color scheme, make it completely transparent, get one or another effect. The ennobled mineral was valued more expensively, and it was used only for the most exquisite jewelry or other amber products.
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