History of Ancient Amber Road: Europe's Most Precious Trade Route

History of Ancient Amber Road: Europe's Most Precious Trade Route

The trail started at the Adriatic Sea, from where the Celts and then Roman middlemen set off on expeditions looking for the precious metal to the Baltic countries. The trail ended in the vicinity of present-day St. Petersburg, which, of course, was not there yet. Venetian merchants grew rich by trading amber as early as the 5th century BCE. They were traveling deep into Europe for the precious amber but did not reach the Baltic Sea (they simply bought it from the Celts). The Romans began reaching the Baltic coast on their own in the 1st century AD.

Merchants from the Roman Empire traversed Europe northwards, through what is now Slovenia, then along the present-day border between Hungary and Austria, and through the Czech Republic they reached Poland. The trail led through Kłodzko, Wrocław, Milicz, Kalisz and Malbork to Gdańsk. However, the trail did not end here, and merchants traveling along the Baltic coast reached Sambia, the Baltic region in Prussia (today in the Kaliningrad Oblast), and further to the area of today's St. Petersburg.

Amber Deposit from Partynice

In 1906 and 1936, the largest amber accumulations were found in Wrocław, and more specifically in the Partynice county. They were about 1200-1760 kg and came from the 1st century AD. The first treasure was found during the construction of the hippodrome, today it is the site of the Partynice Horse Racing Track in Wrocław. The next two finds were dug up in the interwar period during the construction of roads connecting the A4 highway with the downtown (today Karkonoska Street).

Where do the discrepancies in the estimated weight of the amber found come from? Some of the treasures were stolen right away. Most of them, however, ended up in the museum. Unfortunately, it did not survive the war, it was destroyed during the siege of Festung Breslau in 1945. Until today, the Archaeological Museum exhibits several kilograms of preserved amber.

Amber Gemstone is an Organic gem, once-living organisms & biological processes, containing plant fragments creating a fascinating time capsule.

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Interesting Facts about the  Amber Road

The discovery of amber in Partynice was undeniable evidence of the amber trail through Wrocław. Interestingly, the exact course of the road has not been determined so far. Historians do not have evidence of the location of exact routes between cities from those days.

To commemorate the road, the Polish A1 Road was called the Amber Highway. Its course does not reflect the course of the amber trail but is a symbolic pattern of the journey of Venetian merchants from the south to the north and back.

Amber Stone Chamber

We will also mention the Amber Chamber. Of course, the monumental masterpiece created since 1701 has nothing to do with the trail itself, but the chamber was exhibited on its route, in Kaliningrad. After 11 years of meticulous construction, the chamber was exhibited in the Frederick I Hohenzollern palace near Berlin, and then in Tsarskoye Selo near St. Petersburg (as a gift to Tsar Peter I). In 1942, the decor was stolen by the Germans and transported to Kaliningrad. In 1944 it was packed back into crates. The chamber was irretrievably lost.

History of Amber: Amber Stone Meaning 

Amber's meaning dates back several thousand years and many different cultures have claimed ownership of the gem. The stone has accumulated its fair share of mystical properties. While the most popular meaning for the stone is associated with Asian cultures, it has also been given to travellers to protect them on their long journeys.

Sometimes referred to as 'grief relief gems,' amber is revered for its ability to draw pain and dis-ease away from the body, mind, spirit, by absorbing negative or stagnant energies and converting them into clear, positive energy. This intensifies the body's own mechanisms to heal itself. It relieves vitality and aids tissue regeneration.Amber emits a bright, soothing energy, which helps for health or convalescence, ameliorates depression, or working through the grieving process. Amber also provides a protective shield against negative energies by emitting light through it to protect one from toxicity in their life.

Although amber is commonly referred to as fossilized resin, it is not a fossil in the strict sense. Most fossils are caught when plant or animal matter is buried in the ground. Over time, this organic material gets replaced with a more mineral-dense material. In contrast, amber’s organic elements haven’t been replaced. Instead, the amount of resin carbon has been changed into a newer polymer called “ammonium lignin sulfonate."

Historical evidence exists that people have known amber's origins for over 12,000 years, since beyond 100 AD. The journey of this encapsulated gem has spanned the globe. From being used by royalty to make perfume, luxury for clothing, to medical treatment, they have most likely found everything. At one point it becomes the heart-breaking hammer of Ancient Egyptians.

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Natural Amber Stone: Preserver of Historic Life

The highest values go to those pieces with clearly visible insect inclusions , light colors, and clarity. Inclusions of plant material, while of great interest to scientists, add little to the value of jewelry. These inclusions are often too small to be recognized easily). Very large amber pieces are extremely rare. Good quality material is seldom used for anything but jewelry.

Amber sometimes contains animals or plant matter that became caught in the resin as it was secreted. Insects, spiders and even their webs, annelids, frogs, crustaceans, bacteria and amoebae , marine microfossils, wood, flowers and fruit, hair, feathers and other small organisms have been recovered in Cretaceous ambers (deposited c. 130 million years ago ).

The preservation of prehistoric organisms in amber forms a key plot point in Michael Crichton 's 1990 novel Jurassic Park and the 1993 movie adaptation by Steven Spielberg . In the story, scientists are able to extract the preserved blood of dinosaurs from prehistoric mosquitoes trapped in amber, from which they genetically clone living dinosaurs. Scientifically this is as yet impossible, since no amber with fossilized mosquitoes has ever yielded preserved blood. Amber is, however, conducive to preserving DNA , since it dehydrates and thus stabilizes organisms trapped inside. One projection in 1999 estimated that DNA trapped in amber could last up to 100 million years, far beyond most estimates of around 1 million years in the most ideal conditions, although a later 2013 study was unable to extract DNA from insects trapped in much more recent Holocene copal .

Amber Stone Benefits

Amber has long been used in folk medicine for its purported healing properties. Amber and extracts were used from the time of Hippocrates in ancient Greece for a wide variety of treatments through the Middle Ages and up until the early twentieth century. Traditional Chinese medicine uses amber to "tranquilize the mind".

Amber is a natural purifier, appreciated for its ability to turn negative energy into positive energy and make the body healthier. It removes pain and other physical discomforts from your body, mind, and spirit by absorbing those energies cleanly and transforming them to create clear energy that can keep your body nourished. Amber stimulates various aspects of the body's natural healing ability, such as tissue regeneration and it can even help alleviate bad energy in an entire environment because it will absorb those troublesome energies as well. Amber emits calming light, is perfect for convalescence, relieves depression, helps with grieving, protects life from toxicity.

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How Can You Tell Good Quality Amber?

When evaluating the amber stone jewelry, there are plenty of ways to determine whether or not your amber crystal is of good quality. For one, looking at the color of the amber stone will give you a good indication of how old or valuable it is on the scale. The darker and richer the colour, the higher the quality of the amber.

To test the authenticity of amber stones, drip acetone nail polish onto a sample piece. If it turns the liquid the colour of amber or gets gooey, it's likely fake. Acetone won’t harm authentic amber.

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