Explanations of the origin of amber
Amber piece with inclusion Natural amber piece from New Zeland

Amber emergence of a variety of interpretations

The first scientific explanation of the origin of amber was submitted by the Ancient Roman scientist Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) in his monumental work Historia naturalis. Pliny asserted that amber is the resin of the Northern conifer trees drifted into the sea and hardened. He based this conclusion on experiment: combusting amber emits the smell of pine resin, insect and plant fossils could be found in it. Other scientists were more inventing about the explanations of the origins of amber: Demonstrat believed that amber formed from urine of lynx, the Ancient scientist Nicene claimed that amber is the concentrate of sunlight formed in the sea water; according to Acarubius, amber emerges from the sun heated sludge in the lake of Cefisio by the Atlantic Ocean.

Roman Poet Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BC – 18 AD) about the Origin of Amber

In poem Metamorphoses it is told that Sun God Helios-Febo had a son with a mortal female Climene and called him Phaethon. Phaethon appealed to his mother, asking to confirm that he is really of a heavenly origin. His mother suggested him to go to his father and ask by himself. Phaethon could not hold his joy and soon found himself in his father‘s land. Phaethon found Febo sitting in his mansion on a golden throne. He confirmed that Phaethon is his son, and in order to dispel son‘s doubts said: ‘Ask for whatever you want and you will get everything what is in my power.’ Phaethon asked for carriage and power to control the horses. Father tried to dissuade Phaethon from riding in the firmament since he was mortal and managing divine horses was not for his forces, but son still neglected father’s warnings. Phaethon lost control of the divine horses, landed too close to the earth and set fire on it. For such disobedience Zeus stroke down him to the river of Eridanos. Phaethon’s mother Climene and his sisters Heliades deeply repented him and grew in to the ground, turned into trees. From those trees kept dropping tears which hardened in the sun and turned into amber.

Lithuanian folk tale Jūratė ir Kastytis

The most famous folk tale in Lithuania about the origin of amber is the love story of Jūratė and Kastytis. It tells about the ancient times when thunder God Perkūnas was the eldest of the gods, while goddess Jūratė lived in the amber palace at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. Jūratė fell in love with a fisherman Kastytis and lured him to the amber palace. Perkūnas found out about immortal goddess love to a mortal and became deeply wrathful. The thunder God demolished the amber palace, killed Kastytis and chained Jūratė in the ruins of the palace. Jūratė has been lamenting over Kastytis and the unfortunate end of their love up until now. The pieces of demolished amber palace were washed from the sea and the tiny pieces of amber are tears of Jūratė.
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