Some photos of our amber excavations in the Southern US in 2017 and the Dominican Republic June 2014 and March 2016
Some photos of our amber excavations in the Dominican Republic March 2014
Some photos of our last amber excavations in the Dominican Republic September 2012
Some photos of our last amber excavations in Asia January 2010 (new top secret location for now)
From Iturralde-Vincent and Macphee “The age and depositional history of Dominican amber-bearing deposits have not been well constrained. Resinites of different ages exist in Hispaniola, but all of the main amberiferous deposits in the Dominican Republic (including those famous for yielding biological inclusions) were formed in a single sedimentary basin during the late Early Miocene through early Middle Miocene (15 to 20 million years ago), according to available biostratigraphic and paleogeographic data. There is little evidence for extensive reworking or redeposition, in either time or space. The brevity of the depositional interval (less than 5 million years) provides a temporal benchmark that can be used to calibrate rates of molecular evolution in amber taxa.”
In the Dominican Republic, Hymenaea trees are called Algorrobo. The Hymenaea tree exudes vast amounts of resin which over millions of years of pressure hardens into amber. Generally amber is found because a landslide along a steep slope in the mountains exposes veins of black lignite. If the lignite contains amber it is gradually extracted by digging along the vein with picks and shovels. After the amber is found it is chiseled by hand out of the shaft walls, put into burlap sacks and passed out of the mine where it is separated from the rock by machete. Larger chunks of amber make it possible to view inclusions almost immediately by holding the amber up to sunlight to determine if a large inclusion has been discovered. Fossil bearing amber is polished locally.
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We have been collecting amber in the field and prepping rough fossil amber specimens since 1993. Photographs of our specimens have appeared in National Geographic, Nature, Science, Scientific American, Discover, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times and others. We have been featured in BBC’s production, PaleoWorld's The Amber Hunters. We offer authentic museum quality Dominican and Burmese (Burmite) Amber display specimens of rare insects in amber and also authentic rare rough unprepared amber for sale. We have traveled many times to the Dominican Republic where we have chiseled beautiful amber gemstones out of the lignite layers deep in the amber mines north of Santiago. We have excavated in the Palo Quemado and Los CaCaos blue amber mines and also in La Nueva Toca and the world famous La Toca amber mines way up in the mountains north of Santiago. For many years we have extensively collected mid Cretaceous New Jersey amber in the Raritan formation of central New Jersey and have traveled many times to collect late Cretaceous and early Paleocene amber in the Hanna formation of eastern Wyoming. We have collected mid Cretaceous amber in the Black Creek formation of eastern North Carolina and we have spent weeks collecting mid Cretaceous amber in the northern most Tundra of Alaska. Some of our collecting trips have been in October of 2003 to the western Aleutian Islands some 1000 miles west of Anchorage to explore and collect Miocene amber, August of 2004 and April of 2006 we were back in the Dominican Republic to collect Miocene amber from the Palo Quemado amber mines which have recently closed due to the miners finding little amber, we were back to the Dominican Republic in April of 2006 to video in the La Toca amber mines, and in August of 2007 we excavated in La Toca and La Bucara. We’ve collected Eocene amber in western Indian in the Cambay amber formation. We've done excavations in the Dominican Republic in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Most Recently we have just returned from 2 collecting trips to a Eocene amber deposit in the southern United States in 2017.
We have donated many hundreds of amber specimens to museums in the United States and have several dozen new species of insects in amber named after us. We have examined several thousand specimens of rough Burmese amber and have prepped many new Burmese fossil amber specimens. We have traveled to Europe with colleagues to examine unusual spectacular Dominican Amber specimens in private collections and we consider the amber curators of the museums in Santo Domingo, Puerto Plata and New York City our friends. Exploring for and collecting amber along with the examination and research of amber is our passion.