Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Art of Amber....Part 3

Lets talk about fake Amber.
So how do you tell a good fake from the real thing?

Copal resin which is very young compared to real Amber is an aromatic tree resin mainly used as an incense, is often passed off as Amber, it is almost identical and is the most popular fake. However, Glass, Bakelite, Perspex and Celluloid are others.

As we know it is possible to find insects trapped in Amber, this is what makes it fairly valuable. An insect trapped in a drop of Amber resin as it drips down the tree, usually has time to wriggle about before the Amber sets. One would find swirl marks around the moving parts of the trapped creature. This is one way to tell if the Amber is real. In fake Amber there'll be no swirl marks as the dead insect is planted into the resin.

A way to tell Copal and Amber apart is by using a spot of Ether, which will have no effect on the real Amber, but will leave a sticky residue on the Copal.

If you don't have access to Ether as many of us don't and as true Amber floats, just mix a solution of saline two or three teaspoons in a glass of water pop the piece in. If it floats its real, this will only work if the Amber is not set or mounted.

The pic gives an indication of what Copal Resin can look like.

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