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Amber is the fossilized resin of trees. Ambers are golden orange in color. Amber contains insects (flies, frogs, lizards), moss, lichen or pine needles that were trapped millions of years ago when the resin was still sticky. "Amber is like a time capsule made and placed in the earth by nature herself," said David Federman, author of the Consumer Guide to Colored Gemstones. "It has helped paleontologists reconstruct life on earth in its primal phases. More than 1,000 extinct species of insects have been identified in amber." The amber, which was from the Lower Cretaceous period, was mined in the mountains of Lebanon south of Beirut by Aftim Acra, who has a collection of amber pieces containing 700 insects, including termites, moths, caterpillars, spiders, pseudo scorpions, and midges, which do, after all, suck their host's blood. The most famous ambers are found in the coast of Poland and the former USSR. Amber has had a number of medicinal uses attributed to it, but today amber is exclusively used for jewelry. Amber prices can range from $20 to $40,000 or more. "Stone Age man imbued amber with supernatural properties and used it to wear and to worship," says Mr. Federman. "Amber took on great value and significance to, among others, the Assyrians, Egyptians, Etruscans, Phoenicians and Greeks. It never completely went out of vogue since the Stone Age. Between 1895 and 1900, one million kilograms of Baltic amber were produced for jewelry."

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