History of use

How to distinguish artificial amber from natural?

To create artificial stones, plastics, glass, epoxy resin and young resins that are not completely fossilized are used – copals. Copals are essentially the same amber resin, but immature. Its age is up to 5 million years, in contrast to the age of amber – 35–50 million years. Density check In a saturated salt solution (10 teaspoons of salt per glass of water), imitations such as glass and plastic will sink, natural amber will float. Hardness test If you carefully scratch real amber with a sharp metal object (nail scissors), it will crumble finely. Chips will form in the plastic, but the glass will most likely not be scratched at all. Electrostatic testing If you rub the sample vigorously on a woolen cloth, the amber begins to become electrified and can attract small, light pieces of paper. Imitations do not have this property. Flammability test If you heat a piece of steel wire, natural amber will smoke and smell like resin. Plastic smells like burnt plastic, glass will not give any reaction.

3. How to check the authenticity of jewelry?

All of the above methods can destroy jewelry. By checking the product’s reaction to ultraviolet light, authenticity can also be determined. If you illuminate natural amber in the dark with an ultraviolet flashlight with a wavelength of 365 mm or a standard bill detector, it will “respond” with a luminescent glow.

4. There are products made from African amber in different colors on the market. They are quite attractive. What is the difference between Baltic amber and gems from other deposits?

Other fossil resins are mostly more fragile and are often much inferior to Baltic amber in beauty, richness of color shades and brilliance. Only Baltic succinite contains a unique succinic acid, the healing properties of which have not yet been fully studied. Pick up and examine amber products as often as possible. Beads and bracelets use a minimum of other material; their appearance makes it easier to determine the authenticity of amber. In a fairly short period of time you will gain insight. It will help you respond to counterfeits in the future. First you need to remember three main rules. firstnatural amber weighs very little. Even voluminous bracelets or beads will be light, while surrogates have a very noticeable weight. Secondly, real amber cannot be monochromatic; it always differs in color and saturation. Due to the layers formed millions of years ago, amber shimmers in the sun, so if you are offered a stone that does not sparkle in the light, then it is an imitation. The thirdNatural amber does not and cannot have any sparkles. All of them are added artificially. The best solution is to buy Baltic gold from trusted manufacturers. The official and only amber miner in the Kaliningrad region is the Amber Plant. He also introduces amber products to the market. Additionally, its sealed tag provides information about the quality of the product. This is the so-called jewelry passport, which contains all the basic information about it. JSC “Kaliningrad Amber Plant” founded on July 21, 1947 on the basis of the Koenigsberg Amber Manufactory. The Amber Plant is the only industrial enterprise in Russia and the world’s largest amber mining enterprise, located in the village of Yantarny in the Kaliningrad region, where about 90% of the world’s amber reserves are concentrated. In 2013, according to the decree of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the plant was transferred under the management of the state corporation Rostec. In 2021, 575 tons of amber were extracted, which was a historical record for production volumes at the Primorsky quarry, which has been developed since 1976. Raw amber is sold on the electronic trading platform of JSC St. Petersburg Exchange and auctions for processors. The Amber Plant is a full-cycle enterprise – from the extraction of raw materials to the production of finished jewelry and souvenirs. Rostec State Corporation – one of the largest industrial companies in Russia. Unites more than 800 scientific and industrial organizations in 60 regions of the country. Key areas of activity are aircraft manufacturing, radio electronics, medical technologies, innovative materials, etc. The corporation’s portfolio includes such well-known brands as AVTOVAZ, KAMAZ, UAC, Russian Helicopters, ODK, Uralvagonzavod, Shvabe, and Kalashnikov Concern. Rostec is actively involved in the implementation of all 12 national projects. The company is a key supplier of Smart City technologies, is engaged in the digitalization of public administration, industry, and social sectors, and is developing plans for the development of 5G wireless communication technologies, the industrial Internet of things, big data and blockchain systems. Rostec acts as a partner of the world’s leading manufacturers, such as Boeing, Airbus, Daimler, Pirelli, Renault. The corporation’s products are supplied to more than 100 countries around the world. Almost a third of the company’s revenue comes from the export of high-tech products.

