How Is Amber Formed?

Amber is a gem that is made by trees. Amber is made of fossilized resin, a substance given off by certain trees.

Usually yellow or brown, amber is a semiprecious stone, which means that it is valuable but not as valuable as a diamond, ruby, or emerald. Some of these amber gems were formed around the bodies of insects, some of them many millions of years old.

As a matter of fact, the oldest form of ant known is a tiny wasp-like creature found in a piece of amber. This ant landed on the side of a cone-bearing tree 100 million years ago. It got stuck in a glob of resin clinging to the bark. Unable to get free, the ant was soon completely covered by the thick, gooey resin.

Eventually, the resin a hardened and dropped to the ground with the ant still inside. It remained buried until 1966, when two rock collectors found it. Inside the clear, golden stone, the ant looks exactly as it did 100 million years ago.