Rare and valuable minerals

How to distinguish pressed amber from real one?

When producing jewelry and products from amber, the manufacturer tries to use any gems. The best specimens are used to make magnificent specimens of carved figurines from a single piece of amber. Other gems are sent for processing into balls and pendants for jewelry production. Where do the small pieces of amber go? They are also used, but are pressed. To do this, only pure material is selected so that the resulting stone is formed with a unique and transparent structure. Pressed amber has a wide range of applications, because it is used not only for jewelry, but also for souvenirs and various crafts, chess pieces, etc.

How is pressed amber produced?

For production, proven small and clean pieces are used, which are ground into powder. After which the mixture is heated and pressed, and high temperature and pressure transform this material into a single viscous mass. To obtain amber of various configurations, different molds are used to fill the viscous mixture. Under pressure and at a temperature of 180-220 degrees C, the powder turns into a viscous mass. After cooling, it hardens, and various blanks are obtained. A special pressure regime makes it possible to obtain pressed amber of different colors and structures. It is also used for jewelry, costume jewelry, and souvenirs. So pressed amber is a natural product made from amber dust by heating, without adding chemical impurities or glue, having the physical properties of natural amber, but with a modified chemical structure.

How to distinguish natural solid amber from pressed amber?

It is quite easy to understand the differences between solid and pressed amber, even by appearance. Pressed amber has a fairly homogeneous structure, there is no pronounced natural pattern, there is no natural “crust”, and most importantly – the cheap price of the final finished product. The very idea of ​​producing pressed amber was dictated by the demand for cheap jewelry, beads, bracelets and souvenirs.

What do pressed amber products look like?

An amber stick made of pressed amber, has a granular structure similar to cereal, so it is made from amber dust Amber massage stick made of natural amber, has a natural unique pattern of natural stone. Blanks – pressed amber beads. Beads, souvenirs. Products made from natural solid royal landscape amber.

Buy pressed amber products at a competitive price

We have already found out that pressed amber is a natural product. But why is the cost so much cheaper? It’s simple. There is virtually no waste in the manufacture of jewelry; the cost of this manufacturing method is much cheaper and faster than manual labor when processing a single piece of amber. So it turns out that products made from pressed amber have all the physical properties of natural stone, and the price is 5, or even 10 times lower! Our online store offers unique amber products that are available to a wide range of consumers due to the optimal cost. Natural and pressed amber is available in a wide variety of products that will perfect your look. Our products can become a gift for a loved one, because they retain warmth and bring joy. Products made from precious stones have always been in demand – and it is not surprising, because many minerals have such powerful healing abilities that in ancient times they were considered magical. However, such popularity also has a negative side – the more in demand a gem is, the more often it is counterfeited. Some surrogates imitate the tone and texture of the original so faithfully that even a professional can make a mistake. Our article will help you avoid being deceived – it describes in detail how to distinguish natural from artificial amber in any conditions!

Types of fakes

  • artificial plastics and resins (bakelite, urea, epoxy, polystyrene, acrylic and polyesters). Many of them have negative health effects;
  • painted glass or ceramics;
  • celluloid and nitrocellulose. Nowadays they are almost never used due to the explosion hazard;
  • burnite – “melted” amber, permeated with many decorative cracks. Consists of polyester resins, to which about 5% natural gems are added;
  • works made from natural resins, secreted by the bark of the Agathis dammara tree and other similar plants. As a rule, they are distinguished by increased fragility and duller color;
  • lacquers (amber varnish, gedanite, glossite). Contain a certain amount of crushed stones mixed with rosin, turpentine, linseed oil;
  • low quality or “immature” fossil resins (kranzite, burmite, rumenite, copals). Found in Africa, South America, Indonesia, New Zealand, Burma. Such gems are more fragile and softer than real cabochons, and their rough surface is covered with a whitish coating.
Ambroid – pressed amber

Reconstructed or pressed amber (ambroid) is not considered counterfeit. It is obtained by squeezing small stone chips with a hydraulic vice at a temperature of 200-250° C. This method allows for more rational use of extracted raw materials. Refined (boiled in oil) pieces of hardened resin are also considered natural.

The variety of fakes is truly amazing. However, you can still find natural gems among them – and how to do this is described below!

Appearance – looking closely at the details

When purchasing accessories and souvenirs made from precious stones, you should pay attention not only to the design of the products, but also to the main element of the product – the amber insert. By spending a few minutes on this, you will be able to recognize the characteristic features of solar gems even in poor lighting or in a hurry.

Hand-made “amber” is inferior to natural in the richness of shades and structure. In such cabochons there are no gradations of color and unpredictable transitions of tones – for example, some bakelite products have a layered pattern, but the stripes are always directed in one direction and separated by equal intervals. In addition, artificial hardened resin does not change over time, while natural resin actively oxidizes in the open air (this phenomenon is also called photoaging).

Ambroid also has its own distinctive features: the air bubbles in it are elongated vertically (this shape is given to them by the strong pressure of the hydraulic press that compressed the semi-precious chips), in contrast to the perfectly round inclusions in natural amber, and the layers are located parallel.

Carefully study the structure of the gemstone:

  • Numerous accumulations of “sparkles” (contrasting inclusions, noticeable only from a certain angle) inside the gem are a reason to be wary, because such colors are typical for things made of bakelite. However, this sign is not very reliable – natural cabochons calcined in a special oven can also acquire it.
  • Resin drips forming a “capillary network” also indicate counterfeiting.

