Error: 3002 Source: GeoIP.asp line 56: File could not be opened. Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold
The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 Friday, October 31, 2014


Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold
This picture taken on November 15, 2012 shows Polish artist Lucjan Myrta showing dressers made with amber at his home in Sopot. AFP PHOTO/JANEK SKARZYNSKI.

By: Mary Sibierski

MIKOSZEWO (AFP).- As winter gales lash Poland's Baltic coast, the storms are spitting up a prehistoric treasure on the sandy shore. Here, amber is known as "Baltic gold".

Rich veins of this 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin running along the coast have fueled a centuries-old trade in the northern port city of Gdansk, making it the amber capital of the world.

Deftly crafted beads, bracelets and amulets dating back to the Neolithic Age attest to the timeless appeal of this sensuous organic treasure.

Combing local beaches for precious golden nuggets is a ritual here harking back centuries, if not millennia.

It has become a life-long passion for Wlodek Janowski, a burly 53-year-old retired mechanic and amateur boxer. A good storm often brings with it what he calls a "Baltic gold rush".

"With any luck after a gale, you can find a couple hundred grammes (seven ounces) of amber in just one day," said Janowski, pouring out about a dozen irregular pieces from a pocket in his chest waders.

Wlodek's treasures, ranging in colour from honey gold to dark molasses, can reach the size of golf balls.

The world's largest known piece of raw amber -- now kept in Berlin -- weighs 9.75 kilogrammes (21.5 pounds).

Experts say amber crafting first began in neolithic times some 5,000 years ago.

Today, the going rate for amber starts at 10 euros ($13) per gramme but can be much higher depending on the quality of the specimens. Pieces that include insects, small lizards or vegetation are rare and very precious.

Baltic amber originated in the primaeval coniferous forests of what is now Scandinavia upwards of 40 million years ago.

Over the eons, the resin that oozed from the trunks of ancient pines was fossilised and washed by a long-gone river into the Baltic Sea.

It comes in more than 300 varieties, some specimens sparkling like champagne with tiny prehistoric air bubbles, others swirling honey and butter colours together.

Pieces with a blue-green tinge are the rarest and most valuable.

Amber deposits in Poland and nearby Kaliningrad and Lithuania are estimated at 650,000 tonnes, easily the world's largest concentration.

Smaller amber deposits are spread across the globe from Canada to South America and Australia, through to Africa and Asia as well as the Middle East.

In Poland, most deposits lie around 90 metres (300 feet) underground and are costly to mine. But Kaliningrad, with its own plentiful amber caches closer to the surface, provides a less costly source of raw amber for Gdansk artisans.

--- Lucjan Myrta, the 'amber king' ---

Gdansk registered its first amber artisans guild in 1477. The sector flourished in the 16th to 18th centuries when amber treasures were crafted for the aristocracy.

Today, the city's amber sector is feeling the pinch of the 2008 economic crisis and has shrunk by more than half from a heyday a decade ago when it employed around 13,000 people.

"Because of the crisis, the largest ateliers have let go half of their employees, while many of the smaller ones have shut down completely," Mariusz Gliwinski, vice president of the Gdansk-based International Amber Association, told AFP.

But the city still boasts hundreds of ateliers producing amber jewellery and objets d'art, the unrivalled annual Amberif amber trade fair and a museum dedicated to the gemstone.

And if Gdansk is the world's amber capital, Lucjan Myrta is its unrivalled craftsman-king.

In his sprawling mansion in a leafy Gdansk-area suburb, Myrta, 66, has created an amber trove quite possibly second in opulence only to St. Petersburg's fabled amber room, which vanished during World War II.

Myrta is the creator and owner of what he claims is the world's most extensive amber art collection, boasting hundreds of pieces.

Among them, the world's second largest hunk of raw amber -- weighing 5.95 kilogrammes (13 pounds) -- and a meticulously crafted treasure chest standing 2.75 metres (nine feet) high, the only one of its kind in the world.

His carved amber "paintings" seduce with the fluid Impressionist style of French master Claude Monet or the voluptuous floral curves of Art Nouveau.

"I can't put a price tag on it all, it's my labour of love," he told AFP.

