Therapeutic properties

How to determine whether amber is real or not?

A beautiful gem, which is called “tears of the sun”, a unique gift of nature, a healing stone and valuable jewelry raw materials. It is not surprising that amber is often counterfeited. How to distinguish natural amber from artificial – read the article.

The article explains:

    1. Price
    2. Documents
    3. Natural resin scent
    4. Electrifying effect
    5. Ultraviolet
    6. Salt water
    7. Alcohol, acetone, ammonia
    8. Types of fake amber
    9. All kinds of stones are needed, all kinds of stones are important

    In determining the authenticity of amber, we will go from simple to complex. After all, when buying an amber item in a store, you are unlikely to be able to set fire to a stone, scratch it with a knife, or immerse it in a solvent with impunity. Therefore, let’s start with the most obvious options. So, the simplest markers of naturalness when purchasing are the price of the product and the certificate from the seller.


    Nowadays, a variety of materials are passed off as amber: from cheap plastic to glass and cheap stones made from “modern” tree resin with various additives. If you are offered an “amber product” for suspiciously little money, it is most likely a fake.

    The first way to distinguish amber from a fake: price. On average, the most budget beads made of natural stone cost about a thousand rubles. A lower price is a reason to wonder if it is a fake.


    The slightest doubt when purchasing is a reason to ask the seller for a certificate. Let’s make a reservation right away: according to Russian laws, amber is not considered a precious stone, so products are not subject to mandatory state certification (unlike, for example, things with diamonds). The tag for amber jewelry is usually marked “Not DK”.

    However, conscientious sellers receive a certificate of conformity and quality from gemological laboratories, which also work in amber production. Such a certificate contains information about the quality of amber, its type (natural, modified, pressed), as well as contacts of the enterprise (usually located in the Kaliningrad region).

    Second way: certificate. If the seller refuses to show documents for the products, they may be made from imitation amber. It is best to buy jewelry only in trusted stores that have a license to trade, and not from a tray or from hand.

    To make your purchase not only pleasant, but also profitable, use the Halva card. In jewelry stores that are Halva’s partners, select amber sets and pay in installments – without interest or overpayments.

    Natural resin scent

    Now – to more sophisticated ways of determining the authenticity of a “tear of the sun” at the purchase stage. We remember that amber is the resin of prehistoric coniferous trees.

    Fossilized over millions of years, but still a resin – with all its properties, including an amazing aroma. You can’t confuse it with anything. Rub the stone between your palms to warm it up. The natural one will begin to exude a light, almost imperceptible aroma of resin. Plastic or glass will not give off the smell of resin.

    Third method: aroma of resin when heated. If you have already bought a product and want to check it, you can heat a long steel needle over a fire and apply it to the stone (somewhere in an inconspicuous place).

    Natural amber will smell like resin, plastic will instantly melt and, excuse me, will smell like burnt plastic. The glass will not smell of anything at all, but it may crack from the hot metal. You can easily set fire to a stone (if you don’t mind). Amber will burn very slowly with black smoke and release a resinous aroma.

    Electrifying effect

    It’s time to remember our childhood – experiments with electrifying objects. We take scraps of woolen thread or paper with us to the store. Rub the stone thoroughly and bring it to the fibers. They will immediately be drawn to natural things. Counterfeits do not have an electrifying effect.

    Fourth method: electrification. Interesting fact: papers and wool will stick to electrified pressed amber even more strongly than to solid amber.


    You will need an ultraviolet lamp or flashlight. Lamps are used for manicure, and flashlights are sold in fishing stores. Natural amber gives a bluish glow in ultraviolet light.

    Fifth method: UV lamp. Light transparent amber will shine brightest in UV rays. For opaque stones, the glow will be weaker, but the tint will remain bluish. Counterfeits either glow yellow or do not react to ultraviolet light at all.

    Salt water

    The next two experiments to determine authenticity can only be carried out at home. You will need water and table salt. Natural amber does not sink in salt water. Mix 9–10 tablespoons of salt in a glass of water and throw a pebble in it. If it quickly floats to the surface in a strong saline solution, it means it is natural. If it drowned, it’s fake.

    Sixth method: salt. But a bead or cabochon should be immersed in a saline solution separately, and not a ring in a frame or a whole bead (bracelet, rosary). Products with metal parts will sink to the bottom in any case.

    Alcohol, acetone, ammonia

    Various solvents – ethyl alcohol or acetone – are also used to determine authenticity. Alcohol or acetone is dripped onto the product in the most inconspicuous place. Natural amber will not react in any way to such “violence”.

    If you keep amber in acetone for a long time (about a day), a white coating will appear on its surface, and a resinous smell may appear. The fake alcohol or acetone will become covered with rough spots and become very sticky.

    Seventh method: solvents. By the way, ammonia (ammonia) will also work. It destroys amber to the state of crumbs and dust, and quite quickly – in a few hours. Even ammonia vapors act this way on the stone. Plastic from ammonia can deteriorate greatly on the surface, but it will not collapse. Nothing will happen to glass at all.

