Amber from the Anthropocene: a test and dreams of a necklace


Amber is fossilized tree resin, which can sometimes contain animals or insects that became caught in the resin after it was secreted.  In this respect, it has unique preservational properties, and can preserve otherwise labile parts, and can be used for the reconstruction of  organisms  and  remarkably even the ecosystems  that they once occupied.  Insects, and notably bacteria and amoebae, have been recovered from ambers dating to a least 130 million years ago.

It is a reflection of the human condition, that for many of us this remarkable material is prized, not so much for its remarkable biological properties, but for its colour and natural beauty and it has been much valued from antiquity to the present as a gemstone.

This is developmental phase of a new project to make a beautiful necklace made from amber  containing embedded insects, not from 130 million years ago though, but with endangered  insects (like bees) from the present,  that is from the  Anthropocene .  It plays upon the possibility that insects that may soon become extinct may one day be revived from the necklace against the backdrop of our vanity, and also questions how we often misappropriate real  value.

This is a first attempt to transform tree resin into amber. You might just be able to see the embedded insect.

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