emanate from the country
While Vilnius provides a good introduction to amber, the coastal town of Palanga with its squawking gulls and painted cabin houses is where amber aficionados head to. I strolled along the beach, under the L-shaped pier, keeping an eye out for odd-looking stones on the sand. A path through the dunes leads to the town's botanical gardens and the former 19th century mansion of Count Feliksas Tiskevicius, set among lakes and pine trees.
The mansion houses the Palanga Amber Museum, the largest collection of amber in the world. Among its 29,000 exhibits is the Sun Stone - a chunk of amber weighing nearly 4kg.
But it's the museum's collection of inclusions that's the main attraction. To the accompaniment of booming music reminiscent of a film score, I gazed with grotesque delight at spiders with splayed legs, contorted wasps, cockroaches and ants - all suspended in time, in globules flecked with gold.
Albertas Petkevicius, the chairman of the Palanga Guild Of Amber Masters, has a workshop next to the park. He showed me how amber is cut, ground and polished, while warning me, at length, about fakes.
To read the full story download it here.