Gdansk, also known as Danzig, is Poland's largest port and a former member of the Hanseatic League, a confederation of dozens of cities established in the Middle Ages which developed a trading network across northern Europe and beyond; raw and worked amber and amber jewellery in particular being the most important commodities controlled by the city.  

 

Gdansk

The city earns its sobriquet 'The Amber City' due to the fact that eighty percent of the world's amber originates from the area, this Baltic amber being attested to be far superior to any other source. Craftsmen and artisans in the city have fashioned the soft, malleable gemstone since at least the tenth century, producing a large variety of objects, from simple polished beads, to amber necklaces, dice and amulets, and intricately worked jewellery using silver [please note: we only use hallmarked and certificated Sterling silver in our jewellery], producing the amber rings, pendants earrings and other amber jewellery which have been the inspiration for many of the products which are available for you to purchase today.

In later centuries the craftsmen became even more skillful and ambitious, not just making amber jewellery, but large-scale decorative pieces such as religious statues, caskets, elaborate candle-holders, clock cases and picture frames – often commissioned by wealthy patrons.

The seventeenth century was the zenith of the Baltic amber trade and industry, culminating in the construction of the Amber Room at St. Petersburg in the first decade of the following century. By the end of the Second World War not a single amber workshop remained in Gdansk though; however, since the fall of communism the industry has quickly re-established itself, and today the master craftsmen of the Amber City and their work enjoy a growing international reputation.

Currently there is an amber processing school in the city, ensuring that the current high standards of workmanship will be maintained and improved on in the future, there is a dedicated Amber Museum, an exhibition entitled 'Amber Through The Centuries' at the Archaeological Museum, and a Museum of Amber Inclusions where you can see spectacular examples of actual primaeval insects which were trapped in the sticky resin as the amber was forming fifty million years ago...and any visit to the city must surely include a look at the massive amber altar in St. Bridget's Church, another highlight being the Summer Amber Festival held during August; and, of course you could just spend a leisurely few hours wandering around the numerous amber workshops, craft galleries and tiny, quirky amber jewellery shops in the beautiful Old Town.

Additionally, the world's two largest amber and amber jewellery trade fairs are held in Gdansk, testifying to the importance of this unique and mysterious gemstone which has captivated and entranced so many people over the centuries.