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Amber is such a unique gemstone that it has, not surprisingly, been the subject of a large number of myths, legends, and beliefs, all of which imbue amber with a special sort of significance and associations with magical properties. One of the most popular images that pervades much of the mythological literature about amber, particularly about the origin of amber, is that of amber as a woman’s tears. In the ancient myth of Phaeton, for example, who was the boy who flew too close to the sun despite his father’s orders, the tears of his sisters who weep after his tragic flight became amber as they dropped from the girls’ eyes and into the stream just as they learned of their brother’s careless death.
This is certainly not the only story in which women’s tears are turned into drops of amber, but it is the most popular and one of the best-known and this image of tears and amber is one of the most persistent throughout the mythology of amber. Additionally, the mysterious physical properties of amber have also made it a compelling object in folklore, medicine, spiritual, and ritual practices. For one thing, amber, when gently but constantly rubbed for a short period of time, can attract certain small objects because of the acidic content that has slight electromagnetic properties.
For this reason, amber has figured prominently in the symbolic practices of certain rituals, as well as in scientific experiments. In addition to the presence of amber in myth and even science, because of the healing properties that amber has been known to produce over the ages among people with both physical and psychological ailments, the image of amber has also been appropriated as a woman’s name in a number of modern-day fairy tales, myths, and science fiction tales. According the analysis of names, a woman named Amber can be expected to be a healer figure sought out by others for her mysterious curative powers, much like the amber stone itself. When reading myths, legends, and other tales, whether classical or contemporary, be aware of references to amber, and see how the images and uses fit into these categories.