Dominican blue Amber, often classified as a semi-precious stone, is actually the fossilised resin from the Hamenaea Protera tree that grew around 30 - 40 million years ago on the island of Quisqueya (now Dominican Republic) and has now been extinct for millions of years.
Blue amber comes in an array of transparencies, commonly referred to as it’s turbidity. When Blue Amber is exposed to natural daylight on a white background, the light particles pass straight through and are reflected off the white background giving it the appearance of anything from normal yellow to a blue hue. If however the amber is placed on a dark or black background, the light particles don’t reflect off the black background, instead refracting directly off the actual amber itself. The result; the glorious blue glow which characterizes Dominican Blue Amber which is enhanced further especially in direct sunlight.
Although a number of studies have been carried out, it is not fully understood by science as to why Dominican Blue Amber displays this characteristic. According to one theory, it may be due to elements such as anthracene being present as a result of 'incomplete combustion' due to forest fires among the extinct species of Hymenaea Protera trees about 25 to 40 million years ago. Although, there is no conclusive proof that this is the actually the case.
Amber is extremely important to science as it provides the only truly accurate window into a past when exotic insects and other strange creatures roamed an ancient world, most of which have been extinct now for millions of years. Due to amber’s unique ability to embalm and perfectly preserve it’s prisoners, science has been afforded the possibility of observing past life in three dimensions and in complete detail without the need to expose them to the environment which would cause them to breakdown and spoil.
Contrary to popular belief, amber is not a product of tree sap, rather it is the result of tree resin which has very different properties. In fact even before becoming amber which can take anywhere from 20 to over 200 million years, it first takes on the form of copal which could be described as immature amber which still requires several million years to acquire the harder, tougher and more beautiful qualities of amber. This process is known as Polymerisation.
On Mohs scale, amber has a hardness of 2 - 2.5 (gold has a hardness of 2.5 - 3) depending on where it is mined and which particular mine it comes from.
The history of amber jewellery;
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