Plans are afoot for the entire collection to go on display in Russia, Saudi Arabia and possibly France.

mas/amj/gd


© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse

Wlodek Janowski | "Baltic gold" | Poland |




Last Week News

December 18, 2012

Moscow Design Museum opens with an exhibition of Soviet post-war design

Louvre boss Henri Loyrette to step down at the end of his current term of office

Exhibition offers unique chance to see one of Picasso's masterworks in an intimate setting

National Portrait Gallery in London buys artist Craigie Aitchison's own slashed self-portrait

Gail Albert Halaban reimagines famous watercolors by Edward Hopper in exhibition at Edwynn Houk Gallery

French actress wins case against mother French-Romanian photographer Irina Ionesco's explicit photos

Art dealer Dorsey Waxter appointed President of the Art Dealers Association of America

Works by Siobhan Hapaska & Stephen McKenna combined in new exhibition at Kerlin Gallery

The Whitney Museum of American Art celebrates the topping out of its future home

Bryan Adams 'Exposed' embarks on tour, Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas is first stop

New book shows uninterrupted series of photographs of North Korea's former leader looking at things

Rescued from a tag sale, Garrard centerpiece brings $32,500 at Heritage Auctions

Swedish Transport Agency says artist Fredrik Saeker can use painting as driving licence pic

Definitional Disruptions with Nel Aerts, Filip Gilissen and Hedwig Houben at Kunstraum

'Styling an American Family' features 1910s fashion at the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms

Art on the Underground collaborate with BFI to present films from the National Archive at Canary Wharf

The inaugural Ian Potter Moving Image Commission awarded to Angelica Mesiti

Contested Chinese seal auctioned in Paris for 1.1 mln euros

Dutchman launches life-sized replica of Noah's Ark

December 17, 2012

French art masterpieces from the Centre Pompidou travel to Shanghai for the first time

Hello It's Me, Goodbye: Andy Warhol's cinema opens at The Osage Art Foundation

Brueghel: The fascinating world of Flemish art opens at Chiostro del Bramante

The Russian feminist punk rock group Pussy Riot rattles elites in age of YouTube

Second part of the full survey of Joel Meyerowitz's career opens at Howard Greenberg Gallery

New works that examine the issue of artistic inspiration by Kiki Smith on view at Barbara Gross Galerie

Director Peter Sellars and video artist Bill Viola to present production of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde

Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2012: Largest international contemporary art event ever to take place in India opens

Saber-toothed cat fossils found near Las Vegas by California's San Bernardino County Museum

Bruce Munro's second-ever U.S. exhibit of his lighting installations will transform Nashville's Cheekwood

Made Wianta's artworks made from raw buffalo skins, mirrors and nails on view in Bali

Emirati artist Ebtisam Abdulaziz's first solo show opens at The Third Line in Dubai

Two new Solo exhibitions open at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston

Four Latin American artists explore the potential of found objects and basic elements of the built environment

Event tickets imprinted with works of art inspire giving

American artist David Adamo's first solo show opens in Berlin at MD72

Frank! Exhibition of newly produced works by Francesco Pedraglio at Rowing in London

First museum retrospective exhibition of the ceramicist Chris Gustin's work on view at Fuller Craft Museum

Moscow Museum of Modern Art opens exhibition of works of art from its collection

Art Dubai announces Global Art Forum 2013

December 16, 2012

Napoleon's abandoned palace in Venice shines again after $3.2 million restoration

Exhibition at the Groninger Museum is tribute to the peoples and cultures of the Nordic countries

Royal Academy celebrates Diamond Jubilee with gift of 97 works on paper for The Queen

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart offers a journey through two hundred years of art history

Paris's Notre Dame, the iconic cathedral at the heart of the French capital, turns 850

Galerie Lelong announced the completion of a major new work by Andy Goldsworthy: Stone Sea

Spain's cultural treasures on exclusive U.S. tour from the Prado, Madrid, to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

A chamber orchestra of 20 children from Paraguay play Mozart with violins made from garbage

Iconic film car, 'Rain Man' 1949 Buick Roadmaster Convertible, brings $170,500 at Heritage Auctions

New installation by Morgan Fisher reflects on aspect of new Aspen Art Museum design by Shigeru Ban

Marklin 'Chicago' glides to $264,500 at Bertoia's $1.6M sale of Dick Claus collection, Part II

Solo exhibition of new work by Kathryn Andrews opens at David Kordansky Gallery

FACT's final exhibition for 2012 is Winter Sparks, an interactive programme of works

First survey exhibition of Goshka Macuga opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

Visionary women launch ambitious endowment campaign with $15M in gifts

Mexico's Mayas face Dec. 21 with ancestral calm

The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga presents recent works by British sculptor Richard Deacon

Recent ceramic works by Elisa D'Arrigo on view at The Elizabeth Harris Gallery

First major solo exhibition in Europe of Yin Xiuzhen's work opens at Kunsthalle Dusseldorf

