The history of amber
Amber has long been seen to have a mystical property with the capability of protecting the one who wore it. The use for this was especially common in ancient Egypt and Greece. To give a protective object even more power, it was typically made out of amber. It was not only seen as property to ward off misfortune, it was also thought to have healing powers.
The healing powers were believed to be specifically connected to the tonsils, mouth, and throat, as well as some mental disorders and bladder problems.
There were times when amber was even ground up and mixed with rose oil and honey to treat common ear and eye infections. While this may seem far-fetched to some, there may be some truth in amber’s healing properties. Amber is a natural substance that contains succinic acid, which was used in medicine prior to the use of antibiotics. The ancient beliefs in its healing powers may not be quite as fanciful as some may think.
Many believe that Amber is a powerful healer and cleanser of the body, mind and spirit. It also cleanses the environment. Amber draws disease from the body, healing and renewing the nervous system and balancing the right and left parts of the brain. It absorbs pain and negative energy, helping to alleviate stress. Amber clears depression, stimulates the intellect and promotes self-confidence and creative self-expression. It encourages decision-making, spontaneity and brings wisdom, balance and patience.
Amber opens the throat centre, treating goiters and other throat problems. It also treats stomach, spleen, kidneys, bladder, liver and gallbladder. Amber strengthens the mucus membranes and alleviates joint problems.
Artifacts made from amber have been found in Stone Age and Bronze Age sites, and testing on it has shown that it largely came from the Baltic area. Amber beads found on a Bronze Age shipwreck also indicate the trade of amber in this time period.
Since it was traded and rare in the Near East, amber was largely reserved for and became a symbol of royal power and status in this area. Priests also wore amber as a mark of distinction. Amber was an even rarer find in ancient Egypt, but amber beaded jewelry and rings have been found in several of the tombs there.
Amber goods are a common feature of ancient Greek art, but by the Classical Period, the material seems to have gone out of fashion. The Romans later ensured that amber made a comeback across the Mediterranean, making it prized and fashionable again by importing it via the rivers of Germania. Largely worn by Roman women, its protective qualities were not forgotten. Gladiators also made sure to have pieces attached to their fighting nets!
In the Medieval period, the Armenians became the new champions of amber, and helped ensure that its far-reaching trade and incorporation into fine decorative pieces continued into modern times.