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Juicy red colors of amber have not been delighting with its clarity and saturated color since today. Some people says that it looks like rubies, other that garnets — one thing is certain: jewelry with cherry amber looks very elegant. But why are they red? You will find the answer in this article!


The richness of the color varieties and the degrees of transparency of natural succinite make each of the stones different and unique – a mysterious amber with inclusions, contaminated with organic matter, or mosaic with pictures that resemble landscapes.
However, in Poland there is still a myth about the fact that amber is not a stone for young people, that jewelry with "Baltic Gold" can not be fashionable and modern. Fortunately, eminent Polish amber artists are refuting this myth with their unique modernist projects.

Producers – to attract clientele with an amber – make the nuggets more attractive by changing their color or the degree of transparency. Modifications are a response to the needs of the jewelry market. It is worth noting that they do not lower the value of amber, they only make it more attractive to recipients. The nuggets are visually prettier - more clear, with trolls or in intense colors not found in nature.

The most popular colored versions of amber resulting from the modification are red and cherry colors. The change in the color of succinite caused by human influence leads to the formation of amber known as "dyed".
The modification allowing to obtain a red amber color takes place in an autoclave - in a high temperature (up to 250 ° C) and pressure (25-40 atmospheres) conditions and in the presence of oxygen and mixed proportions of inert gases (nitrogen, noble gases), which are process inhibitors [1]. The change in color occurs due to the conditions prevailing in the autoclave on the surface of natural amber. If the modified body was previously pressed (reconstructed), then the change of color takes place in the entire volume of amber [1].

Amber beautifying treatments sometimes change its properties to a small extent (eg, loosing the smell after rubbing or their luminescence), however, it is still Baltic Amber [2].
The leading producer of jewelry with red amber is Progres run by Mr. Janusz Pawlik (company from Gdańsk, whose collections are available in Boruni Gallery on Grodzka Street 60 and at the Amber Museum on St. Jana Street 2.


Sources:

[1] Wagner-Wysiecka, E, 2018. Mid-infrared spectroscopy for characterization of Baltic amber (succinite, Spectrochimica Acta

[2] Kosmowska-Ceranowicz, B., 2012. Bursztyn w Polsce i na świecie. wydanie pierwsze red. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego.

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Storm of colors, Art Nouveau composition and elaborate decorations - just a few words about the collection dedicated to plant species devoted to the extinction from the Podlasie region prepared by the Bondarowski brand to celebrate the centenary of Poland's regaining of Independence.


The latest collection depicting Podlasie flora is a kind of tribute to Polish nature. In spite of presented species are "ours" they seem to be exotic because of the fairy-tale colors of enamel on a surface of silver, multicolored natural stones and unique fragments of amber intricately woven into product compositions.

The exhibition of jewellery inspired by the Podlasie flora was graced by the celebration of regaining Independence organized by the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Prague. The musical celebration of this important anniversary was a concert at the Czech National Philharmonic - Rudolfinum perfectly complementing the exhibition "Natural heritage of Podlasie - endangered species of animals and plants in  art". In this collection, next to the gold of the Baltic Sea, we meet a whole range of colourful stones: lemon quartz, amethyst, garnets, olivines and flickering moon stones.

Eliza and Krzysztof Bondaruk are an excellent duo of goldsmith artists. In their works, they use traditional jewellery techniques -  filigree and enamelware. This second decorative technique was used even by the most famous goldsmiths such as Benvenuto Cellini and Karl Faberge. A enamel  is a glassy surface obtained from powdered quartz mixed with metal oxides, which give it the color.

Until now, the artists in their products presented exotic flora and fauna as well as human figures carved in a crystal or amber. Nature is an endless source of inspiration for them. Many works decorate the sunny stones of Baltic amber, which undoubtedly inspire artists.

Podlasie treasures from the aforementioned collection are available in the collections of the Gallery on Św. Jana 2 Street (at Amber Museum) and Galeria Boruni at 60 Grodzka Street.

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Tips 05 Apr 2019

Amber Chariot

One of the folk tales says that the ambers are fossilized tears of Heliad, the sisters of Phaeton, who was the son of the Sun God. Harald Popkiewicz, inspired by mythical history and sunny stone, created a unique object that can be admired in our Museum.


Spring came to the Amber Museum, thanks to the solar chariot by Harald Popkiewicz.

"Chariot" was created in 2006. For 12 years he was a part of exhibition in the Amber Museum in Gdańsk. Now you can admire it in the Amber Museum in Cracow.

In times when it was not possible to explain scientifically the origin of amber, the bothering question were sought in religion and folk tales.

