The “Gold” of the North

BY AWAKE! WRITER IN POLAND

FROM ancient times, amber has been called the gold of the North. It was considered a commodity in ancient Rome. In fact, Emperor Nero reportedly dispatched a nobleman to purchase amber from Poland. What did amber traders receive in exchange? Gold and silver coins along with items for everyday use. It has been suggested that the amber trading route was instrumental in the spreading of Christianity to Poland in the early centuries of the Common Era.

Some believed that amber had magical powers. Hence, it was used to make amulets—supposedly to bring good luck, protect one from misfortune, and assist in hunting and combat. Amber was also employed in the worship of the dead. Flat disks, small ax heads, and figurines made of amber were used in solar, ancestor, and fertility cults.

In addition, amber played a significant role in folk medicine. It was believed that strings of amber beads worn around the neck would bring relief from head, neck, and throat pain, while amber bracelets would benefit sufferers of rheumatism. Various creams, balms, mixtures, and infusions of amber steeped in alcohol were also employed. Even today, some believe that amber has healing properties.

Amber is truly a credit to the Creator of all things, Jehovah God. With good reason, the psalmist was inspired to declare: “How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made. The earth is full of your productions.”—Psalm 104:24.

[Picture Credit Line on page 31]

All images: Dziȩki uprzejmości DEJWIS COMPANY; Gdańsk-Polska