Amber is a mineral with a hardness of 2 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness [?]. These Amorphously structured gems are made of organic resin, their full chemical compound being C10H16O.
Amber is one of the few organic gemstones that exist. Amber is made when tree resin is fossilized. Most people I speak with directly think that its sap, but this is not the case. The word sap and resin are used almost interchangeably but there are a few differences. Sap is the sugar and water mixture found in trees, while resin is the liquid that oozes from cuts in the trees outer shell.
Due to its wide availability most amber gems are fairly affordable, unless you can find one with an inclusion of something like and ant or other bug.
When many people think of amber they think of the Mosquito trapped in amber in the movie Jurasic Park. While the movie itself was fiction the inclusion of such insects is not.
Caution when attempting to buy quality amber as only 15% of all amber is clean enough to sell as is. The rest is processed and made into Ambroid, and its very hard to tell the difference. So make sure you are buying Amber, and not Ambroid.
The word Amber comes from the Arabic/Aramaic word anbar. Amber has been associated in the past with the Greek god of the sun Helios.
Amber from the Baltics has been traded on the Amber road since antiquity
Baltic Amber has been called the gold of the north, and is assumed to be one of the earliest known gems used for trading.