Do you remember John Hammond from Jurassic Park? How he paid his scientists to extract DNA of dinosaurs from a mosquito in amber? Well, I do, and I wanted to find one of those fossilized insect inclusions. I soon found out that the easiest way is to find Baltic amber on a beach.
How Baltic amber Was Made
Baltic amber is 44 million years old gem created from fossilized resin of one specific prehistoric tree. The tree is called Pinites succinifer. That’s why the Baltic amber is also called succinite. At that time, during Eocene epoch, almost infinitely large forests of these trees were in Northern Europe. It was some 20 million years after dinosaurs extinct due to the cataclysmic event.
Where to Look for Baltic Amber
Amber could be found all around the world. It is mostly mined – Santiago, Borneo, Myanmar, Eastern Turkey, Mexico, Lebanon, Northern Spain, Eastern Italy etc. But the Baltic amber is the easiest one for finding. You can find it by yourself on a beach of the Baltic sea.
The amber is washed on shores eastern from Gdansk – Polish harbor city, and near Kaliningrad (Russia). You can visit Polish village Jantar (note: weirdly, it means amber in Czech), but you will probably find no amber on the beach of Jantar. At least you can find some gemstones which are sold at the market. But, you want to find amber by yourself, right? Check out How to find Baltic Amber for a map with exact locations and more.
How to Look for Baltic Amber
It’s easy. Just walk on a beach in the morning and when you see black coal fragments and pieces of wood you know it’s the right spot where those precious yellow transparent stones could be found. It can also be found few meter of the shore lying on a sand in the rubble or half a meter under the ground in a black layer of sand. (sand is black due to the coal fragments). Locals dig holes on the beach to get to the amber.
When to Go Find Baltic Amber
If you are okay to find small just few millimeters pieces you can go anytime. Only the right place is critical. If you want to take it more seriously you need to go in Autumn or Winter when the sea is rough. Also, the water is cold and when it’s colder than 4°C amber is pushed up from sea floor. The best time is to go when it’s colder after a storm very early in the morning. It’s possible you will encounter many other amber hunters at that time. For many people, the summer is just fine.
There are more tips on how to find amber, and I included them all in the e-book – How to find amber in Poland which I strongly recommend reading before going.