Sadigh Gallery’s Asian Amber

Collection of Statues

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Amber is a hard translucent fossilized resin produced by extinct coniferous trees of the Tertiary period (a geologic period from 65 million to 2.6 million years ago). Amber is produced from plant resin not tree sap. This aromatic resin can drip from and ooze down trees, as well as fill internal fissures, trapping debris such as seeds, leaves, feathers and insects. Amber comes in a variety of colors with yellow being the most common. Other colors include red (known as “cherry amber”), green and even blue. Blue amber, which is especially rare and highly sought after, can only be found in the amber mines in the mountain ranges around Santiago, Dominican Republic.

As a symbol of longevity, Amber may have been the first gem like material used for personal adornment. Amber is of interest both for its decorative value and for the ancient, once-living inclusions that it preserves. Capable of being highly polished, it is the oldest decorative substance known. It was familiar to Paleolithic peoples and to the Greeks and Romans, who used it extensively in jewelry.

According to ancient Chinese sources amber from the Hukawng Valley was mined as early as the first century AD and shipped to Yannan Province in China. From there, burmite (Burmese amber) may have found its way along the Silk Road as far west as the Roman Empire, where amber was highly prized. It is said that that a good piece of amber was worth the price of a slave. The oldest written record referring to Burmese amber was in the Annals of the Han Dynasty (205-265 AD).

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