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» Economics » Decoration » Gem stone » Amber

Page modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 20:02:25

Historical meaning

The amber always fascinated humans. It applied in all important dynasties and at all times as indication of luxury and power.


The amber was already processed and verziert in the Jungsteinzeit. One attributed legendary effects already at that time to him. Already around approx. 10,000 v.Chr., i.e. to the outgoing last ice age, he was converted in Nordfriesland to trailers and beads. Also around 8.000-5.500 v.Chr it was a particularly in demand decoration, which was also used in Denmark and the southern Baltic Sea area for the production of status-lifting Tieramuletten and Schnitzereien engraved motives for animal. Schamanen use it also as Weihrauch, so that a ritual meaning was attached to it. This did not change also, as from the hunters around 3.500-1.500 v.Chr. (Neolithikum) farmers became. These began now generally speaking mass to collect amber to sacrifice and hide it (amber depot finds in Jutland). Further it was converted to chains and trailers and given the dead ones also to the graves. The designers of the large stone graves manufactured the controversy axe reproductions from amber, typical for it.


In the Bronzezeit the interest in the amber processing decreased first, although the material remained still a popular grave with gift. A collier find in a 3000 years old Urnengrab with Ingolstadt, showed a opulente Halskette from approximately 3000 amber beads, which must have been at that time from inestimable value. Why the collier in a Tonkrug became to bury, is unsettled.

Amber was beside salt and raw metal (bronze and tin) one of the most in demand and most important merchandise. In stronghold finds and with he emerges regularly. Also extensive trade relations were proven by it. Two broad gold rings, into which one amber disk each was let in, were in (tin occurrence), and an almost identical copy are from the Greek bronze time center Mykene admit (bloom time of 15. - 13. Jh. v. Chr.). Also in a earlybronze-temporal (around 1700 v. Chr.) stronghold find of this-chew (district hall circle) was a chain from amber beads.


In the Eisenzeit amber won tears or urine of the Gods "by the appreciation of the Greeks, Skythen, Egyptians, Balten and Slawen as "tears of the sun "and/or "meaning. One regarded it later as "to urine of the Luchses ", "petrified honey "or "rigid oil ". The Greeks estimated the amber as jewel, which they used as articles of exchange for luxury goods of all kinds, as mentions and described with Homer. The Romans used it as articles of exchange and for engravings. At present the Wikinger was it in demand material, which was used as perfumes or processed artful. From this time for example finds are chains, Spinnwirtel, play board figures and cubes from amber, mixed by beads well-known for.

Greek-Roman antique ones

In the Greek-Roman antique one it was recognized that amber can load itself electrostatically. The Greek philosopher Aristoteles reports on it. In addition it is with Pytheas of Massila around 334 v. Chr. the amber islands in such a way specified visited (meant west, east and Nordfriesi islands probably are in the North Sea). One calls these islands also the Elektriden. The Romans Tacitus and Plinius the older one wrote over the amber as well as its origin and his trade. Emperor Nero is to have used amber in large quantities for representation purposes. In the Rome of the Kaiser era drove not only the emperor, but also the people with the amber a wasteful luxury. One drank everything that from value was from amber containers, it zierte, and wealthy women colored their hair amber colors. Plinius the younger one is to have been annoyed at it, "that a small from amber than a slave is more expensive ". In the Roman antique one besides the trade with amber was opened.

The Middle Ages

In the Middle Ages and for catholic areas thereafter the amber was also used mainly for the production by rose wreath/ring prayer chains. Further application were eyeglass lenses. Since it was so popular and one could earn thereby much, buyers and Feudalherren placed the production and sale all amber of east and west Prussia soon under sovereignty right. As an offence against this "amber shelf in such a way specified "collecting and the sales could be punished amber on own calculation by "the amber court "with death. The had the obligation to collect and deliver under the guard by amber ("the amber oath "). Had women, children and old people daily in wind and weather to the beach. If they would not fulfill their determined high target, they had to count on bad consequences.

