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Baltic Amber


Rocchini Dumas Collections - Almenno San Bartolomeo (Bg) Italy Gianfranco Rocchini   grocchini@inwind.it

- Introduction - Update   12/07/2022
- Some note on baltic amber -
- Books new entry -
The published inclusions are part of Rocchini Dumas collection; the content and the photos are freely usable.

- Other Collections:  Ancient Medical Instruments  Member of European Association of Museum of the History of Medical Sciences  - E.A.M.H.M.S. Paris.

Information, news




In november ’89 my wife and I went to Pavia and  the Visconti Castle, where we visited the exhibition  “The Treasures of Lituania”. There  I got in touch for the first time with baltic amber and started my collection. 

At first I bought each and every piece of amber I could get hold of, whatever it included. By now I am more selective, in order to avoid similar pieces, although every piece of amber is unique. Furthermore the price for baltic amber has considerably increased.

I prefer to buy amber from Polish hawkers here in Italy, as their amber is unpolished or partly finished and has not been subject to thermic treatment.

In Paris Russian traders from Kaliningrad always offer quite interesting (and expensive) pieces. Yet they were all treated thermically in order to increase their transparency, very often to the detriment of the inclusions.

My collection contains about 1000 pieces, most of these include diptera ( the most common insects in baltic amber). There are yet some rather rare and interesting  pieces which you may find on the picture page. 

This publication is meant to intrigue its readers and tempt them to start a collection of their own, as well as to get in touch with whoever is interested in exchange of ideas and information. Last not least I meant to satisfy that tiny part of exhibitionism burried in the subconscious of every collector.


Some notes on baltic amber

Resin exited from the trees of my garden….. perhaps between 40 million years will become amber.....

Baltic amber is a resin produced about 30 to 40 million years ago by  a pine tree by now extinct,  pinus succinifera, that grew in territories now invaded by the sea  (succinum is the old latin world for amber, electrum the greek one).

For further details and information please see  “web sites on amber”.

Magnus Olaus - Histoire des pays septentrionaux - Paris 1561 


Raw amber with marine incrustations - 0943

During violent storms the amber, burried under layers of earth and sand, is torn out the seabed (thixotropie) and deposited on the shores ( the  specific weight of amber is between 1,05 and 1,10). Since times unknown people pick it up and put it for sale.

In the late 1600 consistent deposits were found inland. These are still active and furnish most of the amber on the market today.

This amber is quite soft, about 2,5 Mohs, thus easy to work. It  has been used since prehistoric times to create small objects and jewels

Since  ancient times  the amber was claimed to have healing capacities and magic power, for instance for its capacity to attract  hair or wool when rubbed (the principles of electrostatics yet  unknown) and the mysterious presence of parts of plants or small insects.

Although most of its secrets have been  unveiled the amber is still object to empiric practices, as remedy for impotency (just keep a piece of amber in your pocket !) nervous or digestive disorder or as ingredient for beauty creams.

According  to ancient arab belief amber prevents the transmission of contagious diseases one might  be infected with due to the promiscuous use of the water pipe. Therefore amber is still used in mouthpieces for pipes or cigarette holders.

The film Jurassic Park gave way to  a big revival and renewed scientific interest in amber and its various inclusions, that allow studies on the evolution and  the development of living creatures

The American Museum of Natural History entitled its web page on amber “Amber, Window to the Past”, summarizing  very well the emotional and scientific content  of this warm “stone”: through this window you may bring to life again the tragedy of the small insects trapped in the amber, know their habits, their environment, the vegetation, climate and with a little help of your imagination find yourself in this world  gone by long ago.


Prof. Eugenio Ragazzi  -   eugenio.ragazzi@unipd.it Associate professor of pharmacology at the Padova University. An appassionate and profound expert on amber from all parts of the world, author together an international team of scientists of numerous publications:

---" First record of Pliensbachian (Lower Jurassic) amber and associated palynoflora from Monti Lessini (northern Italy)" 

Mirco Neri, Guido Roghi, Eugenio Ragazzi, Cesare Andrea Papazzoni

Available online at :  https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/geobios

---"Amber, a Stone of Sun for Ancient Medicines" Eugenio Ragazzi  -  Acta Medico-Historica Rigensia. - https://dspace.rsu.lv/jspui/bitstream/123456789/42/1/amhr.2016.X.208-234.pdf

-"Middle Triassic Amber Associated with Voltzialean Conifers from the southern Alps of Italy".

Guido Roghi, Evelyn Kustatscher, Eugenio Ragazzi & Luca Giusberti  - Rivista Italiana di Paleontologia e Stratigrafia vol.123(2): 193-202   July 2017 -https://riviste.unimi.it/index.php/RIPS/article/view/8301/7919

---"Arthropods in amber from the Triassic Period"

Alexander R. Schmidt, Saskia Jancke, Evert E. Lindquist, Eugenio Ragazzi, Guido Roghi, Paul C. Nascimbene,

Kerstin Schmidt, Torsten Wappler, and David A. Grimaldi,

This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1208464109/-/DCSupplementa

---"Plant-feeding mite diversity in Triassic amber (Acari:Tetrapodili)"

Ekaterina A. Sidorchuk, Alexander R. Schmidt, Eugenio Ragazzi, Guido Roghi & Evert E. Lindquist

Journal of Systematic Palaeontology http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/tjsp20

To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14772019.2013.867373