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NATURAL ANTIQUE AMBER TESTING FOR REAL AMBER

As technology changes with each passing day, simulation technology improves as well. Unfortunately, this means many unscrupulous merchants are able to make convincing amber forgeries by mixing insects into amber powder. As the result can be very similar to real amber, we remind all collectors to pay special attention to what they’re receiving.

There are eight main ways to test if amber is authentic:

Saline Water Test

Put the amber in saturated saline water that has a density of 1.05-1.10 (1 salt : 4 water). Amber, light plastics, or resin will float while, conversely, common plastics, glass, or Bakelite will sink. This method is only applicable to naked amber. If the concentration of saline water is low or contains abundant impurities, the amber will always sink.

Nail Polish Remover

If you wet a swab with a little nail polish remover and repeatedly wipe an amber surface, there will be no obvious changes. However, resin and copal will become sticky due to corrosion since they are not petrified. Soak rosin in liquid medicine and it will slowly dissolve.

Touch

Amber is a neutral organic material and so will not get hot in the summer or cold in the winter, remaining mild. However, “amber” made from glass or chalcedony will be ice-cold and heavy.

Vision

Round bubbles may sometimes form inside natural amber while artificial amber only have flat bubbles. Furthermore, if insects are trapped in natural amber, they’ll have a unique arrangement but if they’re in artificial amber, they’ll appear rigid. Moreover, genuine amber has a relatively small volume; the volume is bigger in fake ones.

Aroma

Amber is a neutral organic material and so will not get hot in the summer or cold in the winter, remaining mild. However, “amber” made from glass or chalcedony will be ice-cold and heavy.

Hearing

If you gently rub amber beads that have not been inlaid, they will produce a soft but depressing sound. If the material is plastics or resin, the sound will be clear and melodious.

Electrification Through Friction

After vigorous rubbing, amber will attract paper scraps through static electricity.

Professional Identification

The most reliable method is for the amber to be professionally identified by experts in a laboratory or museum. For example, you can send it to the CMA Jewellery Identification Centre to test its refractive index and density. Many of the goods on our website are attached with certificates awarded by the Gemological Laboratory of America so you know they’re trustworthy.

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