Amber

According to the Greek mythology, the tears of the wife and daughters of the sun god Helios were hardened by the sun and became the origin of amber. Plinius, a Roman writer, who lived in the first century AD, called amber a golden burning stone, that can protect its owner from an evil eye. Amber has been connected with the sun and life, and it was believed that it had healing abilities.

In Stone Age Finland amber was used in amulets and small human and animal figures. Amulets made of amber were placed in graves with the deceased, and amulets shaped as human faces have also been found in front of the rock painting scenes. They may have been votive gifts thrown into the water. In Finland, seven late Stone Age head pendants made of Baltic amber have been found. Three of them were found in the context of Astuvansalmi (Mikkeli) rock painting panel, others are from settlements. These amber sculptures have been thought to represent some ancient deity. In the most of the pendants the faces are depicted from the front, one of them is a profile. The pendants were worn upside down so that when held in hand the face would be the right side up to the person who wore it. Amber was imported to Finland from Baltic area as raw material or finished items. Later, during the Bronze and Iron Age amber was used as beads and pendants in jewellery.

 

Amber_bead_with_ogham_inscription
Amber bead with ogham inscription at the British Museum From Ennis, County Clare, Ireland, 5th - 7th century. By BabelStone. Wikimedia Commons

Rock crystal/Quartz

Plinius the Elder (23-79 CE) believed that rock crystal was originally ice that turned to stone, because it could only be found near glaciers on the Alps but not on volcanic mountains. The word crystal comes from a Greek word that means ice.

Rock crystal has been used in jewellery especially in Europe and Near East, and it has been found for example in Neolithic passage tombs like Newgrange in Ireland. The Irish word for quartz, grian cloch means the stone of the sun.

Quartz probably also had some mythological meaning. Celts believed that rock crystal could restore or maintain health by placing the pieces of quartzs to the water and drinking it. Quartz and rock crystal pieces and objects were also placed in graves/cremations. Today it is still believed that rock crystal has some healing ability and that it can clear the mind.

In Finland, quartz or rock crystal has been found for example in Honkilahti, Munasaari burials in Eura, South-Western Finland. In Stone Age quartz was used to make tools and it was very common material in Finland. Rock crystal was also used in jewelry during the Iron Age.

Tallenna

Tallenna