Krakow, the Amber City
Amber has always been the native gemstone of Poland. The
country’s coastline once supplied ancient Greeks and Romans
with their precious ‘electrum’ via the famous Amber Road
that used to connect the Baltic Sea with the Mediterranean.
Nowadays it looks like amber jewelry and amber ornaments are
the basic commodity at every jeweler’s shop in any Polish
Krakow can boast numerous stores trading in amber, from
reasonably priced souvenirs to costly designer necklaces,
bracelets, and rings.
There are two words for amber in Polish, ‘bursztyn’ as an
everyday term and ‘jantar’ as a literary expression.
Shopping for amber in Krakow
Amber is available in many places in Krakow, from jewelers
to stands selling souvenirs. Gift shops offer genuine amber
at affordable prices but usually of inferior quality. On the
other hand, the city’s jewelers trade in amber as a sideline
so few of them stock a wide range of amber goods. And
although one shouldn’t expect knockdown bargains anywhere,
uptown jewelers often have better prices.
There are also a number of amber shops in Krakow’s central
Old Town district. They deal exclusively in jewelry and
handicrafts made of amber. Prices are hardly ever
competitive but such stores sell a wide selection of quality
amber goods, including unique pieces of jewellery and such
curios as amber chess sets and sculptures in amber.
Evaluation of amber
Amber is fossilized resin of the Cretaceous and Paleocene
trees. The Baltic amber can be as old as ninety million
years or as ‘young’ as thirty million years. It may contain
embedded objects of the same age such as insects or even
tiny vertebrates, fragments of plants, sand, etc.
Amber can be transparent or opaque or anything in between.
Its color may vary from ivory to all shades of reddish brown
to almost black. Sure, amber is pretty often amber in color.
The value of amber depends on the size in the first place.
And since amber is much lighter and usually cheaper than
other gemstones, even fairly big chunks of it may be used to
In most cases, transparent amber is more expensive than its
opaque variety. And visible inclusions such as embedded
insects make amber costlier by far. Also other apparent
imperfections – little bubbles, ‘clouds’, shadings, etc. –
don’t necessary decrease the value. Not seldom they actually
may make a piece of amber more unusual and/or attractive,
hence more valuable.
On the whole, amber jewellery is inexpensive. Amber itself
counts as semiprecious stone, priced accordingly, and it’s
usually set in silver rather than gold. So, compared to
other gemstones, esthetic appeal seems more important in the
case of a purchase of amber jewelry. Skillful use of amber,
its careful selection, ingenious and original design, and
impeccable craftsmanship greatly add to the value of amber
necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, and other baubles.
Hardness of the amber found on the coast of the Baltic Sea
is between 2 and 3 on the Mohs scale, i.e. it’s harder than
gypsum and softer than calcite. Specific gravity of genuine
amber ranges between 1.05 and 1.10.
Put in flame long enough, amber burns. Heated up to more 200
degrees Celsius it decomposes and yields so called ‘oil of
amber’. Also various chemicals have corrosive effect on
The lion’s share of the world’s production of amber is now
mined on the coast of the Baltic Sea between Poland’s city
of Gdansk and Russia’s enclave of Kaliningrad Oblast. Pieces
of amber can also be found on the seashore, notably in
Any following information has been provided by respective
on their sole responsibility.
is located at 2 Jana Street (50 meters from Krakow's Rynek Glowny central
square). At the museum we have collected unique exhibits to display amber's
natural beauty, to show just how special it is, to provide valuable knowledge
about its origin and the history of amber crafting and to make the public aware
of how beautiful it is and how diverse its forms and colours are. How amber
formed, where you can find it, how it was extracted, and what it was used to
make - these questions and many more will be answered by the exhibition called ‘Amber - Its beauty and history’, developed by the PAN Museum of the
Krakow's selected amber shops:
Boruni Amber Galleries are situated in heart of Krakow at 60
Grodzka Street and 2 Jana Street. Galleries offer customers
wide range of quality products, from the simplest silver and
amber earrings to the most beautiful pieces of jewellery
made by the best Polish artists and leading Polish producers
of amber and other gems jewellery. We present a free of
charge movie in Polish, English, German, Spanish, Italian,
Japanese, Chinese and Korean language, which reveals the
secrets of amber.
Addresses: 60 Grodzka street and 2 Sw. Jana street. Website www.boruni.pl
The city’s central
Old Town historic district,
turned into a pedestrian precinct, teems with stores of all sorts.
Tax-free Shopping in Krakow
Make everybody happy back home with a
souvenir from Krakow.
Enrich yourself with a first-rate work of art at a very
Tips on getting Krakow's bread and butter as well as
other dairy products, fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, etc.
Buying property in
You can still get property cheap in Krakow.