Tuesday, November 04, 2014

All About Amber Part #1


There is always confusion when it comes to amber.  It is safe, however, to assume much, if not most, of the amber on the market today is not natural.  Almost all of it has been treated in some way or another.

One of the more popular types of amber is seen in the sun discs.  These flat round discs are called “spangles”, “flower amber” or “sun sparks”.  They are created by heating small bubbles within theamber so that they explode creating the discs.
It is difficult to create these and many researchers have been trying to figure out how the creators have been able to produce this on a large scale.  Small successful experiments have been done by deep-frying amber and by baking amber in sand with a variety of solutions in the sand.  It may be that most of this type of amber is done in an autoclave.

Other amber treatments produce “beeswax” amber, “red flower” amber, “golden flower” amber, green colored amber, and blue amber.  Even though most jewelry stores and many jewelers sell these materials as natural they care completely manufactured through heating and oxidizing theamber.
True, natural, untreated, authentic amber is actually hard to come by in a jewelry store.  Even if it is not rare in nature. The problem with natural amber is that it is not as “attractive” in a jewelry store as the treated materials.

Gems & Gemology, Summer 2014, Vol. 50, No. 2.  Experimental studies on heat treatment of Baltic amber.

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