mexican amber from chiapas

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Amber Specimens From Chiapas, Mexico

The farmers excavate the steep hills in northern Chiapas until they find a layer of coal that contains "el corazon de ambar", for which they perforate holes into the "heart of the amber" by where they enter crawling into the dark tunnels with very little room to move. While older mines have greater access allowing the ambareros to enter walking for maybe thirty to forty meters. The 'ambareros' (amber miners) work on their knees, or seated and sometimes lying on the ground in total darkness, illuminating themselves by the simple light of a candle. Most of the ambareros that live in the communities near the mines, take advantage of the intervals between the harvest season and seeding time (from January to May) to dedicate themselves to the extraction of amber with hopes of improving their economic situation for them and their families.

The Ambarero's tools consist mainly of picks, shovels and chisels to look for the rare fossil amber resin. The work of the ambarero is a male dominated position, but sometimes the children participate along with their parents in the collecting and polishing of the amber. The families who do the mining are very wary of strangers and do not always sell to anybody that asks for the amber. It is a very traditional and spiritual stone for the indigenous people of Chiapas and they don't plan to let the government or foreigners exploit the stone anytime soon.

Old Stock
Fossil Amber Rough

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Fossil Amber Rough
Old Stock

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Mexican Fossil Amber
Rough Specimen

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Museum Quality
Amber Rough

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Honey Amber
Raw Chunk

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Mexico Fossil Amber
Polished Rough

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Currently rough amber is available only in limitedl quantities and is being sold by the gram. No longer can amber be purchased by the kilo, you are only allowed as much as you can carry out on your back, providing you are a Mexican National (foreigners are allowed to buy in the mercados, but are usually charged four times the price a Mexican National pays). Hurricane Stan left the entire area completely devastated in November 2005, with most of the original working mines being buried under many feet of 'now dry' mud - this has caused the price of amber to rise, making this rare prehispanic treasure even a more valuable treasure.

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