Reference work entry
In ancient China, amber was called the ‘Tiger Soul’. Amber forms through the fossilisation of Palaeogene or Neogene pine or cypress resin that lost its volatile properties and solidified after long periods of time. It is often associated with coal seams. Amber is a hydrocarbon containing succinic acid and copal. Its chemical composition is C 10H 16O, and it is composed of 79% carbon, 10.5% hydrogen, 10.5% oxygen and sometimes a small amount of hydrogen sulphide. It is frequently shaped like a pie, kidney, nodules, elongated water droplets or other irregular shapes. There are numerous colours, such as yellow, orange yellow, brown, brownish yellow, and brownish red. Light green, yellow or light purple amber is rare. Amber has a greasy lustre and is transparent or translucent. It often contains insects, seeds or other inclusions (Fig. 11).
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