Natural Amber, without enhancement, just the way it is found in the mines, has become rare. You wouldn’t believe what is being sold as “Natural Amber”. This especially true when you look at the commonly available Baltic amber.
Mainly East European amber companies promote the advantages of their amber: they have dominated the amber trade and have given Baltic amber a prominent place throughout the world. Altering the colour and clarity of amber has been known since Roman times. Experiments would lead to astonishing results. For instance, amber would be boiled in the fat of a suckling pig, rap seed oil etc. Being part of history, most of the treatment are considered perfectly acceptable. On top of it most people don’t know or care if this real amber has been treated or modified from it’s original stage. But some do.
Nevertheless, most dealers are not educated enough to know the difference between natural amber and treated amber – or don’t want to know. ”Very few people actually can tell you what is genuine amber no less tell a fake from the real thing when they look at it,” according to Gary Granai of the Poland Chamber, Inc. ”This includes people who are selling amber.”
As a result, natural Baltic amber in it’s original form is not found very often on the market. Most of what is offered is an industrialized product , treated and enhanced, reconstructed and improved. As an example, many times you can recognize treated amber by the famous “sun spangles” (flints or scales). In some cases, the back of an amber cabochon would be painted and re-heated to produce green amber. In combinations with advertisements like: “The deep forests of our wide land produced this natural green color” or similar Business Speech (B.S.) gets the phantasy of the buyer going and the customer falls for it.
There is also pressed Baltic amber (from small pieces, meal and rejects melted together under high pressure, called “genuine amber”) and even “ambroid” (pieces of real amber imbedded in plastic) that are found on the market. Pressed amber is generally very even in color, the way you can see it in some commercially available Baltic amber jewelry. Real natural amber as it comes from the mines, is never as even. Careful: the best varieties of pressed Baltic amber are not discernible from natural Baltic amber. After the treatment, it still possesses the features of “succinite”, so it is permitted to be called “real amber”.
If you are interested in purchasing only natural amber, make sure to get confirmation or certificate that you buy NATURAL amber, subject only to mechanical treatment (for instance: grinding, cutting, turning and polishing) without any change to its natural properties. So you sell what the gullible public wants. Regrettably, no matter how persistently the International Amber Association tries to get the manufactures and dealers to declare the nature of their goods, and to weed out the good from the bad, the black sheep in the heard are taking over the white with the help of the gullible public.
Bottom line is that if you want to be 100% sure that you are buying Natural Amber without any doubt, buy Dominican Amber. Dominican ‘amberos‘ are much to “primitive” to improve their amber. They don’t need to do it either. Because Dominican amber is beautiful by itself… naturally.
Baltic Amber Rules
Note: In order to underscore or change the natural colour of amber, it is permissible to use foil or flakes made of precious metals and colour backdrops made of enamel or paint in jewellery products decorated with Baltic amber (succinite) gemstones.
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