Reports

The world amber community is a wide-ranging group of people generally interested in amber, and yet it is also a narrow range of specialists who study amber and develop the amber business in their countries and provide for its international development.

The primary idea behind the international amber jewellery workshops, which have been held in Gdańsk since 2009, is to make amber an inspiration for designers from throughout the world – those who had never used this precious fossil resin in their art before.

Trendbook 2014+ is the fourth annual review of the stylistic trends that inspire jewellery designers in Poland.

Amber is a fossil resin classified as an organic mineral, crafted by amber craftspeople into a gemstone, an object of desire for jewellery lovers and collectors alike, and today also for researchers who find traces of long gone nature in it.

According to the end of 2011 figures, the geological resources of the amber deposits in Poland amount to 1118 tonnes (Szufilcki et al., Eds., 2012); these deposits are found in Holocene, Pleistocene and Palaeogene sediments.

Although the Ukraine has its own deposits of amber raw material, the foundations for a proper functioning of the amber industry in this country have only been in existence for a few years. The interest in amber products has been gradually growing on the local market, mainly due to the promotion which is a part of the project "The Ukrainian Amber World".
From now onwards it will be possible to transport Ukrainian amber to Gdańsk legally, instead of smuggling it. These changes to the law, although revolutionary, are not explicit.
Although the supply of Ukrainian amber has been one of the main sources for the industry in Gdańsk, the Ukrainian monopolist on the amber market is now facing serious problems due to... the lack of resources.

An unexpected gift of nature

A small north-western corner of the Ukraine, stretching along the border with Belarus in the area of the damp forests of the Polesie region, is full of amber deposits – perhaps not very high-yield, but very numerous and easy to extract. Polish and Russian scientists reported the presence of amber in the area of the former Kovel and Sarny counties, which once belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Second Polish Republic (between the World Wars).

The declaration of the Ukraine’s independence led to a significant growth in the interest in amber extraction. As early as in 1992, a presidential decree gave the state exclusive rights to manage amber resources. In 1993, the UKRBURSHTYN state enterprise was established in Rivne with the aim to extract and process amber.
A number of successive privatisations and reprivatisations of the Kaliningrad Amber Factory have not only failed to prevent the ongoing losses in the Factory’s business, but also led to an adverse effect for the entire amber processing sector in the Russian Federation and among the traditional purchasers of the raw amber abroad, especially in Poland. Amber output is falling, the mining equipment has not been replaced for decades, while the costs and keep rising.
Contrary to earlier predictions about a market offensive by attractive fossil resins from different parts of the world, Baltic amber, i.e. succinite, remains the only amber variety of any significance on the global market.
The concentration of Baltic amber (succinite) extraction in a small fragment of the Russian enclave in the Kaliningrad Oblast’ and the equally tiny area of the Ukrainian deposit near Klesiv, on the Volyhn and Polessye frontier, which together yield almost all of the raw amber supplies for the entire world market, accounts for the dominant share of the export from these countries to the countries which have the most advanced amber manufacturing bases, i.e. to Poland and Lithuania, and recently also to Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China.
Munich has the Hofbräuhaus, a place well-known to everyone. Not far away, under the arches of the Munich Town Hall in the famous Marienplatz, jewellery lovers can find something far more interesting, the Bernsteinladen, the world’s oldest jewellery shop. The coat of arms inside the shop proudly shows its date of establishment: 1884.