AmberKaliningrad is home to an estimated 90% of the world’s reserves of amber and the only place which has an amber mining industry. Amber therefore makes for the most perfect ‘Kaliningrad’ gift although you should note a few important points about searching for, buying and exporting amber.
Traditionally it is a popular pastime to walk the beaches of Kaliningrad in search of pieces of amber which have been washed up on the beach. While you’re highly unlikely to stumble across a very valuable piece, even the smallest fragment can make for a wonderfully original and unique souvenir of your visit.
Be aware that because of sanctions all export of amber is now strictly forbidden. This ban has made it lucrative for amber smugglers keen to supply eager markets and desperate craftsmen outside of Russia. Be warned that even a small piece taken out of the country undocumented can see you have problems with customs guards.
That’s not to say that you can’t take any form of amber out. The local craftspeople are still not short of Baltic Gold and you’ll find a number of places selling everything from small fragments to custom made pieces of jewellery around the Oblast. The home of Kaliningrad amber is the town of Yantarny but you need not travel that far. Traders found inside the grounds of the Amber Museum can ensure that not only do you leave with an authentic piece of amber, but also the correct documentation which will get you calmly past aforementioned customs official.