Chiapas Amber is fossilized tree resin from the now extinct tree species, Hymanea.
What we know is that it formed some 23-30 million years ago during the Oligocene. Giant trees of the species Hymanea were damaged via forest fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other means, releasing copious amounts of sap from these giant trees. Insects, flowers, leaves, and sometimes frogs, crabs, and lizards were trapped in the sticky resin that flowed from the trees. Sometimes pieces of resin would fall to the ground, encasing other plants and animals. Through floods and other means, these trees and resin were transported to the shallow ocean, where the resin hardened, oysters grew on its surface, and eventually the resin was buried under ocean sediments. Over millions of years, with constant heat and pressure, the resin hardened into copal as volatile organic chemicals left the structure of the copal, eventually turning it to the true amber we know today.
This amber was originally discovered by the Mayans, who valued this stone and even included it among jaguar pelts and cacao on their inventory scrolls.
Eventually, it gained value among modern cultures as well who now demand this amber both for its beauty and rare inclusions. In 1953, an archaeologist named Frans Blom discovered the deposits of Chiapas, soon after bringing a group of scientists from the University of Berkley in California to study the amber deposits. It was not until the 1980’s that mining began taking place for amber, with production skyrocketing after the 1993 film, Jurassic Park, to meet demand for amber.
It is estimated that approximately 95% of the amber market has been dominated by Baltic amber from Poland, Ukraine, and other northern European countries. Baltic amber was originally found along the coast of the baltic sea, but is now often mined via stripping vegetation from large swaths of land followed by large open pit mines in order to meet demand.
Chiapas amber is slightly younger than Baltic amber, being Oligocene in age vs the Eocene Baltic deposits. Surprisingly, Chiapas amber is significantly harder than Baltic amber, meaning it is much less likely to scratch, crack, chip, or shatter. Chiapas amber is also much more fluorescent and phosphorescent than Baltic Amber. Lastly, Chiapas amber comes in a variety of natural colors such as greens, reds, honey, cognac, etc where as Baltic amber must be heat treated to achieve this same variety of colors.
Chiapas is one of only three highly fluorescent amber types in the world because of its high concentration of a hydrocarbon called Perylene. Only Dominican amber and Indonesion amber can compare in fluorescence, with Indonesian amber being extremely soft in comparison.
Chiapas amber is also the most phosphorescent of all types of amber in the world, meaning it will not just fluoresce under a UV light, but will glow for some time afterward as well.
Besides being one of the hardest amber types in the world (being as hard as Burmese amber and Dominican Amber), the most phosphorescent, one of the three most fluorescent, and having one of the largest varieties of natural colors, Chiapas amber is also known to be warm to the touch and extremely electrostatically conductive.
Further, some claim that amber has the following properties:
As we are mine-direct, we come across rare inclusions every now and then that are often newly discovered species currently unknown to science, exquisitely preserved, or rare for other reasons. Scientifically valuable specimens are reserved for museums; however, we so sell otherwise rare specimens to the public including flowers, spiders, mantises, pseudoscorpions, scorpions, etc.
We do list rare inclusions on this page from time to time; however, the best way to see our full selection is to contact us and inquire about specific inclusions you are looking for. We have thousands of rare inclusions, so it is impossible to list them all online, or to even show you all of them. Rather, it's better if you ask specifically for mantises, bees, scorpions, flowers, etc so we can show you specifically what you are searching for.
We have proprietary products you won't find elsewhere. From carved amber wine stoppers to carved pendants like the ones pictured here, we offer unique selection.
We don't believe in taking advantage of third world countries and building business at their expense. While other foreign amber brokers have left a bad reputation in their wake by taking advantage of indigenous people, we are constantly striving to improve the lives of the people who produce this precious stone. When we sell amber to you, that money is going to benefit the people of Chiapas, helping them to earn a living wage. The relationships we have built with the people of Chiapas are a testament to our commitment to this cause.
We don't buy a product to resell it, we produce it. We have been in the mines where no other Americans have ever been. We have spoken to the miners and watched them work to find amber. We have looked for and found amber ourselves at the mines. We have our own mines, our own carver, our own shop, and can provide documents for the authentication of any specimen we sell. Let us know if there is anything you are searching for!
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