Common name: ambergris
Botanical name:
Scientific name: Ambre gris
English name:Ambergris
Arabic name:عنبر اسُود
Hindi name: ambra एम्बरग्रीस
Urdu name: عنبراشب

P. catodon Linnaeus, 1758
P. microps Linnaeus, 1758
P. tursio Linnaeus, 1758
P. australasianus Desmoulins, 1822
P. australis Gray, 1846

 

 

Règne: Animalia
Embranchement: Chordata
Sous-embr: Vertebrata
Classe: Mammalia
Infra-ordre: Cetacea
Micro-ordre: Odontoceti
Super-famille: Physeteroidea
Famille: Physeteridae
Genre: Physeter

Ambergris is a very unusual material. The origins of this mysterious substance (known variously as ambergris, grey amber, anbar) 

History

Ambergris has always been considered an imperial item of commerce.
Since the dawn of time the ambergris fascinates men, its history is characterized by the mystery, its origin having been long ignored.
2000 years BC, the Chinese already knew ambergris under the name of “Lóng xián xiang” which means “perfume of the dragon drool”, and which was supposed to come from dragons sleeping at sea on rocks and slobbering in the ocean.

Chemical composition

Under the action of seawater, sun and air, chemical processes degrade amberine into a mixture of compounds some of which are odorless while others, including ambrox, are responsible the characteristic smell of amber.

Chemical composition:

Ambergris is therefore a waxy material of animal origin that is completely rot-proof and insoluble in water.
It melts from a temperature of 62 ° C.
Its composition may vary depending on its origin, but it is mainly composed of amberine and epicoprosterol, both of which are odorless.

Shapes:

Although oval and rounded shapes tend to predominate; ambergris has a propensity to surprise with even the most unusual shapes and forms increasing the difficulty of identification.

The action of the water tends to roll the ambergris leveling out the surface to a surprisingly smooth finish in some cases.

Ambergris cures as it floats in the ocean becoming lighter in colour and in weight as it does so.

Although oval and rounded shapes tend to predominate; ambergris has a propensity to surprise with even the most unusual shapes and forms increasing the difficulty of identification.

Colours and Textures:

Pieces which have been floating in the ocean for a long time develop a white coating on the outside surface (oxidation) which may be powdery and fragile or even quite thick and hard (like thick wrinkled shell).

A typical appearance is of a mixed surface colour with powdery white patches over dark grey, black or brown surface colours beneath

Inside, ambergris is often brown or grey in colour although it can range from jet black, brown to light or dark grey and more rarely off white or cream.

Definition of ambergris:

a waxy substance found floating in or on the shores of tropical waters, believed to originate in the intestines of the sperm whale, and used in perfumery as a fixative۔