From neolithic age amber is a important gemstone in industry. Amber is a fossilised tree resin.Amber can be made into number of objects, amber is used as an integrated ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as a jewellery.
There are five lasses of amber defined on basis of their chemical constituents because it originates as a soft,sticky tree resin, Amber sometimes contains animal and plant materials as inclusions.Amber occurring in coal is also called resinite, and the term ambrite is applied to that found specifically within NewZeland coal seams.
The word ‘amber’ was derived from the Middle Persian word ‘ambar’. It was originally used to describe a hardened waxy substance found within the intestines of sperm whales called ambergris. Ambergris is used in the production of fragrances because it has a very appealing aromatic smell. During the 14th century, the use of the term amber shifted from reference to ambergris to the gemstone. Amber and ambergris were often confused with one another because both can be found washed up on beach shores. The two are easily distinguished by density. Ambergris has a much lower density and floats in freshwater. Amber gemstones do not float in freshwater, but float in saltwater.
The formation process of amber begins with transformation of resin to coal. The transformation is triggered by high temperatures and pressure of overlying resinous sediments. The exposure to heat and pressure repels terpenes, which can cause deterioration and decay. Through time and resistance, the resin eventually hardens and becomes fossilised into amber. Many trees produce resin, but most will not actually produce amber. The tree resin must be very resilient and resistant to decay. The majority of resin deposits cannot handle prolonged exposure to sunlight, rain and extreme temperatures.