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.
Dominican Copal can be very translucent and brilliant or have a soft silky sheen in varying degrees of transparency. In nature, it is generally lightly coloured but there are cases of intensely coloured copal nuggets, from yellow to brown.
Dominican Copal, like Dominican amber is still is extremely important to study biodiversity, bio geography, ecology and other related subjects based on its inclusions. But it also can be uses for jewelry and industrial purposes.
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