Bracelet made of light amber stones

324 UAH 324 UAH

Amber bracelet with beads “Mari”

Bracelet made of amber stones with beads

Amber bracelet with red beads

Amber bracelet with beads

Bracelet made of light multifaceted asymmetrical amber stones

Bracelet made of polyhedral stones

Bracelet made of translucent amber stones

Greenish amber bracelet

Muslim rosary made of pressed amber

Muslim rosary made of pressed amber

Christian rosary made of pressed amber

Children’s bracelet made of multi-colored polished amber stones

172 UAH 172 UAH

Muslim rosary made of pressed amber

Amber bead bracelet

Green amber bracelet

Bracelet made of green amber balls

Children’s amber choker beads

236 UAH 236 UAH

Another way to distinguish real amber from a fake is its weight. This gemstone is classified as organic, or biogenic, substances, which means that it was formed as a result of the activity of living organisms (as opposed to minerals created during geological processes). Therefore, the maximum density of the cured resin is 1,3 g/cm3, which is why it is lighter than most imitations. Let’s say, a semi-precious necklace weighing 100 g will be quite voluminous, while a glass or ceramic item with the same mass will be much smaller.

And, of course, don’t forget about texture. Amber has low thermal conductivity, so it is extremely pleasant to touch. – radiant cabochons will always be warmer than the environment. Some people even claim that they feel a slight tingling sensation from natural gemstones!

Experiments and samples – studying precious stones

Manufacturers of counterfeits are constantly improving their craft, and to recognize their works, a simple visual inspection is not enough. Here are methods that allow you to quickly and without additional costs identify a counterfeit when purchasing:

  1. hardness test. On the Mohs scale, Polesie amber received 2,0-2,5, and cheap copal – only 1,5. This means that low-quality resin will deform even when touched with a fingernail, while real solar gems are much stronger. This indicator is also useful if you decide to test with a scratch – for this you need to run a needle, the edge of a knife or a razor over the gemstone. A natural cabochon will crumble into small fragments that have a characteristic odor (later they can be ground into a whitish-golden powder), several elastic shavings will separate from the plastic, but nothing will happen to the glass;
  2. checking for density. To do this, you need to prepare a saturated saline solution – 8-10 teaspoons of NaCl per glass of water – and immerse a piece of frozen resin in it (do not forget to then rinse it in clean water and wipe with a soft cloth). Natural amber will float to the surface, while imitations made from plastic, celluloid, glass, bakelite and burnite will sink. Of course, such an experiment is only feasible for products made from solid cabochons, without inserts of other materials, and it also does not allow identifying copal, ambroid and some rare varieties of gems with extremely high densities;
  3. electrostatic test. How to distinguish real amber if you do not have the opportunity to scratch it or dip it in water? This method will come to the rescue. All you need is a wool or silk cloth to rub the gemstone with. After this, the natural gem should acquire a negative electrical charge, so that as soon as you bring a piece of paper or a hair to it, it will immediately stick to the surface of the hardened resin. But copal and counterfeit plastic products do not have this property;
  4. luminescence test. Such a check is easy to carry out even in a store – just ask the seller to place the jewelry or souvenir under a Wood’s ultraviolet lamp (it is often used as a banknote detector). Natural cabochons will glow bluish-white or yellow-green, bakelite and other similar materials will remain inert, and casein imitations will turn yellow. The more transparent the piece of amber, the more noticeable this effect. Matte “bone” gems shimmer in a milky white tone with a faint azure tint, while rough, weathered gemstones glow golden brown. In addition, in such lighting, the internal structure of the hardened resin is clearly visible – wavy smudges, stripes, chips, inclusions and other nuances;
  5. friction and flammability studies. Amber is the hardened resin of ancient coniferous plants – that is why it burns beautifully, emitting a pleasant resinous aroma. Once upon a time they even used it to heat stoves, keeping them warm and purifying the air. And now this feature will allow you to recognize a fake! First, rub the cabochon on a cloth or palm – when its temperature rises significantly, the natural stone will smell like rosin. Then you can touch it with a hot needle – light white smoke should appear, while synthetics will betray themselves with black soot and a sharp chemical stench. In addition, the solar gem melts quite slowly under the tip – counterfeits darken much faster. And to be completely sure of the naturalness of the frozen resin, set it on fire – it will flare up 3-5 seconds after contact with fire, and then boil and continue to burn on its own;
  6. solvent test. How to distinguish amber from a fake at home? It resists the effects of alcohol, ether, acetone and other similar substances. Therefore, if you drop any of them onto the surface of a real stone, you will not see any changes. Glass will remain just as inert. But other imitations are easy to recognize – for example, ether causes ambroid to become sticky and begin to disintegrate, acetone (part of nail polish remover) will corrode plastic, and the surface of copal becomes dull and uneven upon contact even with ordinary water. But be careful – too long contact with aggressive solvents can damage even the best natural stones, which means such tests should not take more than 5-10 seconds;
  7. analysis of inclusions. Gems in which arthropods, animals and plants were frozen millions of years before our era are a coveted treasure for scientists and collectors. Therefore, they are most often counterfeited by pressing or baking the desired item into the amber mass. As a rule, such inclusions are located in a transparent area of ​​the stone, and they also look deliberate and unnatural – craftsmen are unable to reproduce the straightened legs and open wings of real prisoners of hardening resin, who tried with all their might to escape from the trap.

Guided by these methods, you will recognize a counterfeit in time and will not find yourself a victim of deception. And so that you never encounter counterfeit amber, purchase souvenirs and jewelry made from solar gems from reliable certified manufacturers who guarantee the high quality and durability of their products – for example, in our online store “Amber of Polesie”!

Magnificent works created by qualified craftsmen from the best precious stones, natural wood and precious metals are distinguished by their exclusive design and attractive appearance, and they are also extremely durable and resistant to any damage. Unique interior accessories, paintings, icons, VIP gifts, beads, earrings, brooches and rings will serve you for many years without losing their brightness, presentability, beauty and richness of tones.

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