The earliest evidence of the use of amber dates from over fifteen thousand years ago by ancient central and eastern European cultures, in the form of religious amulets worn to ensure a safe and successful hunt, and beads and pendants probably for decorative purposes.

 

By about 8000 B.C. amber was being carved into small animal figurines at sites all over the region and by the time of the Egyptian pharoahs, people were being buried with amber objects among their grave goods.

 

Amber necklaces have been recovered from Etruscan tombs and jewellery incorporating amber was very popular throughout the Roman Empire.

 

At the turn of the eleventh century Gdansk (also known as Danzig) had become the centre of amber production. With the recent introduction of Christianity into the area, amber crosses had become very popular; as well as necklaces, rings and chess pieces.

 

In the sixteenth century, Duke Albert, the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Order was commissioning beer mugs, caskets, mirror frames and cutlery from local artisans, and the following century is considered to be the golden age of amber when distinguished craftsmen produced a wide variety of amber artefacts, culminating in the construction of the Amber Room in 1709.

 

The Baltic amber jewellery sold today is still produced by local craftsmen in Poland, utilising these traditional skills and techniques handed down through the generations and is the modern expression of a culture and history stretching back to before the last Ice Age.