Bulk (elemental composition, IR, CP/MAS 13C NMR) and molecular (GC-MS) analyses have been performed on a series of ambers and resins derived from different locations (Dominican Republic, Philippines, Canada, Israel, New Zealand, Chile) having diverse botanical affinities (Araucariaceae, Hymenaea) and variable age (from Holocene to Early Cretaceous). No major differences have been observed from the elemental composition and the spectroscopic data; however, the molecular analyses of the solvent extractable fraction show that a specific mixture of components is present in each sample. These are mainly diterpenoid products that in general are also found abundantly in the higher plants from which the ambers and resins originate. Nevertheless, a direct relationship between major terpenoid constituents in fossil resins and precursor plant materials can only be established for the younger samples. Irrespective of the geographical or botanical origin of the ambers and resins, several common age-dependent molecular transformation trends can be recognized: (1) progressive loss of olefinic bonds (especially those located in exocyclic positions), (2) decrease of functionalized products, and (3) increasing proportion of aromatized components. However, even in the samples of older age (Cretaceous) the degree of aromatization is very low when compared with that of other higher-plant related materials such as fossilized woods or low rank coals. This indicates that maturation must involve essentially olefin polymerization processes instead of extensive aromatization. ?? 1988.