Do you know where amber comes from? But this story has long since exceeded 50 million years.
It all started in the Paleogene period, when the thermometer scale began a sharp ascent towards total heat. Warming and humidification of the climate has turned the planet into a botanical garden filled with outlandish plants. Climatic changes affected the plants so that they began to pass resin through the bark. Oxidized by oxygen, the resin hardened and fell into the soil of the "amber forest".
The inexorable movement of the plates of the earth's crust has led to the fact that today the "fruits of the amber forests" are mined in 11 points of the planet. The largest reserves of solar stone are concentrated in Russia, in the Kaliningrad region: here, according to experts, about 90% of the world's amber reserve is located.
Members of Russian Amber, a creative association inspired by amber and other Russian natural resources, went on an expedition to the main amber places of our country.
What does the modern “amber” path consist of?
(Total 29 photos)
We are going to the village of Yantarny in the Kaliningrad region, which until 1946 was called Palmniken. Here, in 1871, the wealthy Mr. Becker founded the first enterprise for the industrial extraction of amber, opening two mines - "Anna" (1873) and "Henrietta" (1883). Both mines have been closed for a long time, and today the main production of amber in the region takes place in the Primorsky quarry.
The Primorsky quarry was put into operation in 1976 on the basis of the Kaliningrad Amber Combine. This is the only enterprise in the world engaged in the extraction of amber. The quarry mining period under the project is 90 years, and the average depth of the amber layer is 50 meters.
The most effective way to extract amber is open, using the principle of hydromechanization.
The photo shows a walking excavator ESH-10 (or “ashka”, as the prospectors lovingly call it). With the help of a ladle, amber-bearing blue clay is mined. At one time, the bucket of an almost 700-ton machine scoops up about 20 tons of rock.
Especially valuable large fractions are caught with nets from washed blue clay. The remaining slurry is sent via a pipeline to a processing plant located at the plant, where amber is cleaned from the host rock, sorted and transferred for further processing.
In July 2014, at the plant's second major field, Palmnikenskoye, new equipment was launched that works on a similar principle. The main difference: the installation is assembled in one place, and not spread over a vast territory, which saves the energy of the region.
This is the flooded quarry "Walter". The development of this deposit ended in the 70th year.
Today there are crystal clear waters and a diving center. In summer, tourists and film crews flock here: local picturesque views have already been featured in several films.
The Anna mine worked until 1931. They say that it is here, in the depths of the mine, that the lost Amber Room is located. However, this place is famous in connection with another reason - unlike the sadder one. On January 31, 1945, 4 days after the liberation of Auschwitz, from 3 to 9 thousand Jewish prisoners from the Lodz and Vilnius ghettos and Hungary were shot here. Now a monument to the victims of the Holocaust has been erected at this place at the expense of the Kaliningrad Jewish community.
Let's move to a factory where amber mined in quarries is processed. Three types of products are made here: mass production (about 60,000 units per year), individual carving and highly artistic products.
Amber is first sorted by quality, color and volume. Depending on these parameters, the fate of the rock is decided: the mined stone is divided into ornamental, pressing and lacquer.
Next on the plan is sawing and cutting.
Then the amber is drilled and polished.
Amber can be melted in a furnace. Depending on the selected temperature, a different color of amber is obtained. After the amber acquires the desired color and texture, the process of fine-tuning the amber to the desired shape and appearance is underway.
The last stage is the assembly of finished products.
The factory has a workshop where amber jewelry with individual cutting is created by painstaking manual labor.
From time immemorial, amber has been attracting talented artists, and we managed to visit one of them - the Emelyanov and Sons manufactory. It creates luxury items, exhibition works for the largest international furniture exhibitions.
Artists are taught directly at the manufactory: the main thing is talent and hard work, and in 10 years you can become an unsurpassed master. Today, about 20 artists work here.
Masters put real ideology into each created object, studying the future owner, his tastes, customs and, of course, the house for a long time.
The only fact that overshadows the fate of the solar stone in the region is the so-called "black diggers" engaged in illegal amber mining.
They tear holes and mine amber, thereby causing irreversible harm to nature.
Fortunately, their activities do not go unpunished.
Official website of the creative association Russian Amber