The German medal secured itself in 13. Century the legal right to the exclusive trade with amber, which brought in for it its wealth. From the most valuable pieces of amber they manufactured artistic articles particularly in the workshops of king mountain and Danzigs. "The amber shelf "leased the German medal first to the respective national gentlemen, on whom it ignored 1525. Again the were propelled for collecting amber. Since those received Fischer in the exchange against amber the urgently needed salt, they delivered much and collected daily. In reduced form the law applied until 1945.

Modern times

In the modern times amber was processed after old tradition to decoration, in addition, used for caskets, Spielsteine and - boards, Intarsien, and other representative things.

In 16. and 17. The Prussian rulers the amber for representation purposes used and let century different Zier and utensils from it manufacture. The Prussian yard gave hundreds of amber art articles to order, above all cups, doses, Konfektschalen and sword grasps, which arrived as wedding and diplomat gifts into many art collections of European prince and ruling families. From this time also first larger amber furniture originates.

In 18. Century let the amber room for its Charlottenburger lock in Berlin, which was finished placed 1712 manufacture the Prussian king Friedrich I. 1716 gave away its son the room at the Russian Zaren Peter the large one. Later it was built into the Katharinenpalast with pc. Petersburg, robbed in the Second World War by the Germans and brought after king mountain, where it probably burned 1945. There are however rumors, according to which the amber room is to be still stored in underground lugs. It was recognized by the progress of the natural sciences that the amber is as fossil resin not mystischen, but natural origin. Therefore the interest in the amber decreased/went back after 1750.

To in 19. Century was won the amber mainly by beach vintage. 1862 could be collected for example with this method 4000 kg. In the year 1837 the Prussian king Friedrich William III. left the entire amber use from Danzig to Memel against the sum of 30.000 Marks to the municipalities of the SAM country. Since 1881 there was press amber, so that one began around 1890 with the industrial production of the amber through excavators in East Prussia and so that decoration for all social classes became affordable. In the year 1890 could be in this way already promoted by means of 200.000 kg. In some regions of Europe acetted amber chains belonged even to the Hochzeitstracht of the farmers.

Since center 19. Century and at the beginning 20. Century amber was exported particularly from East Prussia, Estonia, Lettland and Litauen (and/or the later Soviet Union). The there coast proved as one of the largest find places of the world - 1912 one promoted 600 t. So developed 1926 for example in Palmnicken, East Prussia world largest Manufaktur, which national amber - Manufaktur king mountain, in which to 1945 artistic products and utensils from amber were manufactured, one spoke even in the NS time of "the German gold ".

Around 1970 the Soviet Union lowered the yearly supply of ten tons on one down. The principal client of the imported good, the East German "VEB Baltic Sea decoration ", demanded thereupon the citizens of the GDR by newspaper advertisements up to send amber after Ribnitz Damgarten. Most forwardings came from bitter fields miners, and so the enterprise assigned geologists to examine the brown coal open mining bitter field. Since they became the open mining became bitter field (pit Goit) the amber open mining.

Trade routes

Already to the Steinzeit, the Baltic amber was a valuable article of exchange and merchandise, which arrived southward. Already in mykenischer time (approx. 1600 - 1050 v. Chr.) in Greece decoration from imported amber was carried, as show a set of finds from this time. One calls the trade routes of the amber amber route. They run to the south to the Mediterranean:

  • after Aquileia: Plinius the older one (23 - 79 n. Chr.) reports that amber was brought from the Baltic Sea coast to Aquileia. The amber commercial route already important in prehistory follows in Lower Austria of the March, crossed with Carnuntum east of Vienna the Danube and leads off here as Roman amber route across Hungary, Slovenia after Aquileia in Italy. As important traffic route it became at the beginning of the 1. Century n. Chr. under Augustus and Tiberius developed and to the Roman Strassenenetz (S.A. Roman roads) tied up.
  • in the western Mediterranean: on different routes from Hamburg to Marseille.

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