Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Amber - Gold of the Baltic Sea

Amber (in Polish: "bursztyn") is a popular souvenir from Poland and makes the best gift ever!
Polish amber is unique and known all over the world. It comes in different colors: orange, brown, green and white. Bursztyn can be found all over the south coast of the Baltic Sea.
Fall and spring storms are the best time for amber collectors who take walks on the beach after the storm, looking for a "gold of the Baltic Sea". One of the popular methods is searching the beach at night by using flashlights. The light helps to spot amber that shines under the water and can be seen from a long distance.

Polish name bursztyn comes from German "bernstein" which means "burning stone". Burning amber produces an intensive aroma, and even Egyptian queen Cleopatra used it as an incense :)

The Baltic amber is a harden resin which originated 40 million years ago. The resin was produced most likely by pine trees which were located in the region where the Baltic Sea is today. This explains why there is lots of amber with insects in it. The resin became hard under cold water temperatures.

Polish legend
Our great grandfathers believed that there was a gold, amber palace on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, that belonged to the beautiful princess Jurata. She felt very lonely in her palace, and one day took a trip to the coast where she met a poor and handsome fisherman. Jurata fell in love with him. When the king of the Baltic Sea found out about it, he got very upset, threw lightning on the fisherman's boat and killed him. Seeing princess Jurata crying, the king threw another lightning on the amber palace and killed her. The amber palace broke into a million pieces. The storms would throw gold amber onto the beach to remind us of the tragic love and the anger of the king.

Natural medicine and amber
Amber has been also used in the natural medicine. It creates "friendly" negative ions and brings balance into our stressful life. Amber liquor is known for being a remedy for almost anything - flu, fever, migraines, stomachaches, heartaches, rheumatic pains, asthma, bronchitis and more... (yes, more!)
My favorite bracelet with amber
Amber jewelry makes a great gift and I am a huge fan of it myself. Besides jewelry, there many other souvenirs made of amber that are sold in the galleries, jewelry shops and gift shops across the country.
Some items might be pricey, but once you fall for amber your love will never end!

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