Latest news

  • At the Amber Forum in Svetlogorsk, for the first time, it will be possible to obtain real inclusion
  • The Amber Combine team became the largest team at the All-Russian Summer Corporate Festival
  • A “gnome’s foot” was found at the Amber Plant of Rostec
  • An innovative museum space has been opened at the Amber Plant of Rostec
  • Bright and hot! How was the children’s party with a view of the Primorsky quarry

Nowadays a huge number of amber products are sold in stores. Among the sunny pieces there may also be fake ones. To know for sure that you bought a product made from real amber, remember how to distinguish it from ordinary resin.

Very often, cheap resins are used for crude counterfeits of “amber products.” They are easy to recognize: resins, unlike amber, have a slight “forest” smell and softness. They can simply be scratched with a fingernail, whereas this is impossible to do with amber. You can distinguish a fake artificial stone from natural amber using a regular 10x magnifying glass: characteristic wavy formations caused by the sintering process of particles are visible in the resin fake.
It is much more difficult to distinguish from real amber a fake made from copal – a hard resin of very different and little-studied origin, similar to amber. The cost of products made from it is usually somewhat lower than that of products made from amber, but if the fake is a natural stone, then it is difficult to navigate the price factor – the price may be too high.

Researchers find fake “ambers”—East African copals—in the ground on the southeastern coast of Africa in the form of grains and plates covered with an opaque, weathered bark. Inside they are transparent and clean, light yellow or brownish in color. Even more copal is found and dug out of the ground in West Africa – since the 40s of the XNUMXth century, it has been traded in large quantities. The shape of the pieces of such copal is spherical, they look like pebbles from mountain rivers.

Copal is almost as hard as amber, but melts more easily. When placed on a hot stove, it emits unpleasantly medicinal vapors, whereas real amber vapors have a clove-like aroma. In addition, copal does not have the electrical properties of amber. Large and beautiful pieces of Zanzibar copal are used, like amber, by turners and carvers. The rest are used for the production of varnish and drying oils, especially copal varnish. In addition to copal, there are other amber-like resins: dammar, cowrie. If real amber was formed millions of years ago, then such resins can be obtained today from some trees. Therefore, their value is much less.

In addition to resin, you can also find artificial “amber” made of glass in stores. To recognize them, it is enough to run a copper needle over the stone in the product. There will be a slightly noticeable mark on natural amber, but there will be nothing on glass. However, in order not to spoil a product made from real amber, you can recognize a glass fake in another way. You need to take 300 g of water and 50 g of table salt and prepare a saline solution. Amber and its resin imitations will float on the surface of the solution, and glass samples will sink.
There are also plastic imitations of amber on the market. Plastic is denser than amber. If you take an amber product and carefully break off a piece with a sharp object in an inconspicuous place (for example, near a hole in a bead), then the plastic will break off in uneven pieces or shavings, and real natural amber will crumble.

Pressed amber is often passed off as a natural fossil stone. It consists of small fractions of amber, compressed under a hydraulic press without air access. The resulting stone is called ambroid. In appearance and physical properties, such amber is very similar to natural amber, but there are still differences. If you carefully examine the ambroid, you will notice various inclusions in it: modified bubbles, clots of dye. The color of such a stone is uneven; it seems to consist of different pieces, while natural amber has a smooth transition of color lines. If, after examining the stone, you still have doubts, wipe the surface with a cotton swab moistened with ether. Pressed amber will become sticky under the influence of ether, but natural amber will not change.

The most important difference between amber and its imitations is the energy of the stone. Real amber always leaves a pleasant feeling of warmth on the body.

Good luck with your shopping and be careful: do not choose fake “amber” products!

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