a large block and the whole work of one entire piece, the vase, the
handles, which consisted of serpents, along with the tazza and the
extremely fine polish, displayed the great ingenuity of the master.
hollow altar of Oriental alabaster, provided with a lamp and intended
to show the remarkable transparency of the material, and of excellent
workmanship, along with a great many statues and groups of life-size
figures, were exhibited both in the London and New York Exhibitions.
gem was known to the inhabitants of remote ages; the Phoenicians sailed
to the Baltic (the Glessany islands), for the sole purpose of obtaining
amber, which they wrought into chains and other ornaments, that were
sold to the Greeks, who called the same electron. In the Trojan
war, as Homer reports, the women wore necklaces of amber. Its electric
properties were likewise known, for Thales was so much surprised at
that phenomenon, that be attributed it to a soul in the amber; and
Pliny says that amber is revived by heat, the nature of electricity not
being understood. It was also worn as an amulet, and used for medicine.
The ancients could not agree as to its origin: Philemon, according to
Pliny, classed it as a fossil; Tacitus, however, judgipg from the
insects held in it, concluded it must be a vegetable juice, whence its
name in Latin, succinum, or juice. Many naturalists have, until
lately, considered amber as a mineral; but it has been satifactorily
proved by Schweigger and Brewster, from its chemical characters, and
polarizing light, to be a gum-resin, and that it is the juice of a
tree, called the amber-tree, now extinct.
Amber occurs in nodules or roundish masses, from the