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Let us introduce you to an expert on inclusions

Anders Leth Damgaard

Baltic Jewellery News aims to listen to its readers and provide the most relevant information and news. We are glad to start this new cooperation with Anders Leth Damgaard. If you have any questions regarding inclusions we will try to do our best to find answers and share it with you in our next issue.

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My name is Anders Leth Damgaard, I am the President of the Danish Amber Association, and I have been specializing in the study of inclusions in different types of amber since 2008. You will read an overall brief introduction to the world found in amber in the following section. As you know, amber has an almost magical property: it is pretty much the only natural material, which can freeze moments in 3D almost for all eternity. While studding these inclusions you are taken back to the exact moment in the past, you are braking the time barrier and are able to study the planet and how life has evolved on the planet through the millennia. This material is as close as it gets to allowing a man to travel in time.

There are many different types of amber in the world and each type is characteristic of different parameters. First of all, it should be emphasized that each type of amber is from different periods in the history of the Earth. Besides age, the types also differ according to the type of resin, hardness, colour scale, etc. All types are valuable to science, but the less studied one type of amber is, the more interesting it is to science.

One type that is particularly interesting at the moment is the Burmese amber. Due to political unrest in Burma, this type has become available on the market for the first time over the past 10 years. So if you want to study, invest, and work with a very interesting type, then you should be looking at amber from Burma.

Inclusions in amber give science a unique window back to a long-forgotten time, a window into the past allowing scientists to study life from that period and from this gain a crucial insight into the marvel of evolution and how the planet has evolved through the millennia. When you first see an inclusion, you can use some simple parameters to assess and identify the inclusion. For example, you can ask mophological questions, such as: "How many legs does it have?", "Does it have wings?" and, if so, "How many wings does it have?" And yet precise identification requires many years of experience and, because the inclusions are rarely perfect and visible from all angles, you need to determine the inclusion and whether it is common or rare, based on few details, like wing structure, how the antennae look like, or other small details.

Inclusions, such as whole or parts of birds, mammals, lizards, are extremely rare as they are rarely encapsulated due to their size or strength. Since the resin is very thin-flowing, larger animals can most often pull themselves out of the resin. For example, the lizards found in amber usually show signs of being dead even before they were encapsulated in the resin, this could be due to a disease or because they have become prey, for example, for birds. In addition to this, inclusions such as snails, mushrooms and other forms of insects and plants, which do not naturally live close to the trees where the resin flows, are also classified as rare inclusions. We may emphasize that aquatic organisms belong to the group of rare inclusions as well.

I look forward to exploring and teaching you about the world found in amber in more detail in the following sections of this magazine.


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