Amber carving at St Albans YAC
Members of our St Albans YAC enjoyed carving 'amber' at their recent meeting. They made some beautiful objects and jewellery out of a special type of soap, called Pears Soap, which looks very much like amber.
What is amber?
Although it is hard and shiny, and used to make jewellery, amber is not a gemstone like rubies, emeralds, sapphires and diamonds. Amber is actually fossilised tree resin or sap. People have loved amber for its beautiful shiny golden colour since Neolithic times. It has been used to make decorative objects and jewellery for thousands of years.
But some amber is much much older than that, and dates back to the times of the dinosaurs! The oldest amber that has ever been recovered in the fossil record dates way back to the Upper Carboniferous period (that's an eye-watering 320 million years ago!).
Our St Albans YAC members learned about real amber, and had a go at carving their own 'amber' into intricate shapes and designs. The members used Pears soap rather than fossilised tree sap! They used metal teaspoons to carve away the soap to create their designs, which were really clever and effective. Check out some of their work in the photo gallery below.
Did you know?
Did you know that Pears soap itself also has an interesting and long history?! It was first made and sold over 200 years ago, in 1807. It is named after Andrew Pears, who invented it, and it was made at a factory just off Oxford Street in London.
Unlike other soaps made at the time, Pears soap is translucent (which means that light could pass through it). It was – and still is – made from natural ingredients like glycerine, and did not use arsenic and lead like other soaps made at the time, which could damage the skin.
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