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Is It REAL Amber? Or Is It Stone, Glass, or Plastic, etc.?
Here's How to Tell:
Amber is an amorphous (uncrystallized)
fossilized resin of ancient or extinct trees which submerged under the sea some
60,000,000 years ago. Thus it is an organic material rather than a mineral like
most gems. Indeed it is so soft that it can be easily cut with a knife and so
light that it will float on sea water.
Amber is warm to the touch and electrified when rubbed on cloth. In this context it is interesting to observe that the Baltic islands, where amber is found, was once known to the Greeks as the Electrides, and amber itself was known as elektron, from which the modern word electricity has originated.
Amber is of two main varieties:
1). Sea Amber - Also known as Succinite, pieces of this kind are washed up along certain shores, especially the Baltic sea near Kaliningrad (Lithuania). The Amber museum in Kaliningrad houses a large collection of more than 6,000 pieces.
2). Pit Amber - This type of amber is retrieved from mines located in Burma, Sicily and Romania. It is harder and denser than the Baltic amber.
The color of amber covers a wide range, from a pale yellow and honey to reddish-brown. Amber, that has air bubbles embedded in it, gives a cloudy appearance, and is known as bastard amber.
Amber has been used as a talisman and as an ornament in jewelry since the Bronze Ages; it was also used by the ancient Greeks, Romans, Persians, Indians, Byzantines, Vikings, Celts, Saxons, Chinese and Japanese.
Amber has a typical smell when heated and this property is often used to distinguish a real amber from a fake one. It has a pine-like small (after all, it's sap right?) and emits a white smoke. Rubbing briskly on wool will sometimes emit the odor. As mentioned above, it is also electrostatic when rubbed on wool. After you rub it, hold it over a small piece of paper. If it's amber, it will move the paper, or lift it.
By the way, if you want to distinguish
between glass and plastic, use the temperature test. Place the object against
your cheek. Plastic will always be room temperature or warmer. Glass will always
Caring for your Amber Jewelry:
Amber is the softest of all gems and will be scratched by all other gemstones. Care needs to be taken while wearing it and it needs to be stored by itself away f rom other jewelry. Amber
gradually darkens with age and exposure to light, and should be kept in a cloth or leather bag or case. Never use a rough cloth or a dirty cloth to clean amber because of its softness.
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