A storm in the Baltic Sea has cast a cache of amber on the Kaliningrad shore, scattering scores of gemstones on the beach and inspiring locals to brave the icy cold waters in pursuit of the prized yellow fossils.
As the storm receded earlier this week, it left a beach near the port of Pionersky in Russia's Baltic Sea exclave piled with mounds of blackened seaweed speckled with bits of amber, local news portal Klops.ru reported Wednesday.
Despite frosty temperatures of minus 6 degrees Celsius, local residents flocked to the shore to dig through the sand until sunset while others donned dry suits and ventured into the tide, armed with scoop nets, to sieve through the waters, according to the report and videos posted online.
"Even retirees raked with sticks and picked at the frozen dirt, like kids in a sandbox," according to Klops.ru.
After a break for the night, the hunt for amber continued on Wednesday, local news portal NewKaliningrad.ru reported.
The Kaliningrad region holds more than 90 percent of the world's amber. The only local company that develops the field, the Kaliningrad Amber Enterprise, extracted about 250 tons of amber last year, Interfax reported.