Rare and valuable minerals

What does natural amber stone look like?

How to understand natural amber or fake? Every lover of natural stones asked himself this question at least once before buying jewelry. Unfortunately, it did not arise out of nowhere. Amber is counterfeited, and while a real collector can immediately distinguish a crude fake, a fine imitation is not so easy for a professional to distinguish. Artificial resins, bakelite, casein, mixed in the right proportions, look very believable. Modern plastics also do not stand aside, plus traditional glass imitations – it is very easy to get lost in them, buying an unsuccessful decoration. How to insure yourself against wasting money? The answer lies in the physical and chemical properties of amber.

Five ways to spot a fake

In appearance

Looking at natural amber, you can find chaotic variations of colors: from milky white to transparent honey shade with dark brown splashes. There are greenish, red, completely opaque white ambers, as well as with pyrite sparkles. The addition of remains of prehistoric animals is especially appreciated. The unique patterns of natural stone cannot be faked; the clearly directed pattern found in bakelite beads should alert you.

To the touch

Natural amber is never cold and this is why it compares favorably with glass fakes. If you rub it for a while, you will clearly notice the aroma of Baltic pines, which is difficult to expect from plastic with its unpleasant chemical smell after heating by friction.

By weight

Amber has low density, although it is considered a stone. Sufficiently large amber beads usually do not weigh even 100 grams, which cannot be said about imitations made of glass and plastic; they are much heavier. Due to its lightness, an amber stone can float freely in salt water.

Using static electricity

Even the ancient Greeks noticed the ability of stone to become electrified. Even standing at the counter, you can tear small pieces of paper and, after rubbing the amber on the wool, bring it to the pile. You will see how all the crumbs settle on the fossilized resin. You will not find this effect with glass and plastic; rubbed plastic can only slightly attract a few pieces, but you will not notice a clearly defined effect. Copal fakes are also not electrified.

Using luminescence

This most amazing ability of natural amber is to respond with luminescent radiance to ultraviolet color. When exposed to the light stream of an ultraviolet lamp, amber glows with a bluish glow, showing all the internal natural structural transitions. Untreated stone glows brown. You can also look at the stone in ultraviolet light in a machine for checking banknotes, directly at the cash register of a retail outlet!

How else does natural amber differ from its fakes?

  • Amber burns; after removing the stone from the flame after 2-3 seconds, you will see that it maintains the flame on its own, while emitting a unique aroma of pine resin. In Ancient Rus’, Baltic stone was used instead of incense, producing northern incense.
  • Amber is relatively resistant to alcohol and acetone, which cannot be said about plastics. Plastic fakes change color, “melting” when interacting with chemicals. Amber should also not be left in contact with caustic substances for a long time, up to 3 seconds maximum, so as not to damage the beautiful structure of the stone.
  • Amber melts; if you bring a hot needle to the amber, it will burn through the surface and you will smell the rosin aroma. You will not be able to obtain a resinous smell from other substances in a similar experiment.

Where to buy natural amber

Natural amber cannot be very cheap, they are always more expensive than plastic and glass, this rule must be remembered when successful street vendors lure you with the lifeless shimmer of plastic. In an antique store, you are also not immune from fakes; you need to be very careful not to be deceived.

The simplest and most rational solution is to contact specialized retail chains. Brand stores with a long history value their reputation and, for the sake of immediate profit, will not get dirty with the sale of imitations, passing them off as natural stone.

One of the largest dealers of Baltic amber is the SPS Trading company, and the Amberika online store is one of the concern’s most popular platforms. We are pleased to offer our customers products made from high-quality Baltic Sea amber. Choose and order a “sun stone” from the collection of our website!

It is a rare woman who does not have amber jewelry in her jewelry box. This is not surprising: warm sunstone has been captivating with its beauty for centuries. The variety of shades of amber is so great that there is no need to combine it with other gems and precious stones, because you can always choose a pebble that matches the color and shape among amber drops and fragments. Moreover, its color and shape directly depend on the variety and place of production.

Let’s try to figure out what types of amber there are and which amber is most valued.

Amber deposits are located in areas where coniferous forests grew millions of years ago, because amber is nothing more than fossilized resin. The only exception is Dominican blue amber, formed from deciduous trees.

The Baltic region is rightfully considered the richest region, because up to 90% of all amber in the world is mined from the Baltic Sea. At the same time, the village of Yantarny in the Kaliningrad region is considered the leader in reserves – about 80% of the world’s amber reserves are concentrated here. The second largest deposit is located on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, but amber is also mined in China, Japan, and occasionally found in Siberia, Portugal, Spain and other countries.

Scientists and jewelers divide all Baltic amber into six types, half of which have no value in jewelry.

1. The most common variety is called succinite from the name of the pine Pinus succinieferra, thanks to which we today have stones of incomparable beauty. Not only is succinite more commonly found in mining, but it also accounts for 98% of the amber market. However, there is no need to be surprised here: the extraordinary beauty and expressiveness of this type of amber has captivated the hearts of people since ancient times; it was not without reason that the Roman Emperor Nero sent trading expeditions for the beautiful stone.

