The Colors Of Amber

Amber stone colors vary one from another. Contrary to common belief, the amber stones used in jewelry do not only have a natural yellowish color. Basically, amber already comes in different natural colors, and there is no need for jewelers to treat the stones artificially in order to create colorful jewelry.

Amber stone colors are influenced by the environment, water, soil and resin. Climate changes and chemical reactions or residuals trapped inside the tree resin contribute to the color palette of amber as well.

White Amber

White amber is especially rare (about 1-2%). It is also called “bony” or “royal white” for its unique texture.  It is extremely hard to find pure white amber stones and most of them contain impurities. White amber is praised for the decorative swirls in butterscotch, grey, green, honey or blue hues which create one-of-a kind decorative effects. White amber is never treated as it is praised for its natural beauty. Why does it have such a light creamy color – due to mixing of resin with chalk.  This type of amber differs from succinites not only with its composition. Scientists, particularly, Savkevich (1970) suggested that the “golden amber” (succinite) predominating in the Baltic area has been primary buried for some time in forest soil and then washed out and transported to its definitive burial place while “rotten amber”  was rapidly buried in deltanic sediments without any significant processing in forest soil or litter. This amber is found in the deepest sediments of the Cretaceous period, what means it has more than 100 million years!

Yellow Honey Amber

Honey amber is by far the most common color. This orange hue can be either dark or light and have many inclusions or none. Some of honey amber is so dark in color that people sometimes mistake it for cherry or cognac amber. Conversely, some of amber is so light and bright that people mistake it for white amber. Honey amber is known as “sunshine” to Lithuanians, and it is sometimes called “Stone of the Sun” in different languages. 

The bright, warm glow is extremely inviting and a very popular color. Amber of this color often looks as if it is filled with translucent light. This pleasing color complements earth tones very well, such as lighter shades of brown, linen, cream etc.

Butterscotch Amber

Butterscotch amber is distinguished by its variety of textures and natural embellishments. It can present a different degree of opaqueness with some areas of transparency. The color of butterscotch amber varies from white to dark yellow, and all hues in between…

Butterscotch amber is often referred to as royal amber because there was a time in history when only the rich elites could afford to own it due to its level of scarcity. Today, with modern mining techniques, butterscotch amber is not as rare as it once was, but it is still considered to be the rarest form of amber.

Brown Cognac Amber

Brown amber stones are similar to standard yellow ones, only darker in terms of hues and tones. They are of course extremely common and inexpensive, but they look great on silver jewelry, adding a rich, deeply defined look. 

The tempting color of cognac amber is like the color of a fine fruit brandy, or a superior European tea. Rich color, with just a hint of burgundy in the deeper shades. This color is bold and complements black very well when accessorizing, as well as blue, green, cream etc. By the same token, its contrast with white is also quite striking.

Green Amber

Green amber is very popular.  Through, it only accounts for about 2% of the amber, but there is enough of it found to supply the world.  It is a very rare type of amber, because it doesn’t need to be processed, so it’s used for making expensive jewelry and also purchased by collectors. The cost goes up as the shade gets greener, or any other color, deepens on the stone.  Its shades are ranging from the light-green to the nearly emerald color. Such amazing amber colors are obtained by soil and plant particles, that have been caught in a resin millions of years ago.Lighter amber, or yellow-green amber is less expensive. Green amber can also be treated by heating it and it will become even more beautiful as it becomes more transparent.
Some cultures throughout history have revered green amber stones not only for their beauty, but they also believed that these stones would bring them good fortune and immortality in some cases.


Black Amber

Black amber accounts for about 15% of the amber found. However, it is not actually pure fossilized tree resin.  It has been mixed with the remains of the tree from which it came or other plant matter. That does not make it any less appetizing. When the specimen is made up entirely of carbonized coal, so there is little difference between jet and black amber. Consequently jet is sometimes called black amber and visa versa. When black amber is held up to the light, it will usually be another color. The back-light shines through the amber and a different color will show. This color is usually a dark red, blue, or brown. It is criticized that the black amber is not truly black because of this property and some people deny that black amber even exists. The cost of black amber is slightly more expensive than the common amber, but there is also not much of a demand for it.