Amber is fossilized resin of ancient extinct coniferous trees known for its natural beauty and magic qualities.
Amber was described by ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. In ancient times amber was often prized higher than jewels.
Amber can range in color from dark brown to a light almost clear lemon yellow. Most amber used in jewelry is from the region of the Baltic Sea
In old times people believed in magic and healing properties of amber. Thus Avicenna wrote in the early 11th century that amber cures many diseases, including stomach pains, abdominal cramps, fever, and fainting.
Since ancient times amber has been used to make jewelry and household items. In the 18th-19th century it was a popular decoration for such practical items as cigarette cases, ashtrays, boxes, chests, clocks. In St Petersburg you'll have a chance to visit the famous Amber room faced with amber panels.
During your tour to Moscow
you can find many elegant amber pieces of Jewelry. But how to distinguish fake amber from true amber?
First of all, beware of pieces that are too uniform or too perfect. A true piece of amber will most likely contain bubbles, inner layers, cracks .
You can touch the piece of amber with a heated pin or needle (Such test may be performed at the back of the object). The smell will tell you whether it's true wood resin or plastic. Amber smells sweet, piney and pleasant when burnt
Another possible test is to drop your piece of amber in salted water (1 part salt to 2 parts water). Plastic piece will sink while true amber will float.
Amber room in St Petersburg
Your Moscow guide
can give you more tips oh how and where to find amber during your tour.