Ok. This will shock you.
False Green Amber (Baltic)
Most of the Baltic amber offered on the market is not Natural Amber.
True Green Amber (Dominican)
According to the rules of the International Amber Association (IAA) only amber, subject only to mechanical treatment (for instance: grinding, cutting, turning and polishing) without any change to its natural properties is allowed to be called “Natural Amber”. Of course due to the (not very international, but Polish) origin of the Association, only Baltic amber is taken into account in these rules.
Unfortunately, fact is that it is exactly the Baltic amber producers who do not play according to these rules. The most popular natural amber falsifications are made from Baltic amber itself. Heated, clarified, color enhanced, autoclaved, pigmented, melted, mixed etc. are methods not known to the public. People who only know little about amber are constantly being deceived. The falsifications and de-naturalized results of industrial methods are sold as natural amber sometimes for a high price.
According to the IAA, whatever modification done to the natural amber has to be declared as such. But all kinds of modifications are made without any disclosure to the uninformed public. And if they are, some expressions that are being used are also ambiguous . As an example: “Genuine Amber
– This is a term that includes Natural Baltic Amber
and Pressed Amber
.” And what is “pressed amber”? The Polish Chamber of Commerce
: Pressed Amber
is made from small pieces and rejects that are melted together under high pressure. It is generally even in color. Smaller pieces of high quality pressed amber are difficult to distinguish from Natural Baltic Amber but for the fact that it is almost always uniform in shape.
Beads and the settings in most jewelry are pressed. That is simply because pressing gives manufacturers uniform pieces that can be used in production. And it also holds down the cost of the end product.”
Confused? Feel being cheated?
The Chamber also writes: ”The most common characteristic that you can say about amber is that it generally does not come in uniform shaped clear beads. Because it is a petrified sap from a pine tree it generally has some form of imperfection such as a void, the inclusion of a seed, an insect or other particle that may have fallen on the sap while it was on the pine tree and still soft. Pure natural Baltic amber is a rare gemstone and commands a market price that one would expect of a rare gem stone in short supply. It is not cheap
Bottomline: If you want to be 100% sure that the amber you buy is Natural Amber, buy Dominican amber. On that technically retarded island, the sophisticated methods of industrial amber treatment are not even known, less being used. It is the true Natural Caribbean Amber. It comes in all kinds of colors, even natural green and blue.
Fake Caribbean Amber (hardened Colombian copal)
Only be aware of one fact: Many times Copal is sold as Caribbean amber. With exception of the Dominican amber, which is much older and close to “OLD amber” young tree resins (from thousand to one million years old) are artificially hardened and cleared and sold as natural amber. This does not mean that Copal is not an interesting resin. Colombian Copal has many natural inclusions which do not need to be falsified. Nevertheless, even this is sometimes done, many times in Mexico or Far East.
But you know how the the old axiom goes : If it is too good and too cheap to be true, it is. ”Natural Amber and Amber Jewelry from Europe – best price” Yeah, sure…. When you look for “best price”, you are not looking for “best quality”. It’s like getting offered a Picasso for $ 150 and asking: “Is it original?”