Amber – organic stone is the congealed resin of coniferous trees that cover the areas of today’s northern and central Europe.
The species of these trees has not been recognized yet. Amber deposits of industrial importance are located in Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Germany.
Baltic amber, Ukrainian amber and Saxon amber belong to the same type of amber – succinite. The age of amber lumps lying in Poland is estimated at approx. 40-60 million years.
Millions of years ago, dense amber forests gave large quantities of resin to the ground, which after many physical and chemical transformations became amber. Then, with the current of streams and rivers, the nuggets flowed to the main estuaries, where they settled. Many such deposits are found in today’s northern Poland.
In lumps of amber we can find many traces from that era, including: plant and animal inclusions. Some of the forms are external dripstones, in which we will find the largest amounts of various types of inclusions. Amber is a source of information about the flora and fauna of that time. Researchers find plant parts in lumps, such as seeds, needles, leaves, twigs, flowers and fruits, thanks to which 215 plant species have already been marked.
More than 90% of animal inclusions are insects, the remaining part are mainly myriapoda and arachnids. The shape of natural forms of amber reflects damages that occurred in the trunks, branches or roots of trees.
Amber has become one of the crown witnesses to the history of our globe, and all thanks to thousands of relics of the world of animals and plants, which the flowing resin has trapped in themselves to show them us today. For insect researchers, this is a real feast. About 11,000 ants were found in the amber! And also double-winged insects – flies, bees, mosquitos.
Spiders, mites and many other invertebrates are also found in amber. Amber also gives us information about some of the activities of contemporary insects. Here is an ant carrying a larva. Death surprised it so suddenly that it did not manage to give up its weight. The female locust did not stop laying eggs, the copulating pair of mosquitoes did not manage to separate. The resin flooded a butterfly, just hatching from a pupa and a predatory hemipter. Examples of this kind are numerous. Such examples provide information not only about what lived in the amber forest, but also how these creatures lived. (Anna Pęczalska, Gold of the North, Katowice 1981, p. 49.)
Baltic amber is distinguished by a variation in the degree of transparency and color: from light yellow to white, bluish, green, beige and brown. Amber formed inside the trunks is generally opaque. The degree of transparency and the color of amber depend on the number and arrangement of gas bubbles in the mass of amber. The largest known lump of Baltic amber weighs 9,750 grams. It is a form made in the trunk of an amber tree, which was turned down during the glaciers pass. One can see it at the Museum of Natural History of the University of Humboldt in Berlin.