    Types of fake amber

    Amber was counterfeited back in Ancient Greece. Other types of fossilized resins were often passed off as “tears of the sun.” Now the methods are similar, but technology has moved forward, making fakes almost indistinguishable from the original. For imitation they use stones called “digged” or “cowrie”.

    This is also resin, but “young”. Its age ranges from several thousand to 250–300 years, while the age of natural amber is estimated at millions of years. IN copale or cowrie There may even be inclusions – walled-up insects. In terms of hardness, copal and cowrie are several times inferior to amber. More precisely, they conceded earlier.

    Now “craftsmen” pass copal through an autoclave, baking it and achieving the desired hardness. Such stones can only be distinguished from real ones in laboratory conditions; even experts make mistakes when purchasing. Among experts, there is a well-known story about the restorer of the Amber Room in Tsarskoe Selo, who somehow acquired a fake, although tons of natural amber passed through his hands.

    In the 18th century there appeared faturan – imitation originally from the East. Craftsmen mixed amber waste – dust and crumbs – with the resin of local trees, baked it and obtained a stone very similar to the real one. Faturan was so popular that they began to counterfeit it too!

    Now the original recipe is lost, but at the beginning of the twentieth century, faturan, like amber, was given out as bakelite. This is a super-strong polymer that was originally used in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and other industries. But then they began to make an imitation of amber from it, adding yellow dyes. At one time, such counterfeits were very fashionable, including due to their low cost.

    Closer to the middle of the twentieth century, Bakelite “under amber” was replaced by burnite. It is a “synthetic” made from polyesters sintered with amber powder, and the powder may be five percent or less. Externally, burnite is very similar to transparent honey amber.

    Now they are no longer trying to pass it off as natural “tears of the sun” and are selling it under its own name. But fakes from the mid-twentieth century can be found on ad sites.

    All kinds of stones are needed, all kinds of stones are important

    For a modern woman, it is not so important what the jewelry is made of if it aesthetically complements the image. If you are interested not only in style, but also in the healing effect, then you should only choose natural amber and do not skimp.

    All information about prices, partners and tariffs is current at the time of publication of the article. Current Halva partner stores

    Sell ​​amber in Ukraine not easy, since the antique market is full of fakes. Some buying up antique jewelry refuse to buy products if there is the slightest doubt. Our tips will help you determine whether your grandmother’s beads, bracelet, or pendant are fake or antiques.

    Deep color

    Amber has a unique natural color, the shades of which randomly change from one to another. If your amber beads, braslet or the pendant has a perfectly uniform color, there is a high probability that it is a fake. Craftsmen have learned to imitate air bubbles in stone, but they are unable to convey natural beauty, depth of color and changing shades.

    Massive but light

    Amber is massive, but relatively light. Standard beads from Soviet amber with an impressive appearance, they weigh 60-70 grams, while a fake of the same volume will be 1,5-2 times heavier. For example, glass products are colder in the hands and heavier. During evaluation experts take into account even such seemingly trifles as temperature, volume and weight of the stone.

    Not afraid of scratches

    Amber cannot be scratched with a fingernail, and if it is broken, it will crumble into small fragments that can be ground into powder. At the same time, plastic leaves behind shavings, glass leaves behind sharp fragments. Of course, if you decide sell amber products, Do not scratch them, especially with a knife or other sharp objects.

    Smells like a Christmas tree

    If you rub amber on a cloth, a subtle resinous aroma will appear. But synthetic fakes reek of chemicals; the same copal softens and becomes sticky due to friction. The smell can be checked in another way – by heating a needle over a fire and placing its tip on the surface of the beads. Different types of amber smell differently, but they all have one thing in common – a pleasant, slightly sour, resinous aroma. If you are planning sell amber products in Ukraine, do the test in the most inconspicuous place so as not to spoil the decoration.

    Doesn’t sink in salt water

    Dissolve 8-10 teaspoons of salt in a glass of water. Place the jewelry in the water – if it sinks to the bottom, it means it’s most likely a fake. Natural amber will float to the surface, while glass, celluloid, and bakelite will sink. Unfortunately, this testing method will not help identify pressed amber and copal. It is also not suitable for amber frames.

    What is copal? It is similar in origin to amber, but amber is the hardened resin of coniferous trees, and copal is the bean group of plants, for example, acacia, or exotic southern conifers. Amber is tens of millions of years old, copal is often no more than 150–200 years old.

    Not afraid of alcohol

    Natural amber is relatively resistant to solvents, such as alcohol or nail polish remover. If you wipe pressed amber with a cloth soaked in ether, it will become sticky; dug – will be hopelessly spoiled by any reagent; plastic – will change color or texture. But don’t get carried away with this method – with prolonged exposure to reagents, even beads made of natural amber spots may appear. To check the reaction, 3-5 seconds of exposure are enough.

    Have you checked and decided to sell your jewelry? Bring it to one of our stores in Kharkov or send to the site to evaluate amber online for free. We offer at amber beads prices above market average, we buy locally and pay in cash.

    Хотите sell amber beads in Kharkov, Kiev, Dnieper or another city? Call (067) 934-44-83 or come to one of our antique salons – We will answer all your questions.

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