CHAP. X. Of Amber or Electrum.
SOme think it to be the juice of Trees; but amisse. There stand no Trees by the Sea, that Gums drop from them, falling into the Sea, of which Amber is made. It is more certain, that it is a thick juice of the Earth. The most part is found in Borussia, also in Curlan∣dia, on the part of Sarmatia, but not so plentiful. It is taken in nets like fish. When the North-west or West wind blowes hard at Sea, they all run to the shore, with casting nets of yarn in their hands, Agri∣col. in l. de Fossil. The winds being allayed, but the Sea flowing, when the waves return back, they draw the Amber from the bottom; and an herb like pennyroyall, that growes in it. When they have taken it, they carry it to the Magistrates, who give them the weight of it in salt. Every Moneth it is said to be sold for ten thousand German Crowns. At Buchania in Schetland, a masse came to shore greater than a horse. The ignorant Clowns used it for Frankincense, Hector Boetius in histor. Scot. Precious figures are made of it; the Romans were so taken with it, that a little picture of it was more than the price of a living man, Plin. Histor. natural. Rubb'd, it drawes straws, if it be not smeared with oyl or water. Some seek the cause in a dry spirit: But, Scaliger Exerc. 104. s. 12. saw it draw a green Lettice▪ some in the super elementary quality: others think it comes by acci∣dent, Fernel. l. 3. Med. c. 4. For it hath piercing and sharp spirits, and withal glutinous and fat. Being attenuated by rubbing, they wax hot, and they easily pierce into light things, as they break forth, Libavius in lib. singular. When they meet with cold things, they congele; congealed, they return toward their beginning; for the heat is driven back by its contrary. If you make a fine powder of chaff, and iron, the Amber draws forth the chaff, the Loadstone the iron. In the shore at Puceca, of former times, they digged up some of ash colour; which when it was broken with iron, it drew unto it leaves that were upon the ground, and two foot from it, when they were blown up into the Ayr: The white smells the best; Because of the Plague, Chambers are perfumed with the scrapings of it, the sent lasts for 3. dayes; every thin piece of it burnt in fire, flames away.