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Baltic Amber

Perhaps the world’s richest and certainly the most famous source of amber are the shores of the Baltic Sea. Especially abundant is the area surrounding the Samland Peninsula, currently on the territory of Kaliningrad, and the coasts of Poland and the Baltic republics, which together deliver about 90 percent of the amber found in Europe. The shores of other countries with access to the Baltic Sea contain Baltic amber in lesser amounts, and some has even been found stranded on the beaches of eastern England.

However, the amber washed up on the shores was merely a fraction of the greater abundance. As was later discovered, the richest source of amber lay on the very floor of the Baltic Sea, concentrated in the layer of so-called „blue earth“. This layer of earth was located about 16 feet below sea level. In the 19th century, the blue earth layer was tapped at the town of Palmnicken, later the site of the Palmnicken factory, a highly successful enterprise which went on to mine over one million pounds of amber in 1895. Most of the amber harvested there was fit for chemical processing only, but about 10 percent was of high quality and could be used for artistic purposes or contained valuable inclusions.

Apart from the Baltic amber deposits, other large stores of amber can be found in the Dominican Republic, Burma, Canada and the USA, though they differ greatly in terms of age, appearance and chemical composition.



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