How to Make an Amber Fossil

How to Make an Amber Fossil

Amber is fossilized tree resin, which has been appreciated for its color and natural beauty since Neolithic times. Much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone, amber is made into a variety of decorative objects. Amber is used in jewelry. It has also been used as a healing agent in folk medicine.

There are five classes of amber, defined on the basis of their chemical constituents. Because it originates as a soft, sticky tree resin, amber sometimes contains animal and plant material as inclusions. Amber occurring in coal seams is also called resinite, and the term ambrite is applied to that found specifically within New Zealand coal seams.

An ant inside Baltic amber.

I will show you how to make one from resin (glue)

Things you’ll need: resin, hardener for the resin, a paper cup, and a specimen (like a sea shell, an ant or a piece of hair).20170522_150440

  1. Pour the resin into the cup (about ¼ of the cup).
  2. Put the specimen (I used a beetle) into the cup with resin in the middle.20170522_151246
  3. Pour the hardener into the cup and mix, make sure the specimen is in the middle.
  4. Wait for 24 hours and wash your hands.20170523_123508The color depends on a different resin. Mine is light yellow.

Formation of amber: Molecular polymerization, resulting from high pressures and temperatures produced by overlying sediment, transforms the resin first into copal. Sustained heat and pressure drives off terpenes and results in the formation of amber.

For this to happen, the resin must be resistant to decay. Many trees produce resin, but in the majority of cases this deposit is broken down by physical and biological processes. Exposure to sunlight, rain, microorganisms (such as bacteria and fungi), and extreme temperatures tends to disintegrate resin. For resin to survive long enough to become amber, it must be resistant to such forces or be produced under conditions that exclude them.

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