What is Copal

Amber (Resinites) of different ages are found in the Dominican Republic. Some can be as old as 40 million years (La Toca Mine. See latest studies: New York Times, October 29, 2006 ). This is still young compared with the oldest amber that originates from the carbon time and has an age of approximately 345 million years (Upper Carboniferous). Yes, Dominican amber and even Baltic amber are “young”, compared with it. The resins of these areas have extruded from trees (during the tertiary age Oligocene / Eocene 25-50 million years).

But what we call Dominican Copal is a still younger resin, also is found in the Dominican Republic, but its behavior is different from that of the “genuine” (old) amber. Besides the age difference, the basic fact is that Dominican copal is slightly softer than what is commonly known as “real amber” since it has not gone through the same timely extended stage of polymerization.

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Copal in History

Nowadays Copal is being used for jewelry and has a religious meaning to just a few. But Copal was known as “Tabonuko” to the Taino and was also particularly sacred to the Mayan and Aztec peoples. Matter of fact, “copal” is and Aztec word (Nahuatl: copalli) and refers to all tree resins -old or young- that have been employed as amber incense over the centuries. (Consequently, from this etymological point of view,  Baltic or the almost equal old Dominican amber, are nothing else but Copal, because they are used for incense even today. LOL.

But for lack of a better word, in modern times “Copal” is used to refer to semi-fossilized amber resins or sub-fossil amber. Basically, “copal” is “young amber” and “amber” is “old copal”.

The Native Indigenous people of the Tropical Caribbean Rainforest, the Tainos celebrated the longest day of the year, since they worshipped the sun as a their main deity, curiously similar to the Scandinavian tribes (Midsummer night).

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Buy Copal

Dominican copal is usually very clean and comes in round forms.

Medium size craw opal

Medium size Dominican copal

Small size Dominican copal

Small size Dominican copal

Dominican copal can also have interesting inclusions. We also offer those periodically.

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