The history of Amber
Amber may be the world's oldest precious stone. We know that our Scandinavian ancestors valued amber from the earliest period of the stone-age and exchanged it for goods from Italy and Greece. Amber was popular with the Romans and was used not just in jewellery but also for cups and other utensils. The Romans also knew that burning amber produces an aromatic smell, and that amber can be used as incense.
Amber was rare and owning amber was proof of wealth. The most fantastic amber-work is to be found in St. Petersburg's Amber Room. The Prussian King Friedrich I was so fascinated by amber that he ordered that his study in Berlin should be fitted out in amber. It took Europe's most skilled craftsmen 8 years to form and arrange almost 100,000 amber pieces in huge mosaic panels. However, the Russian Tsar was so taken with the unusual work that he succeeded in getting the panels presented as a gift. They were initially installed in the Winter Palace and subsequently moved to another of the Tsar's palaces in St. Petersburg. In 1944, the Amber Room was removed by the Nazis and has since disappeared never to be recovered.