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Sumatran Amber - the Largest in the World

Plamena M.Plamena M.
Sumatran Amber

The Copenhagen House of Amber was recently included in the Guinness Book of World Records for housing the single largest chunk of amber in the world - the Sunstone.

It was found by miners in 2014 in the region of Dharmasraya in West Sumatra. The Sunstone is Sumatran amber, nontransparent and brown in color. But when placed under solar or ultraviolet light it changes from one shade of blue into another.

The find has truly unique characteristics. After it was discovered it was sent to the Austrian Geological Society for analysis. Received data indicates that the stone is 15-25 million years old, weighing a total of 104.5 lb (47.5 kg). It measures a colossal 22 1/2″ (57.5 cm) x 24 1/2″ (62 cm) x 14 1/2″ (37 cm).

Before this chunk of amber was found, the largest amber thus far weighed 99 lb (45 kg) and was found on the island of Borneo. But during its excavation, that particular amber broke apart into 4 pieces.

The oldest amber found so far is 120 million years old but in very small fragments. Unlike it, the Baltic amber, which is about 40 million years old, was discovered in very large blocks, sometimes weighing up to several pounds.


Initially, amber was simply tree sap released from various species of trees thousands of years ago. The examples of amber known to us today include sap from species of trees that have long been extinct.

Amber has always been among the spectacular natural formations that humans have admired. Its warm colors spark admiration, while the things it has trapped and brought to us to the present from the distant past spur curiosity. Amber stones are a kind of source for stories from the past, tied to more than 1 or 2 legends.

One of the more popular among these is about Phaethon, son of Helios - the sun god. One day, Phaethon managed to convince his father to let him drive his chariot among the skies. But when he got in, the horses noticed that it was not their master holding the reins. And began running wild. The blazing rays of the sun scorched the African land and darkened the skin of its people.

To stop the chaos, Zeus struck Phaethon with a thunderbolt. The sisters of the ingloriously fallen, the Heliades, complained about their brother's fate, cursing the gods. As punishment, they were turned into poplar trees. To this day, they continue to cry, their tears turning into sap. Eventually, it transforms into amber.