In the early nineties, when I first fell madly in love with Baltic Amber -- for its beauty, folklore, history and its intrinsic ties to my ancestral homeland, I was offered a lot of beautiful mossy green amber set in handworker sterling silver. I asked the seller if it could possibly be a real colour. Absolutely, the finest and the rarest amber of all.
Eyes wide open, I opted to purchase the entire lot on the spot. A few months later, at malls and flea markets across America I began to see this same fine, 'rare' amber in ever increasing quantities and at reasonable prices. How rare was green amber, I puzzled, if suddenly it was everywhere?
My beautiful green amber collection was indeed, quite beautiful. The Polish silverwork and original designs were quite beautiful. The amber, as I was to find out later, is treated either with a jeweler's paste on the back and then heated, or it is simply heated and set into a frame with a silver backing. Of course, the real methods are guarded, as are many secrets of the gem industry. Today green amber is accepted by the Amber Association in Poland simply as a variation of amber colour enhancement. Just as peridot, citrine, turquoise and most all gems are treated and stabilized to bring out luster and shine, the same treatments are used on amber.
Natural green amber is a mix of clear amber and a pale greenish-yellow tone. Generally it contains many, many inclusions of plant and earth hubris. These inclusions are large and the amber is beautiful and unusual. This type of amber is sometimes referred to as earth amber. It contains sediments and veritable gardens of organic materials. You'll know this amber, if you ever have an opportunity to see it, by
its distinct characteristics of dark inclusions and yellow-green colour. It does not look anything like the green amber on the market today. That is the real green amber.
Was I mad at the dealer who sold me the 'real' green amber? No, as it turns out later he was happy to explain the process and I learned a valuable lesson. Always purchase your amber from a source you can trust.
Green amber also came to the forefront in the mid-nineties at a time when the amber industry in Poland was flagging. It is my opinion that green amber was created as a new variation to create interest. The amber industry, under communism, was not a source of joy for the Poles, but rather a job that saw their fruits of labor leave the country labeled 'Made in the USSR'. At present, majority of amber comes from Poland, Lithuania and a region of Kaliningrad (Koenigsburg) which is a part of today Russia. When Poland broke away from Soviet system, many little private amber firms were founded, and the art of amber returned. Green amber excited the marketplace and placed amber once again as a fashion - forward gemstone. Not only that, but it allowed us in the industry to focus on all the colour variations in amber, both enhanced and natural.