Drawer 10: Amber

“The Beauty of the Baltic”

My Apothecary Chest: in 1994, it arrived via container to California from Hong Kong, where I discovered beading during an ex-pat assignment there. Serves as the repository for my beads.  Handcrafted.  It has 52 Drawers.

2017 Challenge: Create a Necklace a Week, using only the Beads from one Drawer at a time. Voila!  52 Necklaces!

Week 10/Drawer 10: March 8, 2017: “The Beauty of the Baltic” 

I had a chance to discover amber early in my bead artist career. In 1996 my husband and I cruised from London to the Baltic.  Most port stops were well known places in Germany, Russia and Scandinavia; but squeezed into the middle of them was Estonia.  The first person we met as we strolled ashore was selling amber beads:  I declined since I couldn’t tell if they were plastic or amber.  So we poked around Tallinn’s quaint square and wondered what will we do?  I saw the Amber Market and cajoled my husband into looking.  I learned a lot about amber and bought several interesting strands.

Over the years as I got deeper into bead acquisition, I met traders who were always exotic looking and as colorful as their beads. They sold large pieces of amber and showed me how buyers checked to be sure they weren’t imitations by sticking a heated needle point near the hole.  True amber will melt slowly and smell sooty; false amber, which is usually the opaque younger “copal”, will melt quickly and be fragrant.




Amber is fossilized tree sap well over one million years old. Wearers of amber love the air bubbles, water, and remnants of plants and insects that can be found within the bead!

A dangle, Left Photo, top left dangle,  in this week’s necklace clearly shows an air bubble. All 13 dangles are from a gift of broken or outdated jewelry given to me by my friend Tess whose parents moved from Lithuania during World War II.  I made good use of the cufflinks and charms!  Thanks Tess!


Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia make up the Baltic States which are full of beautiful people, rich cultures, and plentiful amber.

This necklace is 31” long. Besides the dangles with their [unknown] stories to tell, it features a very faux plastic clasp with a sterling silver toggle.  The necklace consists of very large chips of a deep variegated color from the Lithuanian Market.  It will look nice with your sterling silver earrings. $115.

4 thoughts on “Drawer 10: Amber

  1. Gorgeous!!
    Keep up the good work Priscilla! I’m enjoying seeing your creativity and wishing I had your skills!

    Sent from my iPhone

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