Red Amber - Natural Rare Red Variety of Amber

Red amber is a rare and highly prized variety of amber. It is found in only a few locations in the world, including the Baltic Sea region, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic.

 Red amber is formed from the fossilized resin of ancient trees. The resin was produced by the trees as a defense mechanism against insects and other pests. Over millions of years, the resin was buried underground and subjected to heat and pressure. This process caused the resin to harden and transform into amber.

Amber is fossilized tree resin used for jewelry, decoration, medicine, and perfume. Specimens with inclusions of insects and plants are of great scientific significance and highly esteemed by collectors.

The oldest amber recovered dates to the Upper Carboniferous period (320 million years ago).

Natural red amber shade is especially rare. Red shades can vary from orange to dark red. Red amber was formed when the amber stayed in the air for a long time: oxidation process, heat of the sun, fire in the forest. 

Red Amber: Natural Rare Red Variety of Amber
Red Amber: Natural Rare Red Variety of Amber. 
Photo: PrimeStoneIndonesia

Natural oxidation takes place in the air and the amber interacts with oxygen and changes its colour step by step. Transparent amber becomes more red; yellow and other colours become more concentrated. This is very long process: change in the shades of colour could be noticed only after 50-70 years. “Old” amber is highly valued because of its “maturity“ and has its time patina. 

Red colour of amber is mostly obtained artificially by heating transparent amber (oxidizing it), but heated amber loses its natural properties.

Red amber named “dragon’s blood” was widely featured in Shosoin treasures found in Japan. It was highly valuable for both its rarity and mystical, divine powers.

Red amber is the rarest color of amber.

Red Amber
Natural Red Amber

Red Amber Properties

Composition: Primarily fossilized resin from extinct conifer trees, containing organic compounds like succinic acid, terpenoids, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Trace elements and inclusions can also be present.

Color: Varies from light reddish-orange to deep cherry red, depending on the type (natural or treated) and formation process. Naturally red amber can show subtle variations and inclusions, while treated amber might have a more uniform red hue.

Luster: Resinous, vitreous.

Streak: White or pale yellow.

Hardness: 2-3 Mohs scale.

Cleavage: None.

Density: 1.05 - 1.10 g/cm³

Transparency: Can range from transparent to opaque, with translucent specimens being more common.

Fracture: Conchoidal.

Specific Gravity: 1.05 - 1.10

Fluorescence: Can exhibit weak fluorescence under UV light, ranging from blue-white to green-yellow depending on the type and composition.

Refractive Index: 1.540 - 1.545

Inclusions: Can contain air bubbles, plant material, insects, and other organic matter.

Rarity: Generally rarer than typical yellow amber due to the extended formation process or the scarcity of red-hued resins.

Value: Considered more valuable than yellow amber due to its rarity and unique color.


Red Amber
Red Amber

Red amber continues to inspire artists, designers, and collectors. Its enduring appeal lies in its timeless beauty, geological formation, and rich cultural history. Whether utilized as jewelry or as a decorative artifact, red amber serves as a symbol of geological elegance, emphasizing its importance in the scientific and cultural domains.

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