I love amber. I think it is beautiful not just because of it's physical appearance but because of it's wisdom. Amber has been around for millions of years. It has compressed itself into one of the prettiest natural gems on Earth. The oldest Amber ever found was from 230 million years ago in North-Eastern Italy. Now imagine what it knows! Amber is actually fossilized tree resin. As the resin, or sap, ran down the tree and dripped onto the ground, it picked up or covered dirt, bugs, pieces of bark, grass, etc. Then it was buried and compressed all those millions of years ago until it was discovered. It is appreciated for it's color and natural beauty and has been used to make decorative objects, and has also been used as a healing agent in folk medicine.
In ancient China, it was customary to burn amber during large festivities. If amber is heated under the right conditions, oil of Amber is produced, and in past times this was combined carefully with nitric acid to create "artificial musk" – a resin with a peculiar musky odor. Although when burned, amber does give off a characteristic "pinewood" fragrance, modern products, such as perfume, do not normally use actual amber due to the fact that fossilized amber produces very little scent. In perfumery, scents referred to as “amber” are often created and patented to emulate the opulent golden warmth of the fossil.
Unlike the minerals and glass, amber is warm from the skin. If you rub the amber, you will actually find that it is warm, not cool. When it burns it has the aroma of pine. It has over 300 different shades and there are no 2 pieces alike. The most typical colors are honey, cherry, cognac, citrine, and butterscotch.
Make Sure Your Amber is Authentic
There are some Ambers that are old, but not as old and there are also faux Ambers being produced, there are 5 ways to test your Amber for authenticity. To make sure it’s real Baltic Amber and contains Succinic Acidity, which accounts for health advantages of the jewelry, test this natural resin with one, or all, of the ways listed below.
Visual amber test
One of the first steps you can take when testing Amber is to check it visually. Real Amber beads are usually unique in their appearance and will have imperfections. Some common imperfections are small cracks or air bubbles. Beads should also vary just a little in dimensions and it’s shape should not be perfectly round. Whenever you touch Amber it is commonly just a little warm, which isn't the situation with many other fakes.
Another effective test for identifying real Amber from fake is a Brine test. To do this put about 7 teaspoons of salt in about a cup of water. Place your Amber gem into this water. Real Amber should float within this water easily while most of fakes will sink. This test would be most appropriate with loose beads.
Another effective test is a rubbing test. Real Amber has electrostatic qualities so you can wrap it inside a cloth and rub for approximately 20 minutes. Then hold this gem near a strand of hair. With real Amber, the hair will be attracted to the Amber and reach out to touch it! If the gem became sticky instead, this is not real Amber but Copal instead.
Hot Needle test
This test is easy, please be careful not to burn yourself. Heat a needle and push it against the stone. If the needle goes in slightly or some cracks were left it means that it is most likely real Amber. Also if it is genuine Amber you should also notice a smell similar of an old pine tree. A fake Amber stone will allow the needle to go in very easily and the smell is either plastic or fresh pine (Copal).
If you are not familiar with this natural resin, you may not recognize the difference in scents. The distinction between the odor of Copal and Baltic Amber, is that the scent of true Baltic Amber is commonly more powerful and pine-like and the Copal will smell more like plastic when heated.
So I hope you found this blog post interesting. I have included some fascinating pictures of Amber that was found with bugs and other specimens inside. These pieces of Amber have actually been opened so the Scientists can study the specimens inside. So Amber isn't just a stone to make pretty jewelry. It is ancient and meaningful and healing.
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