When, how and where can amber be collected?
Most of us, who comes to the coast of Lithuanian Baltic Sea once has searched for an amber or at least has accidentally found a small piece of it. However, finding one small piece of the Nordic gold does not explain where such an abundance of amber articles comes from. It is true that amber is like fish – you need to know where and when to look for it and what the favourable conditions are. You also need to have luck.
When can amber be found?
The best time to look for amber is after a storm, when the worse weather has subsided but the sea is still disturbed and the waves are about one metre high. This is because amber deposits lay at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. During heavy storms, water currents stir up the sand along with stones, shells, grass, debris and amber, and then the waves deposit them on the cast ashore. When the waves are strong, searching for amber is too dangerous, and you won’t be able to see it among the foam anyway. When the sea gradually calm down, the surf continues to toss debris ashore before the retreating waves drag all these treasures back to the bottom of sea.
Amber collection techniques
Till the 13th century, coastal residents collected amber like ordinary holidaymakers do today – by gathering amber washed up onto the shore. Usually small pieces of amber are found in the seaweed tossed onto the beach. Under the right conditions, those who come to the seaside can collect a handful of small amber pieces.
Another way to collect amber is to catch it with skimming nets. More serious Nordic gold hunters use this method. They dress in waterproof clothing, immerse themselves in the sea and watch the water. The goal of such amber catchers is deposits of seaweeds and sticks floating in the water. Experienced amber catchers say that the bigger the sticks are, the larger pieces of amber can be expected. They observe these floating strands of seaweed – some try to spot amber in the deposits and catch it before the waves have dragged it away, while others choose to skim blindy the seaweed in hope of a successful catch.
What amount of amber catch can be expected?
Amber catchers say that in good conditions on the Baltic coast, it is possible to collect or catch a few hundred grams of small amber pieces at a time. Those who are really lucky sometimes get a larger catch – amber pieces weighing several hundred grams. Unfortunately, the latter are becoming increasingly rare because amber is in the limited supply.
Where to look for amber
The most experienced amber catchers explore the Baltic coast in the stretch between Karkle and Melnrage, where amber stirred up during dredging of the Klaipeda Port fairway is carried by water flows. However, if you just want to search for amber while relaxing on holiday, we recommend taking a stroll on the central Juodkrante beach after a storm. On the other hand, Juodkrante beach is long, so you may choose to ride on a bike. This is often done by experienced amber collectors, who explore tens of kilometres looking for pieces of the Nordic gold shining among the seaweed on the shore.
Moreover, if you are staying in Nida, then it is worthwhile to take a walk around Parnidis Bay. After all, the largest amber deposits lay in the Curonian Lagoon, so amber pieces are washed ashore here as well / not only by the sea, but also by a stormy lagoon.