2. A close “relative” of succinite is gedanite – amber, derived from the same pine, but covered with colorless oxides. In another way, gedanite is called swamp or rotten amber: this is due to its nondescript dirty yellow or earthy color. Gedanite is more fragile than succinite, so it breaks more easily when drilling and carving – because of this, its share does not exceed 2% of all mined amber. But despite its fragility and unpresentability, after high-quality processing, swamp amber is practically indistinguishable from succinite in appearance.

3. Stanthienite – the rarest type of amber, so valuable that even Carl Faberge used its fragments to create his jewelry masterpieces. Stanthienite is particularly fragile, making it quite difficult to obtain intact. And it itself is rare, since this stone is born when resin gets into an environment rich in iron. Due to iron oxides, stantienite acquires a dark color, which is why it is called black amber.

The remaining varieties of Baltic amber are inexpressive and have no value among jewelers. Brown and soft bokkerite, contaminated glossite and greenish soft “immature” kranzite are all mined in very small quantities and are not particularly interesting as jewelry.

However, sometimes from green crancite The resulting products are very original and beautiful.

We have already noted that almost all the amber from which jewelry is made is mined in the Baltic Sea, and almost all of it is succinite. But succinite can also be different: transparent and cloudy, light and rich brown, with and without streaks. All this varied splendor is also divided into several groups for convenience.

The most common amber in jewelry is succinite of the “batter” variety. – transparent, beautiful yellow tone, possibly with defects or inclusions. This stone is highly valued for its transparency and good polishing ability, after which the stone becomes even more beautiful. It is the shade of the batter that is meant when people talk about “amber color.”

Another fairly common amber is the “bastard” variety. . Such amber is only half transparent and looks like candied honey. Amber loses its transparency at the formation stage: miniature air bubbles (their number can reach 6000 per cubic centimeter) are captured by viscous resin – which is why the stone with figured stains is subsequently obtained.

Even less transparent is the so-called smoky amber or “flom” . Amber of this variety is more valuable because it looks very interesting due to the large amount of air suspension. A variation of this type is landscape amber , completely opaque and covered with beautiful soft streaks. In the jewelry craft, this variety is one of the most sought-after gems – and all because of its magnificence.

The most valuable of all types is considered ivory knoken amber (otherwise it is called “bone amber” ). Of course, the stone only seems milky – in fact it is yellow amber, but very densely filled with microscopic bubbles. In one cubic centimeter the number of bubbles reaches a million, that is, this species is half composed of gas, which “whitens” the yellowness. This stone looks really royal.

How to distinguish amber from a fake? Here are seven easy ways

In modern conditions, it is quite easy to fake amber even at home. To create artificial stones, plastics, glass, epoxy resin, pressed chips of natural amber and young resins that are not completely fossilized are used (the most common is called “copal”). How can you tell what you have in your hands – valuable amber or a cheap fake? This can be done using a few simple techniques.

1.The first thing to remember is natural amber weighs very little , so even voluminous bracelets or beads will be light, while surrogates have a very noticeable weight.

2. Real amber cannot be monochromatic; it always differs in color and saturation , since this stone was formed over many years, when the resin flowed in layer by layer. Because of these layers, amber shimmers in the sun, so if you are offered a stone that does not play in the light, then it is an imitation. You also need to remember that natural amber does not and cannot have any sparkles – they are all added artificially.

3. Another way to check the naturalness of amber without damaging the stone is to rub it on a piece of wool. Natural amber is immediately electrified and will attract pieces of paper and hair. Only one type of counterfeit has this property: plastic products, but they can be easily identified by their heavy weight.

4. Real amber cannot be scratched with a fingernail , only a sharp needle can leave a mark on a stone. But making a mark with a fingernail on copal is quite simple. On the other hand, the nail will not leave a mark on the plastic. In this case, you need to look at the nature of the scratch: an even mark will remain on the plastic, while chips and cracks will be clearly visible on the amber. This is due to the fact that amber can only crumble, but not come off as even chips. The glass surrogate will not be scratched by a needle at all.

5. Amber is not afraid of acetone, alcohol and other solvents , therefore, a drop of such a substance will not leave the slightest trace on a natural stone, but on an imitation stone the color will certainly change, a mark or a drip will appear.

6. Amber items without a frame can be placed in a saline solution: to prepare it, you need to dilute 3 tablespoons of salt in a glass of water. The low density of amber will not allow it to sink to the bottom, causing the stone to remain on the surface.

7. The smell will also help you identify a fake, but for this the product will have to suffer a little. Heat the needle and apply it to the stone: amber will smell nice like wood , and plastic or copal has a strong unpleasant odor. In addition, the amber will melt noticeably slower.

As you can see, identifying a trinket in front of you or a valuable stone is quite simple even for a non-specialist. By purchasing real amber, you receive not only a beautiful gemstone, but also a wonderful talisman, because each piece contains the energy of millions of years of life on our Earth.

Where to buy jewelry made from natural Baltic amber?

On our website there is a large selection of incredibly beautiful designer beads, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, and earrings made from real amber purchased at a factory in Kaliningrad. All of these products are made to order by hand, so you will have to wait for delivery, but it will be worth it – because you will have a unique handmade jewelry with a real amazing stone, which is rightfully called Baltic gold.

Buy designer amber jewelry

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