You wouldn’t believe what is being sold as “Natural Amber”. This especially true when you look at the commonly available Baltic amber.
Baltic amber companies promote the advantages of their amber: through the expansion of silver and amber jewellery in the European and world markets, they have dominated the amber trade and have given Baltic amber a prominent place throughout the world. Altering the colour and clarity of amber has been known since Roman times. But, who cares if this amber has been treated or modified from it’s original stage? On top of it, most of the treatment is perfectly acceptable. So you sell what the gullible public wants.
Most dealers are not educated enough to know the difference between natural amber and treated amber – or don’t want to know. ”Very few people actually can tell you what is genuine amber no less tell a fake from the real thing when they look at it,” according to Gary Granai of the Poland Chamber, Inc. ”This includes people who are selling amber.”
Now, not all Baltic amber is treated. And, according to the International (Baltic) Amber Association , “Natural Amber” is exclusively amber subject only to mechanical treatment (for instance: grinding, cutting, turning and polishing) without any change to its natural properties“. Baltic amber associations also disqualify manufactures who do not use the approved methods of enhancement.
Most of the Baltic amber is “succinite” from resin of coniferous trees containing succinic acid and has been known since the dawn of mankind’s history. It is up to 50 million years old. Compared with amber from Northumberland, USA (345,000,000 years old) this is relatively young, but it has been used for jewelry for many thousands of years.
Unfortunately, natural Baltic amber in it’s original form is not found very often on the market. Most of what is offered an industrialized product , treated and enhanced, reconstructed and improved. As an example, many times you can recognize treated amber by the famous “sun spangles” (flints or scales). In some cases, the back of an amber cabochon would be painted and re-heated to produce green amber. There is also pressed Baltic amber (from small pieces, meal and rejects melted together under high pressure, called “genuine amber”) and even “ambroid” (pieces of amber imbedded in plastic) that are found on the market. Pressed amber is generally very even in color, the way you can see it in some commercially available Baltic amber jewelry. Real natural amber as it comes from the mines, is never as even. Careful: the best varieties of pressed Baltic amber are not discernible from natural Baltic amber. After the treatment, it still possesses the features of “succinite”, so it is permitted to be called “real amber”.
If you are interested in purchasing only natural Baltic amber, make sure to get confirmation or certificate that you buy NATURAL amber, subject only to mechanical treatment (for instance: grinding, cutting, turning and polishing) without any change to its natural properties.
And if you want to be 100% sure that you are buying Natural Amber without having to doubt and ask for certificates, buy Dominican Amber.
Dominican ‘amberos‘ are much to “primitive” to improve (“viagarize”) their amber. They probably don’t need to do it either.
Or do they look like they would?