Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stonewise: Amber

banner amber
This is the original banner created for my first Myspace page. All of those pieces are mine, the photo was taken by Ardriana.

It's still April, which is my month (yes, all of it...), so for today's Stonewise, I want to look at the stone that intellectually is my favorite. I love it beyond reason, though it is not the same as with Rose Quartz. >.>

First we'll take a look at what Ardriana has to say:

Amber is fossilized tree sap. Colors are lemon yellow, honey gold, cognac, black, off white, green and blue (brzzt! Blue Amber?!? Why haven't I see this before?!?).

One quick Google search later and we have, Dominican Blue Amber, which is best seen against a black background (this is the same for Green Amber...without the background, light filters through the stone and you only see hints of the color inside).

Pretty cool, huh?

This stuff is rare, expensive and beautiful...should I ever be able to afford a real piece of this stuff...*le sigh* ^^ I was saying...

The oldest deposit discovered to date was found in 260 million year old Permian limestone in Russia's Ural Mountains near the Chekarda River. Triassic Amber from the Mesozoic Era tends to have a dark red hue and ranges from 240 to 208 million years old. Tertiary Amber comes form the Cenozoic Era and is much younger at 66-1.6 million years old (younger...LOL!) In the U.S. Mesozoic Amber can be found along the eastern coast. More than 1000 extinct species of insects have been identified in amber.

History: Amber took on great value and significance to, among others, the Assyrians, Egyptians, Etruscans, Phoenicians and the Greeks. Amber resin contains aromatic chemicals called terpenes which make them volatile, or flammable. Burning Amber as incense has been done for thousands of years.

Folklore: Stone Age man imbued Amber with supernatural properties and used it to wear and to worship. One myth surrounding the origin of Amber is givin to use by Ovid. when Phaeton, a son of Phoebus (the Sun) convinced his father to allow him to drive the chariot of the sun across the sky for a day, he drove to close to the earth, setting it on fire. To save the earth, Jupiter struck him out of the sky with his thunderbolt and he died. His mother and sister turned into poplar trees in their grief but it did not end their mourning him. Their tears, dried by the sun, turned to Amber.

Another ancient writer, Nicias, said that Amber was from the setting sun congealed in the Baltic Sea and cast up on the shore where, "the sun takes a bath in the sea". In Eastern Europe, it is said that honey from the mountains of Ajan was melted by the sun and solidified into Amber by the sea. The Chinese think that Amber is the petrification of the soul of the dead Tiger, and so think that it gives strength and courage. Sacred to the Goddess Freya, who possessed the magic Amber necklace "Brisingamen". Emblem of the earth goddess. It is one of the two organic fossil stones (the other being Jet) used in a Wiccan High Priestess' necklace of rank.

Magick: The nature of Amber is tree bearing, organic, sun ruled, intellectual, liquid, flammable and attractive. Despite its yellow color and although influenced by its Solar affinities, Amber is an earth stone, a gift from ancient trees. (Pagan author Scott Cunningham says it's a fire stone due to its flammable quality and because it is yellow it is often called an air stone.)

Use this "Tiger blood" stone for courage and strength. Or choose the "Sun blessed" aspect of these honey stones to enhance beauty. When placed on the altar, it increases the effectiveness of your spells. because of its "electrostatic" attributes, use to increase attractiveness, both physically and intellectually. "The blood of the sun" aspect imbues the stone as both a good fortune and protective amulet. With Amber's ancient organic perspective, perhaps it can warm a cool heart and help one find joy and humor in life.

Woah...that's a lot of stuff...

How I use it in my jewelry...right now I use it mostly in my Sunset Anklet, which is three colors of Amber and two colors of Tiger's Eye. I do have plans to make a Sun design to compliment the Moon one I already have, mebbe in the next week or so, since I think I finally have the stones I want to use...

It's strange how I love Amber for it's organic metamorphosis (I love Petrified Wood for the same reason), but I have totally internalized the Sun qualities of the stone. In fact, I mostly don't care for Amber set in silver, as it is the lunar metal, and prefer it to be set in gold (one of the few times where my taste in jewelry gets expensive >.>). Liquid drops of the sun, crystallized fire...strength, beauty, the magick of transformation, these are the attributes I see the most when I think about Amber.

I love how light it is, and how it has a "plastic-y" feel to it, so unique in the stone world. I love that it is smooth, though always just a little bit tacky, like it's solidified honey, and with enough warmth it'll flow between your hands. When I discovered cognac Amber, I just about died, I thought the deep red wine color was so beautiful. It's still my favorite, though I have come to love all Amber to some degree or another. I love that green (and blue apparently) Amber has a magic trick to it to see the real colors (this is why you'll find green Amber with a coating of black on the backs of cabochons).

Despite how light it is, you can feel the weight of the years and history behind Amber, it's set apart from other semi-precious stones because of it. All of these things add up to make Amber one of my favorite stones of all time. In the first pic in this piece, there's a large nugget in the center. I got that at the New Pioneer, in West Yellowstone, MT, and after Richard let me take it out of the display case, I held it in my left hand, against my waist, while I looked at other stuff in the store. Even when I was going through the big tumbled stone bin, I did it one handed because I couldn't let go of the Amber. I growled at people who wanted to see it (jokingly...yeah... >.>) and didn't let it out of my sight till I had a receipt that said it was mine.

I do have to confess that I am still a bit snobby about Amber, and prefer the more clear pieces. I'm actually not a huge fan of the milky pieces, and I would rather not have a ton of the "sun spangles". The clarity of the color is what draws me to it.

Well, thank you for wading all the way through this long post. Amber isn't a stone you can just say a few words about, and I probably haven't even done it justice. But hopefully you still understand a little more about why I do what I do.

Till next time, be well,

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