Greek mythology tries to explain the issue of the origin of amber in the myth of Phaeton, the mortal son of Helios and the sea nymph Klimene. Phaeton grew up in the kingdom of mortal Merops, her mother's husband. He doubted that the divine blood was flowing in his veins. To prove to himself that he is son of Helios, he asked him for one wish: he wanted to ride a solar chariot. Helios could not withdraw his word - he agreed to Phaeton's dangerous ride.

The son of the sun lacked the skill of driving the pegasus pulling chariot. In spite of his father's warnings he left the route marked on the blue vault - the horses were horrified by the Sagittarius's taut arc and were too close to the surface of the Earth, which threatened the fire of heaven and earth. Helios could not help his son, he did not want to expose himself to the wrath of other gods. To avoid the catastrophe, Zeus threw down Phaeton by a thunderbolt which is why the young mortal man fell into the Eridan River. His sisters, Heliada, lamented their brother on the bank of the mythical river until the gods took pity on them, turning them into poplars and their tears turn into amber drops.

The silver chariot is an elaborate fitting for the magnificent milk amber lump symbolizing the Sun. Inspirations for the creation of the car were given to the artist by his sons, who are archaeologists. Articles about ritual carts from the Bronze Age, discovered in northern Europe, inspiring the artist. The ox pulling a mythical cart was made of a piece of black oak found on the beach in Mikoszewo, then was impregnated with beeswax. The silhouette of an ox resembles rock paintings from thousands of years ago. Maybe this ox is a reference to the sacred cows living on Tryteria, the island of Helios mentioned in Homer's "Odyssey"?

Harald Popkiewicz is one of the most recognizable Polish jeweller. The natural shapes of succinite have been inspiring the artist to create interesting sculptures in silver and amber since 1973. Since the beginning of the 20th century, Eryk and Olaf Popkiewicz have shared the  passion of their father. You can learn more about the family fascination from the article: http://ambermuseum.eu/muzeum-bursztynu/co-mozna-zobaczyc/item/140-popkiewicz-rodzinna-fascynacja-bursztynem

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Inclusions in Baltic amber have always been treated in a special way. Currently, they are sought after, admired, valued. They are also the subject of scientific research. They should be treated with due respect, because they conceal a "life" from many millions of years ago.


Let's start with explaining what are the inclusions in Baltic amber? So, the inclusion in amber is called everything that got to it naturally, when 40 million years ago the resin was abundantly flowing from the trees. They are mainly plants and animals that lived in the amber forest, but not only. They can also be air bubbles, drops of water, dust, sand or pyrite crystals.

Ambers containing inclusions are extremely valuable and provide an invaluable source of information for paleontologists and paleobotanists. When conducting research on inclusions, you can reconstruct the composition of amber forests, identify insects and small animals. The age of inclusion is dated to the age of amber in which they have been preserved. Also noteworthy is the fact that completely different inclusions have been preserved in Baltic amber, others in Dominican or Lebanese amber, and still others in the Colombian copal. First of all, these differences result from the fact that plants or animals existing in the time of the creation of eg Lebanese amber died out until the birth of Baltic amber.

The animal inclusions dominate in the Baltic amber nuggets. First of all, insects are found whose size does not exceed one centimeter. Very rare insects are found. Based on many years of palaeontology research, we can certainly say that birds, reptiles and mammals lived in the burstsy forest. The proof of this are various inclusions, among others Mammal hair, lizards, snail shells or bird feathers. In amber lumps you can also find characteristic dents, which resemble the footprints of animals with their appearance.

Plant inclusions are quite rare and account for only about three percent of all organic inclusions found. Based on the found fragments of bark, wood, flowers and spores, leaves and needles, it was established that about 215 plant species lived in the amber forest. It is impossible to list all of them here, but for example they were sequoias, date palms, oaks, chestnuts, olive and cinnamon trees, maples, wild wine, ferns, grasses, tea bushes, mosses, lichens, fungi and many species of pinewood trees.

Amber inclusions enjoy great popularity, which is why amber with "life trails" achieve much higher prices. Hence? The most common phenomenon is the creation of "artificial" inclusions, from time immemorial, various animals with lizards, including crabs have been embedded in amber. It is a forgery, and the unconscious customer will buy everything. Most often these are inclusions embedded in plastic, but unfortunately there are also perfect counterfeits, more and more difficult to detect. For example, they can be properly crafted contemporary organisms immersed in pressed amber. How not to be deceived? How to protect yourself against this? If you want to buy inclusions, you should have minimal knowledge about amber and the inclusions themselves, and purchase in checked and recommended stores, requesting a certificate of authenticity.

If you want to get to know the subject of inclusion at least, and see for yourself fragments of the world from millions of years ago, we invite you to visit the Amber Museum in Krakow and the exhibition "Amber - its beauty and history". You're welcome!

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