Amber is the common name for fossil resin. It occurs in different colours, and is widely used for making jewellery and other ornaments. Although not mineralized, amber is sometimes considered as a gemstone. Amber is formed from sap coming out of certain trees. The sap soon becomes a sticky gum and fossilises as amber. The amber can look different depending on its origin, and its later geological history. To end up as amber, the starting resin must resist decay. Many trees produce resin, but usually it is broken down by physical and biological process.
Talking about the history of amber is redundant. Amber is history itself. Most of the world’s amber is in the range of 30–90 million years old. Semi-fossilized resin or sub-fossil amber is called copal. Baltic amber was called ‘Freya’s tears’ by the Norse and the ‘tears of the Heliades’ by the ancient Greeks. The Amber Road or Amber Way was a trading route going from upper Italy and through many more Northern countries. Amber Resin has been turned into coins, sculptures and amazing jewellery as far back as 11,000 B.C. The Aztecs and Mayans also carved amber works and used powdered amber as an incense. Aș for the amber essential oil, it is one of the oldest Essential Oils in the world, its’ use as a trading commodity dates back to 8000 BC. Amber has had various names down the centuries, which includes, ‘Sunstone’, ‘Stone of victory’, ‘Adornment of the daughters of Rome’, and ‘Gold of the North’. Its English name derives from Ancient Arabia where it was burnt as incense and was known as ‘Anbar’ or ‘Ambar’. It has been referenced as a “window to the past”.
Aside from medicinal applications, amber essential oil also has various cosmetic and domestic uses, owing to its pleasant aroma and versatility in different products. Amber essential oil is a popular addition to many perfumes and soaps. It may help with aiding a good night’s sleep, relieve muscle aches and treat skin conditions. Amber essential oil has a very warm, resinous scent with floral, citrus undertones. This fossilised resin is also known to have vanilla, smokey and leathery notes. In cosmetic purposes, amber essential oil is occasionally seen on the ingredient list, due to its powerful antibacterial properties, as well as the aroma that it typically takes on when combined with other oils, like sandalwood and frankincense.