Amber is formed from the resin secreted from pine trees. Over millions of years this gummy substance was compacted by the pressure of later deposits of gravel, sand, and other sedimentary materials that settled on top of it. It was turned into solid lumps, which were eventually dislodged and transported by geological activity to alluvial deposits on river banks and seashores.
A precious gemstone, amber is used to make earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and many other types of ornamental objects. Some amber contains the perfectly preserved remains of frogs, insects, or lizards that became stuck while the amber was still liquid. These fossils provide valuable information about life on Earth millions of years ago.
Amber has been known for thousands of years. Its English name is derived from anbar, the Arabic word for ambergris. Ancient Romans believed that amber would encourage those who wore it, so it was given to gladiators before battle. Other ancient people that amber would protect unborn babies and ward off fire. Amber is only slightly denser than water and will therefore sometimes float. When it is rubbed, amber develops a charge of electricity, and this can be seen in the way it collects dust.
Small grains of amber have been reported from lignite beds on the south bank of the Quesnel River. Transparent to translucent amber in shades of yellow, brown, green and black is associated with the lignite deposits at the Coalmont Collieries at Coalmont. Nodules are found in shaly sandstone along the Peace River Canyon, and sizable nodules off the Pacific coast on Graham Island of the Queen Charlottes. Other possible sources include Hat Creek and the Nechako River.