Amber

As summer winds down and the leaves begin to turn, my thoughts migrate to amber, the golden resin of trees, solidified. It's just another fine example of something from the natural world being used as bead material. Who was the forward thinking prehistoric ancestor who looked at resin and thought, "beads!"

 a bowlful

a bowlful

I have collected it for many years and always have a bowl of it’s many hues in my house in early fall to festoon myself on the way out the door. 

For years amber was hard to come by. I remember buying a pair of earrings in Russia for my cousin when I was sixteen and how thrilled I was to find it in abundance there. Luckily it has found it’s ways to our shores. My collection includes a strand my mother in law brought me in Russia many years after my trip there, another I bought in an antique store on the Oregon coast for almost nothing, a strand of ancient prayer beads I stumbled upon, a buttery yellow strand my mother and stepfather bought for me in England in an antique store, previously owned by a blind woman. I think of her when I hold those smooth beads, a shared intimacy between strangers, across continents.

One of the great things about Amber is that it’s very light weight and so very comfortable to wear. There is real amber and copal amber, a “fake” amber that can be very old and beautiful. Some people are very discerning about the real thing, I like it all.