Is The Amber Real, Fake Or Counterfeit?
When you buy amber, how can you be sure that you have bought amber and not an imitation? To answer the question let us give you a little bit of background on amber and how it is used.
Amber is a petrified resin from an ancient, now extinct, pine tree. Over a time expanse of millions of years the sap from these pine trees was fossilized and turned into a gem stone that contains anything that was entrapped in the pine tree sap while the sap was soft and sticky millions of years ago..
Amber comes in many grades and colors. Lower grade amber that has not completed the process of being petrified is called copal.
Historically, low-grade amber, copal, and chips and pieces that resulted from the creation of a good amber and silver jewelry were used in varnish. Today modern technology has allowed the remanufacture of this mass of low-quality amber rejects to be remanufactured into appealing pieces that are passed off as natural Baltic amber.
Small fragments, formerly thrown away or used only for varnish, are now utilized on a large scale in the formation of "ambroid" or "pressed amber". The pieces are carefully heated with exclusion of air and then compressed into a uniform mass by intense hydraulic pressure; the softened amber being forced through holes in a metal plate. The product is extensively used for the production of cheap jewelry and articles for smoking. This pressed amber yields brilliant interference colors in polarized light. Amber has often been imitated by other resins like copal and kauri, as well as by celluloid and even glass .
Amber comes in many colors and qualities.
The most common characteristic that you can say about amber is that it generally does not come in uniform shaped clear beads. Because it is a petrified sap from a pine tree it generally has some form of imperfection such as a void, the inclusion of a seed, an insect or other particle that may have fallen on the sap while it was on the pine tree and still soft.
Pure natural Baltic amber is a rare gemstone and commands a market price that one would expect of a rare gem stone in short supply. It is not cheap.
In order to help you visualize the difference between natural Baltic amber and some form of imitation amber or ambroid, you can look at the page under this link that has a series of pictures showing natural Baltic amber and ambroids. Types Of Amber
The safest way for you to be sure that you are buying natural Baltic amber and not an ambroid is to buy from an amber manufacturer that displays this seal.
Generally you will see it or reference to it on the manufacturer's web site.
This Chamber offers reference to an amber buying service that will help you with reliable suppliers. Amber Buying Service
You may also get catalogs from Amber Companies Catalogs
And be sure to read the Amber Frequently Asked Questions Page