Amber beads can be used for earrings, as pendants, in necklaces, bracelets, and rings, pins and brooches, charms, and body jewelry. The beads are lightweight and versatile, but are very soft (with a rating 2.5 on the Mohs scale) and therefore scratch easily. They must be stored carefully.
Country Beads sells smooth round, rectangle, and nugget amber beads by the 16 inch strand, prices ranging between $30 and $130.
Originating from the resin ancient pine trees, amber is considered organic jewelry, and is a naturally-occurring gemstone. Most amber is in the range of 30-90 million years old.
Amber is a soft material, occurring in all shapes, sizes, and colors which range from yellows, browns, oranges, to greys and white, greens and reds—even shades of blue and violet, though they are both very rare! The usual color is a warm, honey brown.
Transparency varies from clear to cloudy, and sometimes insects, earth, leaves, pine needles and other small plant and animal fossils are present in the amber. Opaque amber contains minute bubbles, giving it the nickname "bony amber".
Amber is found around the world, but mainly on the coast of the Baltic Sea and in the Dominican Republic. All Dominican amber is fluorescent. Blue amber is found only in the Dominican, and shows blue in natural sunlight and in any other partial or whole-UV light source. Under a black light, blue amber reflects almost white.
Amber has been used as jewellery for over 13,000 years, and is claimed to have healing properties, such as reducing fever, boosting the immune system, balancing the temperament of its wearer, improving eyesight, lessening the effects of depression or anxiety, and in treatment for asthma and teething babies. It also can serve as a good luck charm.
Amber is one of the birthstones listed for the astrological sign Taurus, April 20~May 21.