The oldest traces of amber workshops in Gdańsk date back to the end of the 10th century. By then, amber goods and the mineral in its raw form were sold to other cities in Poland and Flanders. The 17th and 18th centuries mark the heyday of amber handicraft in Gdańsk, with local workshops crafting numerous amber art pieces commissioned by rich townspeople, nobility, clergy and kings of Poland. Artefacts made here reached royal courts all across Europe and were considered the most valuable diplomatic gifts for popes, tsars, sultans and caliphs, as well as the rulers of the greatest European nations.
Gdańsk is known as the World Capital of Amber and concentrates more than 70% of the world’s amber manufacture. Gdańsk-made products stand out with their contemporary form and are known for being of the highest quality. Every year, Gdańsk hosts Amberif and Ambermart, the most important trade fairs in the amber industry, as well as the Forum of the Amber Route Cities and meetings of the World Amber Council.
One of Gdańsk’s most inspiring museums is the Museum of Amber. Lovers of the decorative arts can take a stroll down the streets of the “Amber Fifth Avenue”: Mariacka, Długa, Długi Targ (Long Market) and Długie Pobrzeże (Long Riverfront), where several dozen shops and galleries offer unique amber jewellery and other ornamental items. The Gdańsk authorities also support the Amber Studio of the Academy of Fine Arts by taking part in the Trendbook project. Trendbook is developed in partnership with the International Amber Association and its goal is to organize information required for forecasting stylistic trends and using this knowledge in the design of amber jewellery. Public figures who visit Gdańsk receive amber gifts, with celebrity recipients including: David Gilmour, Günter Grass, Jean-Michel Jarre, Lura and Rod Stewart.