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Japanese amber is a mineral which sources are located in the north part of Honshu, near the Pacific Ocean. It is similar to the Baltic amber because both types of amber share similar characteristics, as well as have similar use. Japanese amber is softer and easier to damage during treatment, that is why working with this type of a gemstone requires special care. Colorwise Japanese amber is similar to the Baltic amber and occurs in various shades of orange and different levels of opacity. Mostly it can be found in its dark-orange or brownish color with characteristic dark spots.


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Japanese amber sources location

Japanese amber can be found in many different locations in Japan. Its sources are located staring from Hokkaido in the North, to Kyūshū in the South, and have the whole area of 2800 km. One of the most important and the only working mine of this amber is the Fuji mine. Japanese amber is recovered there since the 6th century AD.

In 1938 up 13 tons of raw amber was recovered in the Fuji mine. Today two of the largest amber pieces recovered in that time are known to be a part of private collection (a piece recovered in 1927, mass: 19kg, size: 40x40x25 cm) and a part of collection of the National Museum of Science in Tokio (recovered in 1941, mass: 16 kg, size: 40x23x23 cm)


Japanese amber had been used to decorate clothes, art pieces as well as to produce jewelry for centuries. In Kaliningrad, during one of the exhibitions, a modern reproduction of the 6th-century decorative pillow has been presented. It was made of Japanese amber in various different shades of green (just like the original one). Other works of art were created by modern Japanese artists.


Works used:

  1. Andrew Ross, Amber, Harvard University Press, 1998
  2. George O. Poinar, Roberta Poinar, The Amber Forest: A Reconstruction of a Vanished World, Princeton University Press, 1999
  3. Faya Causey, Amber and the Ancient World, Getty Publications, 2011
  4. Langenheim, Jean, Plant Resins: Chemistry, Evolution, Ecology, and Ethnobotany, Timber Press, 2003
  5. Rice, Patty C., Amber: Golden Gem of the Ages, AuthorHouse, 2006