Amber

Category  :  Organic
Hardness  :  2.5
Gravity  :  1.07
Reflection  :  1.54
Color  :  Amber occurs in a range of different colors. As well as the usual yellow-orange-brown that is associated with the color "amber", amber itself can range from a whitish color through a pale lemon yellow, to brown and almost black. Other more uncommon colors include red amber (sometimes known as "cherry amber"), green amber, and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after.
Chemical formula  :  C10H16O
Crystal system  :  Noncrystalline
Major varieties  :  Amber

Amber

A common misconception is that amber is made of tree sap; it is not. Sap is the fluid that circulates through a plant's vascular system, while resin is the semi-solid amorphous organic substance secreted in pockets and canals through epithelial cells of the plant.

Because it used to be soft and sticky tree resin, amber can sometimes contain insects and even small vertebrates.

Semi-fossilized resin or sub-fossil amber is known as copal.

A lot of the most highly-prized amber is transparent, in contrast to the very common cloudy amber and opaque amber. Opaque amber contains numerous minute bubbles. This kind of amber is known as "bony amber", even though it is in fact true amber.

Amber is heterogeneous in composition, but consists of several resinous bodies more or less soluble in alcohol, ether and chloroform, associated with an insoluble bituminous substance. Amber is a macromolecule by free radical polymerization of several precursors in the labdane family, communic acid, cummunol and biformene. These labdanes are diterpenes (C20H32) and trienes which means that the organic skeleton has three alkene groups available for polymerization. As amber matures over the years, more polymerization will take place as well as isomerization reactions, crosslinking and cyclization. The average composition of amber leads to the general formula C10H16O.

Amber should be distinguished from copal. Molecular polymerization caused by pressure and heat transforms the resin first into copal and then over time through the evaporation of turpenes it is transformed into amber.

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