If you were to compare Baltic Sea Amber and other types commercially mined all over the world, you would find out that for example amber from Dominican Republic is usually only 14 million years old while that of the Baltic Sea often over 45 million years.
Over 90% of the world's extractable amber is still located in nearby regions of the bed of the Baltic Sea.
So one thing to pay attention to is definitely the location. However it may happen that even products advertised as the Baltic Sea Amber do not offer required quality.
HOW IS IT POSSIBLE?
If the resin is not fully fossilized, it looks like amber but in fact it is copal sometimes called "young amber." Obviously this organic substance is much cheaper than top quality genuine amber.
HOW CAN THEY BE DISTINGUISHED?
First of all copal has a lighter color and most important when a drop of acetone is applied to its surface it gets tacky.
It also burns with a bright yellow flame accompanied with a resinous scent. Choose wisely and don’t forget that our jewelry is made with a real 45-million-year amber from Baltic pines.
And finally, you can even end up with plastic imitations of amber.
All in all to avoid disappointment buy from reliable stores like ours. You can be sure to buy the Baltic Sea Amber of premium quality.
Below you can read an interview with Ewa Wagner-Wysiecka Ph.D. from Technical University of Gdansk who is talking about amber's authenticity. (Ambermart News 2008)
What are the most common amber forgeries?
Ewa Wagner-Wysiecka: Everything depends on what we mean when we say, “forgery.” If we speak of Baltic amber, or succinite, we can differentiate two groups of forgeries: natural and synthetic substances. Natural substances include copals, but they can just as well be resins called “amber” from other geographical locations throughout the globe. None of these substances is succinite, however, so if the substance at hand is not clearly labelled, such a sample can be considered an imitation. It is just the same with synthetic resin products which are currently quite popular. If a product made of such a resin (polyester resin, for instance) is marketed as succinite (or any other natural resin), this is of course a forgery.
How can you tell the difference between Baltic amber and its forgeries?
EWW: There are many methods which enable a seasoned expert to tell Baltic amber from its imitations. Sometimes, a keen and experienced eye is enough, but sometimes this can unfortunately be difficult because of the specific working technique used. Baltic amber, however, has a characteristic scent which is the key to its initial and most simple identification method, for instance by applying the tip of a hot needle and checking the scent that the substance emanates. It is easy to tell between the scent of succinite and the smell of synthetic resins. In order to identify succinite, we can also take advantage of its uncommonly low solubility in organic solvents (this is a comparatively easy way to tell succinite from copal). However, the most reliable results can be obtained using laboratory methods. The simplest and most often used method is infra-red spectroscopy (IRS). On the basis of the results of such measurements it is possible not only to identify Baltic amber, but also other natural and synthetic resins.
Are these methods invasive?
EWW: In the case of the hot needle test or the tests using solvents, it is quite easy to imagine the degree to which the sample would be damaged. In the case of modern IR spectrometers, the sample necessary for a single analysis is generally relatively small. However, the number of analyses which we have to make and the method of sampling vary in each case. In every case, however, we are talking about milligrams, so the samples are small.
HOW TO CARE FOR AMBER
Now that you have purchased genuine amber jewelry, it's time to take proper care of it.
A few tips:
- Avoid direct light and prolonged heating, also a rapid change in temperature may cause serious damage
- Although amber is often referred to as a"gem" in fact it's an organic substance which hardened for millions years. As a result it's not that hard and scratch-resistant as other gems. Bear it in mind and keep your amber jewelry in a separate box or in a special cloth pouch.
- If you want to clean your amber, just use warm water, no detergents nor soaps. Additionally you can put a few drops of olive oil on a soft cloth to polish your jewelry.
- "No chemicals" rule applies also in case you want to use hairspray or perfume. Just do it before you put your jewelry on.
- Never wash dishes or do laundry with your jewellery on, the same is true for cleaning the house or cooking.