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INSPIRATION
 
Amber always was an unfailing source for inspiration and object of delight. No wonder it is weaved with numerous myths, legends, rumours, beliefs, traditions, songs, poems, visual artwork... and even postage stamps not to mention scientific afflatus.
 
Indeed, there are interesting mythological tales people have created in admiration of amber during the ages.
 
"Found in many parts of the world, amber is nowhere else so deeply rooted into everyday life, folklore and art as in Lithuania". Fabulous and poetic scenery of Lithuanian white-sand coast is rich in amber that waves wash-up ashore. The more rolling Baltic Sea is the more amber it brings. All that has inspired to the creation of a famous rumor of Jūratė and Kastytis. The story glorifies a true love and explains the origin of amber through the prism of traditions and imagination of ancient Lithuanians. The heartbreaking love-story is too beautiful not to share:
 
Jūratė and Kastytis
 
Once upon a time, in her wonderful amber palace on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, there lived immortal Jūratė, the most beautiful of all goddesses. The emotion of human love was unknown and verdant to her. And the supreme god was Perkūnas, the Thunder.
 
Kastytis, the young and courageous fisherman, had a boat and was net-fishing in the sea. Jūratė, when reported on that, ordered her mermaids to warn the fisherman not to frighten her fishes and stop stirring up her clear waters. Surprisingly, Kastytis didn't obey the goddess' order, resisted all the disastrous temptations by the mermaids, remained unbroken and didn't stop throwing his nets into the sea. Beautiful Jūratė deeply fell in love with the brave young man who was decoyed into her amber palace. Kastytis couldn't withstand the astounding beauty of the gorgeous goddess and soon they shared a mutual love and had some happy time..
 
Sadly, nice things never last forever. Perkūnas, the Thunder, got furious after he learned Jūratė started a romance with a mortal fisherman. He released a lightning after lightning: destroyed the amber palace and killed Kastytis. The goddess was imprisoned by chaining up to the ruins of her castle. Jūratė often weeps bitter tears for her beloved Kastytis and their broken love. Her wail is so touching the sea-depths start to storm and roll rough waves that wash up amber, the remains of Jūratė's amber palace. The smaller pieces are the tears of the goddess; clear and pure as her fortuneless love was.
 
   
Jūratė and Kastytis by Nijolė Gaigalaitė, bronze, 1961. Palanga, Lithuania (R.V. Byenes)
 
You may hear a roar of troubled waves
When the evening lights are fading
Mysterious profound for a keepsake takes
And bursts the Baltic coast with amber.
From "Jūratė and Kastytis", the poem by Lithuanian poet Maironis (Translation by R.V. Byenes)
 

Love Duet from rock opera "Jūratė and Kastytis": music by R.Radzevičius, soloists: Aistė Smilgevičiūtė (female) and Marijonas Mikutavičius
 
A few more quotes from Lithuanian poetry:
 
"Amber, sap, honey and mead
Across the earth's heart flows pretty thick"
From "Lithuania's name", the poem by Lithuanian poet Bernardas Brazdionis (Translation by R.V. Byenes)
 
"I knew: you're deep and mystic
I knew, there's amber that you generously bring
I knew, sometimes you get upset and stormy
I knew your coastal charm that thrills a string"
From "The azure", the poem by Lithuanian poet Algimantas Katilius (Translation by R.V. Byenes)
 
"Only the sky still glows with colour...
Upon its thick and dark blue velvet
Like grains of amber stars are twinkling"
From "Night colours", the poem by Lithuanian poet Algimantas Baltakis (Translation by Lionginas Paūsis)
 
"On the globe you are an amber speck
With the scent of pinewood and the gleam of blood..."
From "To Lithuania" the poem by Lithuanian poetess Janina Degutytė (Translation by Lionginas Paūsis)
 
Salomėja Nėris, another Lithuanian nightingale glorifies her homeland:
 
"Small but lovely is my native country,
Like a bead of amber glowing bright.
Her old melodies arouse my wonder
And her patterned weave is my delight.
 
For a keepsake take this bead of amber
Cast by waves upon the Baltic strand.
Lithuania's name in all its splendour
Like the sun will sparkle in your hand."
From "Small but lovely is my native country..." the poem by Lithuanian poetess Salomėja Nėris (Translation by Lionginas Paūsis)
 
"Amber plait" is wide spread epithet in Lithuania to describe the color of girl's hair. A string of amber beads is the necessary component of Lithuanian women's national costume.
 
Amber ware always have been produced and the handicrafts are most developed in places where raw material is found: Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Russia. The most early amber articles in Lithuania have been found from Neolithic age (4,000 - 2,000 years before Christ). Amber jewelry fascinates people in the whole world. A small piece of amber was worth more than a strong healthy slave. But that was in Roman times. Fortunately, everybody can acquire and enjoy amber today.
 

 

 

Pendant of Baltic Amber with a silver bail. Made in Lithuania. (R.V. Byenes)

 
Perhaps different stimulus led to a buildup of world famous Jurassic Park, the 1993 science fiction film directed by Steven Spielberg, based on the novel of the same name by Michael Crichton. Dominican Amber plays a keystone role in that film as the dinosaurs were created by cloning genetic stuff extracted from mosquitoes that sucked dinosaurs' blood and then got encased in amber.
 

Discovering journey through a piece of Baltic amber - Find inclusions yourself!

 

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