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Amber, the gold of the Baltic Sea

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The Baltic region contains the largest known deposit of amber, with about 80% of the world's known amber found here. The Baltic amber deposits range between 35 to 40 million years old. The Baltic Sea abounds with amber, as its area was covered by pine forests in prehistoric times.

This semi-precious stone was formed during million years out of fossilized tree resin, which is the semi-solid amorphous organic substance secreted in pockets and canals through epithelial cells of the plant.

Amber occurs in a range of different colours from yellow and green to brown and black. Because tree resin used to be soft and sticky, the stone may contain inclusions such as plant fragments, insects or even small vertebrates.

The history of Amber craft in Gdansk

In ancient times Gdansk was one of the cities located along the Amber Route, along which amber was transported from the Baltic Sea to the Mediterranean.

Gdansk has cultivated the tradition of amber craft for ages. The earliest evidence of an amber workshop in Gdansk dates back to the late 10 th century. The variety of amber goods then offered was very large, including beads, rings, pendants, dice, pawns, amulets and crosses. The amber works made by the Gdansk craftsmen were meant not only for the local market. They were also sold in other cities on the Polish territory.

The turn of 16 th and 17 th centuries is called the Gdansk "Golden Age". It was when rich city residents, the nobility, aristocrats, the clergy, and Polish royalties placed numerous orders for amber goods.

Masterpieces by Gdansk amber artists were considered to be the most precious diplomatic souvenirs for popes, tsars, sultans, caliphs, and the most powerful rulers of Europe. Amber gems became the true hallmark of the city.

Amber today

Today Gdansk is one of the world’s amber capital and the city’s amber masters and their art enjoy world-wide appreciation. The local masters have developed their own amber processing school. Contemporary Gdansk is a respected centre of amber related activities. Here are the main offices of the National Amber Chamber of Commerce and the International Association of Amber Masters.

Gdansk hosts the world's largest amber fairs: AMBERIF and AMBERMART.

Amber tour of Gdansk

Gdansk History Museum
houses Amber Museum, which features an exhibition of "The Polish Sea Gems".
Amber Museum - Branch of the Gdansk History Museum,

Address: 47 Dluga St.

Archaeological Museum
in Gdansk invites to its regular exhibition entitled "Amber through Centuries". It is arranged in two sections picturing amber in nature and culture. The visitors can study the origins of amber, its varieties, see archaeological exhibits of works in amber and amber-craft gear from the earliest palaeolithic tools, through ancient times, the Middle Ages, to the contemporary times. The museum arranges practical shows of ancient amber processing technology against a map of amber routes criss-crossing ancient Europe .

Archaeological Museum
Address: 25/26 Mariacka St.

Museum of Amber Inclusions shares its premises with the Faculty of Biology, Geography, and Oceanography of the University of Gdansk and the world's only Chair of Amber. The Museum displays specimens of prehistoric life captured in amber inclusions. The visitors can feast their eyes on the most breathtaking pieces of inclusion and amber works, watch a slide show, and listen to an overview of the history of the "Baltic gold".

Museum of Amber Inclusions, University of Gdansk
Address: 46 al. Pilsudskiego St., Gdynia

St. Bridget's Church originating from the turn of the 14 th and 15 th centuries went down in the history annals in August 1980 during the worker strikes. The austere church interior is adorned with a unique work of art, i.e. a monumental amber altar. 11 m high and 6 m wide, the altar is arranged in the form of a triptych with an icon of the Working Class Madonna in the centre. The work is a reproduction of Our Lady of Czestochowa intended to commemorate the 28 workers who fell in December 1970. It is adorned with a milk-white amber gown and a crown made of bright yellow amber. The altar itself is given the shape of a lily evoking associations with the Gothic heraldic lily. The altar retable will depict scenes of Gdansk city life, and the central space is reserved for a gilded sphere-shaped tabernacle. Sections of the altar in development and a magnificent amber monstrance can already be contemplated on site.

St. Bridget's church
Address: Profesorska St.

Amber Workshops and Galleries

Gdansk is famous for many renowned amber workshops mostly located in the beautiful houses of the Old Town . Some let tourists watch the process of working amber and turning it into amber jewellery. We encourage you to visit numerous exclusive galleries and tiny jeweller shops offering amber products: exquisite jewellery, smart ornamental objects, lamps with stain-glass-type shades featuring all colours of amber, and little souvenirs perfect for a gift or a reminder of your stay in the amber city of Gdansk .

Summer Amber Festival during St Dominic Fair

The rich calendar of cultural and open-air events organised during the traditional August fair (following the Middle Age tradition) includes a day devoted to amber, the Gdansk treasure. Exhibitions, interesting competitions, jewellery making to the visitors' own designs, presentations, 'amber fashion' shows, and live-workshops providing an insight into the "good stone" processing, arranged amongst open-air stands of Gdansk amber artists provide a splendid opportunity to have fun and buy a beauty souvenir of the Baltic gold.

St. Dominic Fair - the first three weeks of August - in the streets and squares of the Old Town.

Amber Fairs

No one planning to visit Gdansk in the springtime should miss visiting the trade fair pavilions during the big annual amber event. For as long as ten years now the International Gdansk Fair have organised the AMBERIF International Fair of Amber, Jewellery and Gems. It is the largest trade fair and exhibition event devoted to the Baltic jewel in the world. The fair is accompanied with the Designer Gallery, Jewellery Gallery, Palaeonthologic Gallery, as well as numerous scientific seminars, an international competition for the best amber jewellery design.

Things to do in Gdansk

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