Friday, January 11, 2008

The Art of Amber

Did you know that Amber has been found on the beaches of Far North Queensland, somewhere in the Cape York area?
Sorry I can't divulge the exact location, because it's a secret with the reason being that scientists want to study the inclusions.

According to a news report, huge chunks of it, some the size of footballs and up to Twenty million years old (not as old as Baltic Amber though) have been collected in the last few years, some 60kgs of wondrous resin and now stored in a drum. There is speculation that this Amber has come from up to 200 kms's away and is likely to be from the Kuari Pines of ancient rain forests.

This is the first real Amber to be found here, sure we have other versions like coal resin and so on, but the interesting thing is some of this Amber is actually coloured apart from pale Lemon and Yellow, as in, Blue, Red and Green. One of the most amazing pieces to be found is Red and glowing with the inclusion a Gold insect. By all reports just stunning!

Imagine finding fossils, insects, plant material or even flowers belonging to the Jurassic age. Imagine some of the bigger pieces holding a frog or lizard, apparently this is possible. There are pockets of air and water also captured by the resin, imagine reaching into the past to discover what the atmospheric conditions were of the day. Scientists will be able to ascertain the temperature, rainfall and various other conditions and with the ability to test DNA as we do today who knows what will turn up.

So what is Amber used for exactly? Most of us know that it features in jewellery, its also made into beads and is used to make cigar holders and the mouth pieces on pipes. Why? Apparently is has the inability to past on infection.

The majority of Amber comes from a region near the Baltic Sea, but it can also be found on the coast lines of Denmark and The Netherlands, some areas of England, as well as several other places in Europe. Its also been discovered on the islands of Java and Bali in Indonesia.

So with this Australian discovery about to be investigated further by paleontologists, can they discover the source of our Amber and what indeed does the future hold for the commercialisation of Amber here? I can't wait to find out more.

Picture: Alan Pryke, cropped by Bernie


Anonymous said...

Wow, that is really amazing, I thought amber only came in shades of gold/yellow. Wouldn't you love to get your hands on a piece, I know i would. Even to be able just to look at it.

Bernie said...

Yes indeed I would love to get my hands on a piece

The Beading Gem said...

I am fascinated with the find of amber in Australia! I hope you will continue to write about all the wonderful gemstones found downunder!

Bernie said...

Thanks Pearl,
I plan to tackle a few others in the near future.