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in minerals •  2 months ago  (edited)
Several different fluids can be obtained from various trees. Perhaps the most widely-enjoyed is when sap from maple trees is extracted to make Maple Syrup. Some plants and trees can produce latex, which is a natural rubber compound. Many plants, however, can produce another substance called resin, which has a different chemistry than sap and latex, as well as a different purpose within the plant/tree.

Plants secrete resins for their protective benefits in response to injury. The resin protects the plant from insects and pathogens. [2]

Many different resins are derived from plants and trees, each with their own particular properties and uses. There is amber, balsam, benzoin, copal, frankincense, hashish, mastic, myrrh, and turpentine among the most commonly known. Turpentine, of course, is widely used in many parts of the world as a solvent. Copal, balsam, frankincense, and myrrh are used as fragrances in incense and other products. Frankincense and myrrh were also important in the embalming process in ancient Egypt. Benzoin is useful as a fixative in incense and perfumes, helping to prevent other fragrances from fading so quickly. Hashish can be smoked. Mastic can be used as a spice in cooking or chewed as a breath freshener. Many of these resins have multiple uses and have made them very prized throughout history.

Resin is liquid when it oozes from the trees, but is thick and viscous. Soon after reaching the air, it begins to harden but often remains a relatively soft, sticky blob. When trees decay and are buried due to landslides, earthquakes, floods, and other action, however, heat and pressure can compress the resin and make it somewhat hard, like a rock. That is the version of amber that is often used for jewelry. The bracelet pictured below is not mine, but an example image of a piece of amber jewelry.

Although somewhat hard, amber is still around 2.0–2.5 on the Moh's Hardness Scale but is still acceptable for use as jewelry. Frequently, amber is mounted in pendants, rings, or earrings. Most amber is a shade of yellow, orange, or brown. Sometimes the presence of pyrites or other compounds can cause rare bluish or greenish colors, which are highly prized and can be more costly.

Sometimes as the amber is hardening, little bits of leaves or insects can become trapped inside, making an interesting fossilized record. Such pieces are often sought by collectors of mineral specimens and jewelers. I have a piece of amber that has little bits of leaves in it:

Amber is often found by by geologists, miners, and others who dig in the earth. It can also be found washed-up on beaches, which is the frequent way it was collected in ancient times.

Amber is translucent, meaning that light can pass through it even though it is not clear as glass. This can highlight the things trapped inside it. When looking at a piece of amber jewelry, it is hard to remember that it started as liquid from a tree!


   1 Wikipedia: Amber
   2 Wikipedia: Resin

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I learn so much from your series about gemstones. This is another one of them. I take so many things for granted and not take the time to learn more about them... like gemstones. So now, as a result of reading your article, I have a better appreciation of amber... how cool is that 💪💪💪?!!! I am grateful to you for doing the research, collecting all the information, and presenting it in your blog. I have learned so much! Thank you, @thekittygirl, I appreciate you. Take care 🥰🌺🤙and a ton of hugs 🤗

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Amber is one of my favorite crystals. Love the formation of this one. Such a powerful crystals

I often wonder if in millions of years, someone will find the hashish people lost and wear it as jewelry? I'm sure the unsmoked stash of famous celebrities will be priceless.

Resins are also very useful for industrial and commercial purposes, especially epoxy and polyurethane.

Amber is technically an organic fossil gemstone similar to jet (pretty coal), pearls or corals. It has no organized crystal structure, therefore it cannot be considered as a crystal or mineral. It just happens to also be hard, translucent and very pretty.

would be neat to find some

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  ·  2 months ago (edited)

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I always enjoy your posts about precious and semi-precious gems/stones. I learn such a great deal! My favorite stone is Amethyst.

Once again, thank you for sharing on the PYPT Podcast.

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