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Posted by on Oct 31, 2015 in TellMeWhy |

What Is Amber?

What Is Amber?

Amber is the fossil resin of ancient pine trees. On hot, prehistoric days, sticky pine resin oozed from trees and hardened in the air filling internal fissures, trapping debris such as seeds, leaves, feathers and insects.

Many years later the pine trees died and fell. The lumps of resin were buried in the earth, but they did not decay with the trees.

The resin lumps turned into fossils, called amber, becoming hard enough to be carved into beads and other ornaments. Millions of years later the pieces of amber washed up on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Amber is still found there today, sometimes washed up by waves after a storm.

The origins of Baltic amber are associated with the Lithuanian legend about Juratė, the queen of the sea, who fell in love with Kastytis, a fisherman.

According to one of the versions, her jealous father punished his daughter by destroying her amber palace and changing her into sea foam. The pieces of the Juratė’s palace can still be found on the Baltic shore.

Content for this question contributed by Heather Resch, resident of Linden, southeastern Union County, New Jersey, USA