In the year 1493, Christopher Columbus partook on his 2nd trip to the region known as the West Indies. When he first arrived there, he went to La Hispaniola. The Taino Indian chief surprises Columbus by giving him Amber. A little bit later, around 300 pounds of Amber is discovered in one big mass.
Some experts believe that Amber found in Northumberland, United States could be as much as 345 million years old. The Dominican Amber is believed to be as much as 40 million years old, while the Baltic Amber is 50 million years old. In comparison, the Dominican and Baltic Amber are still young.
Clearly, age is not a factor. Baltic amber has succinic acid in it, which gives it the nickname “succinite.” This amber comes from the coniferous trees’ resin. Dominican Amber is “retinite” and contains no succinic acid, which is why you don’t call it a succinate. Dominican Amber is a tree resin that is fossilized and comes from an old relative of the “algarroba” tropical species. Scientists claim that measuring succinite does not matter when identifying a Baltic amber piece. It just determines how degraded it is. Unfortunately, the lobby tells the public just the opposite.
Ever since Christopher Columbus discovered La Hispaniola island, people have known about Dominican Amber existing there. But the mines on the island were not a big amber source until 50 years ago. However, there are still people visiting the island each year who are not aware of this amber existing there. This has to do with the lack of publicity about it. Despite Columbus learning about it 500 years ago, there are some people of modern times who still need to discover it for themselves apparently. Even some native Dominicans are unaware of the amber.
Dominican Amber is less available to people than Baltic Amber from the outside. This is what makes Blue Amber seem so rare. You will not see supermarkets or flea markets selling amber jewellery, that’s for sure. Blue Amber never gets enhanced or treated like other gems do. You can only get Blue Amber in its original form as if it was just taken out from the mines.
The Mining Sites for Dominican Amber
Northern La Cordillera Septentrional, Eastern Sabana, and Eastern Bayaguana are locations in the Dominican Republic where you can find mining sites for Dominican Amber. In the north, there are clastic rocks which are comprised of amber. Any sandstone found in an environment with deep water will have some of the strongest and oldest amber pieces that you will ever find.
In the mountains, the amber is firmly fixed into a lignite sandstone layer. This means that holes need to be dug around the cliffs on its sides. The miners only have old-fashioned basic tools to perform their work. This puts their lives at risk every day.
The south-eastern area of Sabana and Bayaguana has amber in it too. This amber is a bit soft and goes through oxidation once it is removed from the mines. The east location has sediment which is comprised of rich sandy clay lignite. There is amber inside of this formation too.
Both locations appear to have shared an identical sedimentary basin at one point. This became disrupted as the major faults had extensive movements along them.
The public is not allowed to view the Dominican Amber mines. Be aware of anyone trying to offer their services as a guide to the mines. They are probably just looking to scam you. Besides, it is dangerous to even access the mines in the first place. No guide can give you the safety and insurance that you would want to have.