The Amber Room was built in Prussia and given as a gift to Peter the Great of Russia in 1716. It was dismantled and taken to Konigsberg by the Nazis, where it vanished during allied bombing strikes on the city. A copy of the chamber in the Catherine Palace has been built by Russian artisans. This is not the original room but a replica.
The original Amber Room was a masterpiece of Swedish design and craftsmanship made entirely from amber. It was created under supervision of Carl Fredrik Adelcrantz for the crown prince of Sweden, who later became King Charles XII. The room was so named because it resembled the battle scenes in amber when light was reflected into the glass beads used to make it. The creation of the room took three years and cost over $200,000 (nearly $3 million in today's dollars). It was completed in 1710 but wasn't installed until five years later.
In June 1941, during World War II, the Nazi army captured the town of Königsberg (known then as Kaliningrad) and its surrounding area including the palace gardens. They also captured many items from the palace museum including the original Amber Room. After the war, no evidence of the destruction that the Germans caused to find hidden weapons or equipment came to light. All that remained were empty rooms with no sign that the treasures they once held had ever existed.
As the forces moved into Pushkin, Catherine Palace officials and curators attempted to disassemble and conceal the Amber Room. The ploy, however, did not mislead the German soldiers, who demolished the Amber Room in 36 hours, packaged it in 27 containers, and carried it to Konigsberg, Germany (present-day Kaliningrad). There it was reassembled on display for many years in a military museum.
In 1944, when Russian troops were closing in on Konigsberg, the Germans evacuated its population by ship across the Baltic Sea to Sweden. When they returned two years later, Russians had replaced the Amber Room with copies. Only one original panel remains; it is in a Moscow museum.
The story of the Amber Room has inspired several films, including an American film called The Last Days of Pamierowski's Castle released in 1956. This movie, which was also made in Russia with English subtitles, tells about a young woman who returns to her family home in Poland after being forced to work in a Berlin hotel during World War II. She discovers that her relatives have been living in poverty since she left and that her father has died. Her mother now wants to sell the house and move to another village. Before they can do this, a Soviet army officer comes to visit and falls in love with the girl. He convinces her parents to let him marry her so that they can live together in peace in another country. After much thought, the girl agrees to this proposal.
Amber is fossilized tree resin (not sap), and it has been prized for its color and natural beauty since the Neolithic period. Amber has long been prized as a gemstone, and it is now used to create a range of beautiful products. Amber is used as a component in fragrances, as a folk medicine therapeutic agent, and as jewelry. Modern scientists are studying how the chemical components of amber interact with living cells.
Amber has been used for many centuries in various forms of art, from jewelry to sculpture. In science, amber is used as a medium for microorganisms that grow within it; these include plants and animals. The inside of amber contains chemicals that kill or repel insects who try to eat it, and this property has been used to good effect by naturalists when cleaning specimens in museum collections.
A study conducted in 2015 by researchers at the University of Aberdeen found evidence that ancient Celtic priests wore amber beads as a sign of status. The study also revealed traces of pollen, seeds, insect legs, and feathers in the beads, which showed that people had used them as jewelry for decorative purposes as well as wealth. This shows that amber was widely used in Europe around 2,000 years ago.
In modern society, amber is used primarily as a material for jewelry. It is known as "the stone for eternity" because of this tradition of using it as an ornament. Amber is also used as a home decor item.