How much is amber worth

Surprising boom: amber overtakes gold

When you think of jewelry as an investment, you usually first think of gold, silver or diamonds. Amber, on the other hand, is more associated with older women and the fashion of bygone days - there are still a few good pieces in the estate box somewhere.

However, you should wake them up from their slumber as quickly as possible.

Amber as an investment - the Chinese drive up the price

Amber as an investment is more in demand than it has been for a long time. While gold is falling in favor of investors and in price, the dull yellow fossil resin rises from the depths of the Baltic Sea to unimagined heights. It is no longer a real insider tip, because the price has increased by several hundred percent for several years. But the trend is unbroken.

As is so often the case, wealthy Asians play the crucial role. Amber is particularly popular as an investment in China. This is explained by a cultural peculiarity. In Asia, intangibles also play a major role. Amber is said to have a healing effect. It is considered to be one of the seven stones that bring luck and follows in rank just after jade, the special case among gemstones par excellence.

For the Chinese, jade has always been the embodiment of life, death and universal order. But since the jade deposits are slowly being exhausted, amber moves up and with it its price.

The shape, color and condition of the amber are decisive

Gold currently costs around € 37 per gram, while cut amber costs between € 50 and € 60. However, it all depends on the shape and color. At the top, up to € 400 per gram is achieved. Around 20 years ago there was just one D-Mark.

The demand from abroad is not uniform. Chinese prefer matte honey yellow as the color of prosperity. Arabs, on the other hand, are enthusiastic about dark ocher tones. Europeans and Americans, on the other hand, tend to look for clear, transparent stones.

Amber is pressed fossil resin from coniferous forests from the Tertiary a good 50 million years ago. Enclosed fossils such as insects, so-called inclusions, are found again and again. Collectors pay up to € 1,000 for the rare pieces, with prehistoric scorpions or amphibians a lot more. White amber is also extremely expensive and can cost up to € 2,000.

The Baltic Sea supplies the world

The deposits are probably scattered all over the world, but finds on a large scale and organized mining are traditionally and currently limited to a few regions. A smaller, active deposit is located in northern Ukraine. The production of open-cast lignite mining near Bitterfeld, where a good 10% of global demand was already being produced in GDR times, is somewhat larger.

The classic amber region, however, is the Baltic Sea. The hobby collectors scramble for stranded stones. However, at least 80% of world production comes from the former East Prussia, on the Samland coast in front of Königsberg / Kaliningrad.

Here a meter-thick layer of amber comes to the surface, which begins in the depths of the Baltic Sea between Lübeck and Rostock. The Russians estimate the deposits in their area alone at 600,000 tons.

This is where the material for the legendary amber room of the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm I came from, who later gave it to Tsar Peter the Great for his palace in St. Petersburg. In 1941 the Wehrmacht took it as loot to Königsberg, where it disappeared in the turmoil of the war - people are still feverishly looking for it today. The official estimate of up to € 300 million is likely to be very conservative.

Few things sell well

Anyone who now suspects that they have amber as an investment should first check whether it is also raw or natural amber. The latter is processed and cut raw amber. Then it is best to have an expert estimate it. Only a few stones are suitable for the lucrative world market. For most of the finds, you only get 60 cents per gram.

An amber is real when it can be ignited with a flame or when it swims in salt water. It is also about as soft as gold. However, the specific gravity of gold is a good 19 times as high. For € 60 in demand, a piece of amber must be at least one cubic centimeter in size.

Overall, amber may be on the up, but as soon as new profitable deposits are found, prices should drop, at the latest when the boom in Asia subsides. Until then you can use the time. In the long term, however, amber is less stable as an investment than gold.

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