If you have a piece of carved Dominican amber, you do have something special. Dominican amber is old and hard and craftsmen all over the world appreciate its excellent quality. And if it has been carved by hand by a true master of trade, it is a precious and rare work of art.
Let me explain why: because there is very little of it therefore it is RARE in the true meaning and is not the amber sold all over the world. It is not the amber you will see in the Department store or the Supermarket next door or at the flea market in your neighborhood, where you definitely will find Baltic amber version.
Dominican amber has not been known as much as Baltic amber. Baltic amber is from the “old” European continent and therefore, publicity that has been going on for several thousand years, since the times of the old Celts.
And Dominican amber? Although its existence has been known since the discovery of the island “La Hispaniola” by Christopher Columbus, Dominican amber mines are only a major source of amber during the last 80 or so years. It is from the “new” continent and the ancient Greeks and Romans had no idea of its existence.
Is there a difference between one and the other?
According to scientists, Baltic amber is with up to 50 million years a bit older than Dominican Amber with up to 40 million years (See New York Times, October 29, 2006). Dominican amber comes naturally in amber, green, red, black and blue and everything in between. Baltic amber in amber and also in a beautiful cream and white, but most other colors need to be achieved through chemical and physical enhancement.
Baltic amber is “succinite”, from resin of coniferous trees. Is contains succinic acid, therefore the name. Dominican Amber is not “succinite” but “retinite”. It is fossilized tree resin from an ancient relative of a tropical species called “algarroba” (lat.: Hymenaea Protera). Which for some seems to be important -at least as a commercial argument- while for some scientists this is not considered as very important, but just a result of degradation: Y.Shashoua, National Museum, Denmark, 2002.
Unlike diamonds Blue Amber actually is an investment whose value increases over time. True, there will never be a well-known Blue Amber market in the likes of diamonds, but that is not a bad thing, to the contrary. And if it is not only Dominican, but Dominican Blue amber, it keeps it far apart from any other gem and definitely from any other amber, be it carved or not.