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Mauritania/Morocco/Sudan, Necklace from Pearls of Artificial Amber

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Mauritania/Morocco/Sudan, Necklace from Pearls of Artificial Amber (obverse) Mauritania/Morocco/Sudan, Necklace from Pearls of Artificial Amber (reverse)

Amber is a fossil resin whose age between 30 and 130 million years depends on its natural mineral deposit. Amber has always been a very popular merchandise. Phoenicians and Greeks, Scythians and Egyptians, Balts and Slavs valued it as jewelry or incense. The Romans had a special liking for it: they drank from beakers made of amber, wore it as jewelry or turned it into objects of art, burned it for its fragrance and rich women even died their hair with it. At the time of the Crusades trade with amber revived: Amber coming from the north was reloaded in Venice and from there shipped to the Maghreb and Egypt. Since then, amber has been used as jewelry and means of exchange especially by the Berber tribes of northern Africa. Today, however, most of the amber trade beads are made from synthetic resin, which is difficult to distinguish from genuine amber.

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