Gill Illustrated her talk with slides and souvenirs from her holidays.
Amber is a fossilised tree resin that is easy cut by hand or with a flexible shaft tool. ? ?Usually a rich yellow but can be red or blue. ? If it happens to have an insect trapped in it, then the value rockets. ? ? We were shown some photographs of the amber rooms in St Petersburg where whole rooms are covered in carved amber. ? ? Warning – There is fake amber on the market.
Jet ?is fossilised Monkey Puzzle tree, rather like coal. ? ?It has been used for jewellery since Roman times, became very popular in Queen Victoria’s reign, and has come back into fashion through the Goth movement. ? ? It?is illegal to?mine it, but it can be picked up (if you are very lucky) from the beach after storms. ? ? It is soft but brittle and takes a high shine.
Jade comes in various colours green, lavender, red, yellow, white?and black. ? ? ?It is very hard and can only be shaped with abrasives. ? It?has been carved in?China from the Neolithic Period (c. 3000?2000 b.c.e) onward. ? In early times the?abrasive used was sand which can be worked into the jade with a wood or copper tool, now diamond tipped tools are used. ? We were shown a carved ball with more balls inside,?and Nick Pantildes explained how this was done .
Ivory from elephants is now a restricted material, so most examples?date from before the laws about sale of ivory were enacted. ? ? Ivory can also be obtained from ?walrus, and mammoths. ? ? ?There is also false ivory which is a resin based material. ? ?One interesting fact was that elephants are evolving, and tusks are getting smaller because the gene pool for the larger tusked elephants has been reduced by poaching.