December 15, 2012

Video art pioneer Nam June Paik stars in Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibition

Yoko Ono picks up German human rights prize at Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie Museum

Exhibition of works from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection opens in Edinburgh

A masterpiece by Sandro Botticelli previously owned by the Rockefeller family will be exhibited in Russia

Norwegian artist Matias Faldbakken opens exhibition at Wiels Contemporary art centre in Brussels

Buhl Collection brings $12.3M - Highest ever total for a private collection of photos sold at auction

Smithsonian exhibition parallels the 1863 emancipation of slaves with the 1963 March on Washington

Film in Space: An exhibition of film and expanded cinema selected by Guy Sherwin opens at Camden Arts Centre

Stedelijk Museum presents first comprehensive Mike Kelley exhibition in two decades

Six weeks after, New York City artists seek help to scrub away superstorm Sandy's stains

Rachel Whiteread's Tree of Life voted best loved work of art of 2012 in a poll of museum goers

The Greensboro Collection, Part II, headlines Heritage's FUN Event, first major U.S. coins auction of 2013

Smithsonian scientists find that for every mammal species, the rainforest holds 300 Arthropod species

Aspen Art Museum announces $2.5 million gift establishing Nancy and Bob Magoon CEO position

Invisible Exports announces the New York solo debut of work and objects by Bob Mizer

Global Philatelic Library celebrates success and expansion

SFMOMA announces 2012 SECA Art Award winners

No bidder found for letters by 'Peanuts' creator

'Casablanca' piano sells in NY for more than $600K

December 14, 2012

Mexican archaeologists discover 1,000 year old cemetery in the State of Sonora

According to scientist from the University of Oregon, fossil find challenges tree of life as we know it

Sotheby's names President and CEO William F. Ruprecht as Chairman of the Board of Directors

Man jailed for two years for defacing Rothko work in London's Tate Modern gallery

Florida won't restore rights to famed American Museum of Natural History jewel thief

Terra Foundation CEO Elizabeth Glassman awarded French Medal of Honor

80-year-old Spanish botched fresco artist sells work on eBay for charity organization

Saffronart announces its Modern Indian Art Winter Online Auction 2012 taking place on 18-19 December

Henrietta Leon Girshman's Carnet de Salon leads Bonhams Russian Literature Auction

Tate announces groundbreaking £5 million arts award for under 25s funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Indianapolis Museum of Art commissions Spencer Finch for Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion

Spectacular British, Islamic collections headline Heritage Auctions event in New York

Beatles rock Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Sale; Exceptional prices achieved for Beatles items

Hermes rules at largest luxury accessories auction ever: $3.2 Million

New series of works on paper, videos and a mobile sculpture by Roger Andersson at Poppy Sebire

New, purpose-built Vancouver Art Gallery will benefit entire visual arts community

Shaun Odell exhibits at Jack Hanley Gallery in New York

Sweden's ice hotel, a work of art for the here-and-now

Vatican austerity means donated nativity scene

December 13, 2012

Yale University Art Gallery reopens $135 million renovated and reinstalled galleries

Scientists at London's Natural History Museum seek to solve mystery of Piltdown Man

Michelangelo's David-Apollo returns to the National Gallery of Art in Washington

AXA Equitable donates Thomas Hart Benton's epic mural "America Today" to Met Museum

Hans Christian Andersen's first fairy tale found in Denmark's national archives

Mick Jagger love letters written to American singer Marsha Hunt sold at London auction

Dallas Museum of Art's Razor by Gerald Murphy featured in U.S. Postal Services stamp collection

Bowers Museum presents award winning costumes in "Cut! Costume and Cinema"

Fine art, exquisite antiques from Southern Calif. estates highlight Don Presley's New Year's Auction

Bonhams walks on Moon as illuminating space auction reaches the stars

Leading Turkish auction house Antik A.S. to offer Osman Hamdi Bey's "A Girl Arranging a Vase of Flowers"

The IVAM reviews the iconography of the American dream in the exhibition 'America, America'

Michael Winner sale makes £1.1 million and new record for EH Shepard at Sotheby's

RM Auctions secures upcoming sale of Texas' distinguished Don Davis Collection

The Wolfsonian-FIU receives $5 million to increase access to collection

Musical clock once owned by Egypt's King Farouk sells for £385,250

Dictionaries define success at Bonhams

Top results for Dali, Signac and Anker at Koller Zurich

Sotheby's announces first ever selling exhibition of contemporary art from central Asia and the Caucasus

Far from the Shire, a Hobbit house in Pennsylvania country

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site