Insect in Amber - Baltic Amber
Insect in Amber - Baltic Amber
This Insect in Amber specimen is a self-contained bead of Baltic amber dating to 40,000,000 to 60,000,000 years old, each with at least one insect trapped inside!
It's a unique and beautiful piece of history from the Eocene period. These amber pieces come from the Baltic Sea, where a treasure trove of fossilized insects can be found. Each piece comes with a display case along with an informational card that serves as certificate of authenticity.
Please Note: Sizing on this specimen refers to the amber itself, not the insect fossilized within. The images on this page reflect the wide range of variation that may be expected. See additional details below!
Fossilized Insect in Amber
Millions of years ago, insects were trapped within sticky pieces of resin. We can now find these creatures in all their beauty within the golden beads of Baltic amber.
This specimen is one of these fascinating displays of historical preservation, an authentic piece of amber which dates 40,000,00 to 60,000,000 years old all the way back to the Eocene. Each amber piece contains a visible insect or arachnid from this period trapped within. The material comes from deposits around the Baltic Sea, which is known to scientists as the greatest repository of fossil insects ever discovered.
This is the most visually unique and exciting fossil in our collection — just don't use it to clone any dinosaurs.
Small, Medium, and Large sized amber pieces are all available.
- Small - Amber bead measures approximately 1/4"-1/2" inches in length.
- Medium - Amber bead measures approximately 1/2"-1".
- Large - Amber bead measures approximately 1 inch or longer.
The Small and Medium sizes tend to have better clarity as the beads are polished as close as possible to the insect. The Large size is great for carrying in your pocket and showing to groups. The larger size may also contain multiple creatures, not to mention plant material such as grasses and seeds, and the occasional arachnid.
Each specimen is enclosed in a handsome, glass-topped riker box case measuring 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". A small information card which serves as certificate of authenticity is also included. The Small and Medium sized amber beads are shipped in a specimen jar with a removable lid for protection against loss.
MORE ABOUT AMBER
What is amber?
Amber is a unique fossil substance that shines with a golden hue. For millennia it has been an object of interest to many cultures and some pieces are especially interesting due to the prehistoric creatures captured within. The story of these nuggets of time all begins millions of years ago with an insect and a tree.
When a plant is damaged by a hungry bug, it secretes a substance called resin to activate its defense system. Resin is a viscous material produced by plants, primarily from conifers, that is both sticky and smelly (some might say fragrant). This scent lures the insect towards it, where it can quickly become trapped in the resin. In essence, it is an ancient and organic flypaper.
The tackiness of resin comes from carboxylic acids which make up the bulk of its mass. Hydrocarbon compounds known as terpenes provide the fragrance. Together, these organic compounds create the perfect bug-catching defense for trees. In fact, if you've ever enjoyed the scent of a pine candle, you may be falling for the very same evolutionary trap!
When compressed and heated beneath layers of sediment for millions of years, tree resin undergoes a process of molecular polymerization. This changes the chemical structure of the resin, making it tougher and stony. The result is a low-density, amorphous solid known as amber.
A World Inside
When recovered, amber is often dull, reddish brown, or even gray. After polishing, amber practically glows. The original color of the resin is preserved in a beautiful yellow-orange, but the material becomes translucent, allowing you to see what's been captured inside. Thanks to the stickiness of the original material, small objects can be perfectly preserved during the fossilization process. These are called inclusions, and they range from dust and pollen to insects and even fossilized lizards!
The discovery of amber with animal inclusions is always an incredible find. While they can't exactly be used to clone dinosaurs, they tell us a lot about the anatomy of prehistoric insects and help us better understand their evolutionary paths. When you hold a bead of insect amber, you're looking through a portal to our planet's past.
The largest amber deposits in the world are located around the Baltic Sea. Amber from this region, referred to as Baltic amber, is considered the highest amber quality in the world. Baltic amber deposits date from the Eocene period, some 40-60 million years ago. Scientists consider Baltic amber the greatest repository of fossilized insects from any age.
Front of the Specimen Card
Back of the Specimen Card
Daza, Juan D., Edward L. Stanley, Philipp Wagner, Aaron M. Bauer, and David A, Grimaldi. "Mid-Cretaceous amber fossils illuminate the past diversity of tropical lizards." Science Advances 2(3) 4 March 2016. Web. 5 April 2019.
Grimaldi, David A., Michael S. Engel, and Paul C. Nascimbene. "Fossiliferous Cretaceous amber from Myanmar (Burma): its rediscovery, biotic diversity, and paleontological significance." American Museum Novitates (2002): 1-71.
Pierson, Jessica A. Late Cretaceous (Campanian and Maastrichtian) Sequence Stratigraphy, Southeastern North Carolina, USA. Diss. University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 2003.
Shi, Guanghai, David A. Grimaldi, George E. Harlow, Jing Wang, Jun Wang, Mengchu Yang, Weiyan Lei, Qiuli Li, and Xianhua Li. "Age constraint on Burmese amber based on U-Pb dating of zircons." Cretaceous Research 37 (2012) 155-163. Web. 5 April 2019.
Swift, Donald JP, and S. Duncan Heron Jr. "Tidal deposits in the Cretaceous of the Carolina Coastal Plain." Sedimentary Geology 1 (1967): 259-282.
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