The Story of Dominican Amber and Why it’s Special

The Story of Dominican Amber and Why it’s Special

During the age of discovery, when the Spanish first arrived on the island now known as Santo Domingo, the Taíno people peacefully welcomed them, offering them gifts of the land. The fate of the Taínos at the hands of the Spanish would be written about for centuries, despite the gifts and treasures they had offered. Among the gifts was what is now known as Dominican Amber; a rarer, more colorful, and more fossil-dense stone than the coniferous amber familiar to Europeans, and one of the Taínos' last remaining treasures of an origin that traces its roots to 40 million years in the past.

Dominican Amber comes from the fossilized resin of an extinct leguminous tree's sap called Hymenaea Protera. While the Spanish colonizers were involved in its trade, their mining efforts on the island were primarily focused on the island's abundant gold deposits, leaving the extraction and mining of amber to future generations in today's Dominican Republic.

Being based in the Dominican Republic, Bleu Ambr pieces made with Dominican Amber are mined carefully by hand in the Septentrional Mountain Range in the north of the island. The delicate process of mining amber in the Dominican Republic requires a lot of skill, patience, and courage.

Unlike Baltic amber, which can be extracted by eroding the earth, Dominican amber must be mined in a long and dangerous manual process that involves miners going deep underground in tight tunnels and carefully digging dirt away so as to not destroy any of the amber. Mines are around 60 meters deep (about 22 stories) and only operational deep in the dry season since flooding and the risk of tunnels collapsing substantially increase with rainfall. This means that the window of opportunity to extract amber is very short, up to a couple of weeks at a time, and in many cases the miners return empty-handed. There is no guarantee that digging a mine will result in the extraction of amber. If amber is extracted, it is cleaned, cut, polished and made ready to be crafted into products.

Because the process of extracting amber from the earth is so dangerous and methodical, we are very selective about sourcing our amber ethically. We are incredibly grateful to the miners who tirelessly explore the underground to uncover the treasures of an ancient time hidden underground. The beauty found in Dominican Amber's diverse array of colors and fossilized artifacts does justice to the hard work done by miners and the legacy of the Taíno people who first admired it. We see the story of an extinct ecosystem, the beauty of an extinct population, the courage of the miners to extract it, and the artistry of the craftsmen who immortalize them all.

Today, Dominican Amber has drawn numerous jewelers and researchers, as well as inspired popular media like Jurassic Park. It’s incredibly beautiful and rich, capable of telling stories of its own and connecting with us. Because of that, amber is one of the centerpieces of Bleu Ambr’s collection of timeless pieces; passionately crafted and lovingly presented, each with its own personality.

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