This catalogue presents a group of remarkable amber carvings from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection—the second largest body of this material in the United States and one of the most important in the world. The fifty-six Etruscan, Greek, and Italic carved ambers date from around 650 to 300 B.C.

Offering a full description of each piece, including typology, style, chronology, provenance, condition, and iconography, the catalogue is preceded by a general introduction to ancient amber. Through exquisite visual examples and vivid excerpts from classical texts, this book examines the myths and legends woven around amber—its employment in magic and medicine, its transport and carving, and its incorporation into jewelry, amulets, and other objects of prestige.

This open-access catalogue is available for free online and in multiple formats for download, including PDF, MOBI/Kindle, and EPUB. A paperback reference edition is also available for purchase.

Citation Information


Causey, Faya. Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012. https://www.getty.edu​/publications​/ambers/.


Causey, Faya. Ancient Carved Ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum. J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012. https://www.getty.edu​/publications​/ambers/. Accessed Aug. 26, 2019.

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Revision History

Any revisions or corrections made to this publication after the first edition date will be listed here and in the project repository at https://github.com/thegetty/ambers, where a more detailed version history is available. The revisions branch of the project repository, when present, will also show any changes currently under consideration but not yet published here.

January 10, 2012

  • First edition

November 26, 2019

  • Minor text corrections
  • Object provenance added
  • Migration of digital edition to new platform
  • Release of new paperback and ebook editions

Other Formats

© 2012, 2019 J. Paul Getty Trust


Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Figures 3, 9–17, 22–24, 28, 32, 33, 36, 38, 40, 51, and 54 are reproduced with the permission of the rights holders acknowledged in captions and are expressly excluded from the CC BY license covering the rest of this publication. These images may not be reproduced, copied, transmitted, or manipulated without consent from the owners, who reserve all rights.

Published by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
Getty Publications
1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 500
Los Angeles, California 90040-1682

First edition:
Marina Belozerskaya and Ruth Evans Lane, Project Editors
Brenda Podemski and Roger Howard, Software Architects
Elizabeth Zozom and Elizabeth Kahn, Production
Kurt Hauser, Cover Design

2019 editions:
Zoe Goldman, Project Editor
Greg Albers, Digital Manager
Maribel Hidalgo Urbaneja, Digital Assistant
Suzanne Watson, Production
Claire L. Lyons, Curatorial Liaison

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

  • Names: Causey, Faya, author. | Maish, Jeffrey, contributor. | Khanjian, Herant, contributor. | Schilling, Michael (Michael Roy), contributor. | J. Paul Getty Museum, issuing body.
  • Title: Ancient carved ambers in the J. Paul Getty Museum / Faya Causey ; with technical analysis by Jeff Maish, Herant Khanjian, and Michael Schilling.
  • Description: Los Angeles : The J. Paul Getty Museum, [2019] | Includes bibliographical references. | Summary: “This catalogue provides a general introduction to amber in the ancient world followed by detailed catalogue entries for fifty-six Etruscan, Greek, and Italic carved ambers from the J. Paul Getty Museum. The volume concludes with technical notes about scientific investigations of these objects and Baltic amber”—Provided by publisher.
  • Identifiers: LCCN 2019016671 (print) | LCCN 2019981057 (ebook) | ISBN 9781606066348 (paperback) | ISBN 9781606066355 (epub) | ISBN 9781606060513 (ebook other)
  • Subjects: LCSH: J. Paul Getty Museum⁠—Catalogs. | Amber art objects—Catalogs. | Art objects, Ancient—Catalogs. | Art objects, Etruscan—Catalogs. | Art objects—California—Los Angeles—Catalogs. | LCGFT: Collection catalogs.
  • Classification: LCC NK6000 .J3 2019 (print) | LCC NK6000 (ebook) | DDC 709.0109794/94—dc23
  • LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019016671
  • LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2019981057

Front cover: Pendant: Divinity Holding Hares (detail, , cat. no. 4).

Every effort has been made to contact the owners and photographers of objects reproduced here whose names do not appear in the captions. Anyone having further information concerning copyright holders is asked to contact Getty Publications so this information can be included in future printings.

URLs cited throughout this catalogue were accessed prior to first publication in 2012; during preparation of the present editions in 2019, some electronic content was found to be no longer available. Where URLs are no longer valid, the author’s original citations have been retained, but hyperlinks have been disabled in the online and ebook editions.

Also from Getty Publications: