For centuries, Baltic amber jewellery has adorned royalty and nobility. The naturally beautiful gemstone is cultivated from fossilized pine tree resin that has been preserved for millions of years. This golden-hued gem is said to have healing energy and medicinal properties.
The best place in the world to find the highest-quality amber is the terrain surrounding the Baltic Sea. Ninety percent of the world’s amber comes from the Baltic, and one city in particular, Gdańsk in Poland, is touted as the amber capital of the world.
Meandering along the cobblestone streets of Old Town Gdańsk leads you to famed Mariacka Street, lined with old tenement homes, amber boutiques, and galleries selling “the gold of the north.” This historic street runs from St. Mary’s Church, the largest brick church in the world, to the Motława River.
Outdoor stalls brim with genuine amber jewellery from earrings to necklaces in varied colours. At Gem Cru, one of the boutiques selling amber, Nina Wesierska, who manages the shop, says her family has crafted amber masterpieces for three generations. “We have created an exclusive gallery where you can find not only classic high-quality jewellery with amber but also one-of-a-kind unique pieces made from select rare amber stones. Some are set in gold, silver, and even diamonds.”
A short stroll from Mariacka Street, the Amber Museum (Muzeum Bursztynu), in the city’s former prison, houses a vast collection of intricate amber works. It even has several examples of preserved insects and a lizard, which is incredibly rare.
Stormy weather, wind, and strong currents along the Baltic Coast near Gdańsk create the best conditions to search for amber on the beach. When the tide rolls in, it amber pieces often wash up on the shore. From shop to shore, Gdansk offers visitors the opportunity to take home an exquisite piece of pure amber.