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Burmite Cretaceous Amber

Burmite Cretaceous Amber

Above: Front of Specimen Card

Amber is a beautiful substance used by humans for thousands of years. Beginning as plant resin, amber forms very slowly under tremendous heat and pressure for millions of years, eventually becoming a low-density, amorphous solid. The process of molecular polymerization also preserves traces of climate and life in nearly perfect condition.

Above: Hans inspecting a large piece of Burmite after hours in the amber markets of Téngchōng, China.

This specimen is a polished bead of Cretaceous amber from the Hukawng Valley of Northern Myanmar (Burma). It was acquired personally by Hans Fex during a trip to the amber markets of Téngchōng, China, which sits very close to the border of Myanmar.

Please Note: Seeds, small leaves, and pollen grains are abundant in all specimens. One may also find small arthropods (i.e. insects and arachnids). This is not guaranteed, and in most cases, the creatures will be quite tiny if they are present.

Above: Inspecting amber.

As with any amber specimen, the smaller pieces tend to have the most clarity but they are all incredibly beautiful.

Above: A selection of Large Burmite pieces showing the range of colors and shapes.

All specimens ship inside our classic, glass-topped riker boxes cases. The cases measure 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". A small information card is also included. As pictured, smaller sizes will be enclosed in acrylic specimen jars.

Above: A selection of Small Burmite pieces showing the range of colors and shapes.

About Burmese Amber


"Originally sought as a precious substance, Burmese amber retains its mystique, but now scientifically as a window to a unique, highly diverse Mesozoic microbiota worthy of intense exploration."

~ David A. Grimaldi, Curator, American Museum of Natural History "Fossiliferous Cretaceous Amber from Myanmar (Burma): Its Rediscovery, Biotic Diversity, and Paleontological Significance" (2002)

In the northern Burmese Hukawng Valley, amber has been mined from seams of lignite interbedded with clay and shale. However, these sediments are much younger in age (Eocene) than the amber, which is Mid-Cretaceous. Here the amber has been reworked from older sediments and redeposited in these younger layers of sediment.

Amber which has been dated to be older than 65 million years is a significant treasure trove where inclusions of ancient extinct small flora and fauna are frozen in time. Dating the amber itself is the challenge.

The sediment layer from which amber is mined can be dated radiometrically using zircons. In these deposits, where the amber has been reworked, it can be dated by the included biota themselves. However, amber from the Hukawng Valley was found to have a clay matrix that encased the unprocessed amber pieces. It was possible to extract zircons from the matrix and these were dated to the Mid-Cretaceous.

Known as Burmite, Cretaceous Burmese amber has been found to have inclusions of a high diversity of terrestrial fauna and flora. At least 228 families of organisms have been recorded, including many new taxa. Arthropods (insects) are predominant, with mites, ticks, termites, and lice being the most abundant. The amber beetle collection is very rare and significant.

Above: Back of Specimen Card

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