Solom Interra (Sun on Earth) Faux Amber or ‘Ambroid’ Moscow 1980 Summer Olympics Presentation Chess Set, c.1975-1985
Sun on Earth (Solom Interra); 32 naturally weighted faux amber chess pieces with original board and packaging, resin, amber v. deep brown, artistically restored, c.1980
Height: King 10cm, wt 30g, base width (all pieces) 3.5cm, Queen 9cm 30g, Bishop 8cm 25g, Knight 7cm 28g, Rook 6cm 25g, Pawn ps 5cm 20g
W: plush yellow felt pads, B: vibrant orange felt pads
I refer the interested reader of these lines to my October 2020 ‘Chessay’ on our ALL ABOUT CHESS page for a more detailed account of these historic and quite unique ambroid chess pieces, a brief outline of which I’ll give here;
“Cutting to the quick, ambroid or amberite, the material these explosively colourful pieces are derived from, can simply be defined as ‘faux amber’ consisting in the main part of minute fragments and crumbs of actual “famous Baltic amber,” sometimes referred to as ‘Russian Gold’. This is finely ground and then compressed into moulded forms using extreme heat. When this raw amber dust is heated above 200°C (392°F) it decomposes, yielding what is called ‘oil of amber’ or ‘pitch.’ This is then dissolved in linseed oil and forms ‘amber varnish’ or ‘lac.’ Today, as in the past, many types of modern ‘plastic resin’ products use the same basic methods for their sealers and lacquers, which along with shellac (an insect-based product) are mainly responsible for the glistening, honey-glazed varnishes found on many of the vintage chess pieces we so cherish today. That being said, we now have a fairly good idea of what we are handling when owning one of these vintage and visually stunning 1980 Moscow Olympic sets.”
The sets originate from the city of Kaliningrad, or more specifically the old ‘gulag’ called ‘The Kaliningrad Amber Combine,’ which still operates today, but not, thankfully, as an enforced labour camp! For a more detailed history of Kaliningrad and the ‘Konigsberg Amber Factory’ (as it was known before being renamed by Stalin in 1947), I refer the reader to the October Chessay mentioned above.
You may well find these faux amber chess sets from time to time over the internet or via some of the well-known Soviet auction houses, but I can assure you, none will be as pleasing to the eye as to what you find here in our galleries. I source and restore the best quality sets I can find on the market and most sellers come directly to me with their finds, for which I am greatly thankful.
Sun on Earth is UV resistant and ideal for display as well as casual/blitz play. Both kings carry the hand-painted iridescent bronze ‘Power’ signature of the artist on their bases. They are also accompanied by our unique, hand-drawn ‘Certificate of Artistry’ which will be posted out separately once we tally up how many ‘Bronze Signature’ sets pass through our galleries in 2021
“… all good things …” as the old saying goes.
Ref Code: SI21
Visit our Gallery for more artistically restored vintage chess sets.