Gem Identification - Amber Testing




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How to Test Amber Gemstones

Amber is a type of fossilized tree resin which is millions of years old.  It comes in a variety of colours, the most common being a pale orange, though white, yellow, green, cherry red, dark brown and black are available too.  There's even rare blue amber from the Dominican Republic.  As with most gemstones, there are cheap imitations around so it's important to know ways to test amber gemstones that you come across.

Steps

  1. Do the static test.
    1. Vigorously rub your amber on some wool for about 20 seconds to create static. 
    2. Take a strand of hair and place the static-charged amber close to it.  Real genuine amber should quickly attract the hair towards it, with the hair gently sticking to the gemstone.  If no static is produced after rubbing on wool (ie it doesn't attract the hair) then you might have a piece of fake amber.
  2. Know what to expect from each type of amber.
    • Genuine amber is lightweight and warm to touch, not cold and heavy like glass.
    • Loose amber beads can be tested in salt water.  Add 25g of salt to 200ml water in a glass and drop your amber into it.  Genuine amber should float, not quickly sink to the bottom.
    • Genuine amber reacts to ultraviolet light. Take your amber into a darkened room and  shine a cheap UV torch on it.  If it gently glows, it's real.
  3. Check your amber piece for seams and mold marks, which indicate it may actually be made from plastic.

Community Q&A

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Unanswered Questions
  • How do you remove mildew from a real cherry amber carved piece?
  • Hot pin test for amber?
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Video

  • Always buy from a reputable dealer who has good reviews and feedback, and who offers a full money back guarantee.
  • When buying amber, remember if the price is too good to be true, it normally is!

Warnings

  • There are some invasive methods of testing amber, such as a hot pin test.  These work well, but may completely ruin your amber.

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Elisabeth Knaack

Jan 1, 2019

"I've purchased fake and real amber in Asia and didn't didn't know the difference until it was pointed out in the USby a jeweler. I don't think an amber seller anywhere would let me put a hot pin in/on it to test it, so looking for a seam and a warm or cold touch is good advice. Thank you!"

Alicia

Nov 26, 2019

"I tried the wool and the strand of hair for my amber necklace, OMG! It worked, now I know my gems are not fake.Thanks very much."

Brian Stamford

Jun 6, 2019

"We are dealers and bought an amber necklace. Customer brought it back saying she had stuck a hot pin in it.




Video: Real/Fake Amber: 6 tests for identifying

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Date: 05.12.2018, 19:40 / Views: 35253