5 July 2013

Amazing Amber

We were lucky enough to be in Edinburgh last weekend and managed to see an exhibition about amber at the National Museum of Scotland.  It inspired us to write a blog post about amber pieces on offer at Grays.

Largest piece of amber in the world on display at the Amazing Amber Exhibition in Edinburgh
 Amber is an incredible natural material.  It is made from resin secreted by trees used to offer protection from damaging insects. The resin slowly oozes out from the bark and pieces fall to the ground and get lost in the soil and earth.  Millions of years pass and slowly the resin fossilizes and becomes stone-like, forming pieces of amber.  Sometimes the resin can trap insects or plant matter, these are known as inclusions.
Baltic amber ring with insect inclusion. Offered by Amber Fortuna
Amber can be found all over the world and the colour and consistency changes depending on the location and climate.  Most amber comes from the Baltic region in Northern Europe and can sometimes be found washed up on the beaches in the UK!
Variations in amber colours

Amber has been used in jewellery and decorative objects for thousands of years. For centuries amber was considered a expensive luxury commodity and available only to the very wealthy.  Many believed it to have medicinal properties and it was sometimes used in amulets to ward off illnesses and afflictions.
At Grays Amber can be found in a multitude of different types of objects and from a diverse range of cultures.  Here are some of our favourite pieces:
19th century Chinese amber carving of a man. Offered by Wheatley Antiques.

Victorian 18ct gold earrings mounted with amber. Offered by Michele Payne.

Hallmark Antiques offer a selection of antique amber beads.

 A Skonvirke silver brooch set with three red amber drops by Evald Nielsen. Offered by Van Den Bosch

Tibetan amber necklace. Offered by Tribal Tent
A Scandinavian Pewter Cup & Cover inset with Amber from the Baltic Region, c1900. Offered by Sheldon Shapiro.

 Many more stunning pieces are available at Grays.  Come and visit from Monday - Friday 10am-6pm.  Many dealers are also open on Saturdays from 11am-5pm.

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