From the old times resin fossil called amber was found in the Baltic and North Sea coasts. The main properties of them then were amber’s color, clarity and inflammability. For a long time resin which had those properties was called amber.
Mineralogists originally considered amber a mineral, indicating its unique feature – ability to burn. Later they followed a genetic point of view – its plant origin. However many mineralogists even now believe that a mineral should not be of organic origin. Recently scientists have agreed that the most important chemical property of amber is its acid. This property separates amber from other fossil resin.
Present Kaliningrad region has the largest quantity amber mines. Here about 90% of amber is dug up worldwide. Amber is not only found in the coast of the Baltic Sea but also it is found in Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Denmark, and southern Sweden.
One of the amber resin fossil types found in Sicily is called simetitas. It has many colors such as dark red ruby color, red-yellow pomegranate, blue, green, brown color.
In Romania, the Carpathians, Bukovin, Galicia, Wallachian rumenitas is found and its chemical properties are similar to Baltic amber, however its color is different. Sometimes it is possible to find yellow rumenitas but it is typically beige, brown or grey. Occasionally dark rumenitas can also be found, that is why it is sometimes called “black amber”.
In Burmese and Indian areas dark brown fossil resin is found – birmitas. It is harder than Baltic amber and that is why it is more suitable for polishing. It is often not clear.
If we would take a look at other continents, fossil resin can be detected in Manchuria, Japan, Thailand, New Zealand, as well as in Africa (Sierra Leone, Congo, Zanzibar Islands), United States (New Jersey, Virginia), Canada (British Columbia), North Greenland, Mexico, Brazil and Guyana.
However the biggest fossil resin – the real amber mines are in the Baltic States. Here amber industry is most developed.