We do not generally recommend
the majority of 'home-tests' posted on the internet as a reliable way to
determine whether amber is authentic or imitation. Perhaps the most
important reason is that not a single home test can identify whether an amber
sample is specifically Baltic amber. The many health benefits associated
with amber are exclusive to amber found only in the Baltics. Only
lab analysis can reveal whether or not amber is from the Baltic region.
is our brief synopsis on three of the most commonly recommended home tests.
One very common test that gets
recommended frequently is referred to as the 'hot needle', 'burn', or 'smell'
test. These are all referring to the same
thing. This test requires burning a
small section of the amber in order to interpret the results of the smoke
emitted and the accompanying smell. This
test takes a lot of experience to accurately interpret and, unfortunately, this fact is frequently left out when this test is recommended.
People who perform this
test for the first time can easily be confused by the results and end up with
false positives or negatives due to their inexperience, conflicting and often incorrect information on the internet about what to expect from the test, and the subjective nature of interpreting the results.
The main interpretation mistakes are in falsely identifying copal as amber as it has a pine smell - potentially stronger than amber itself will have. (Copal is simply younger pine resin that hasn't yet matured into amber so is easily confused with amber. Copal can also come from many other parts of the world other than the Baltics.) And conversely amber is often falsely identified as fake because the smell is resinous and pungent, frequently causing people to confuse it with plastic. Only by performing this test countless times on genuine amber as well as on different fake materials -
and familiarizing yourself with the nuances of the results can one even hope to
use this as a reasonable method for spotting fake amber. Not to mention, this test damages a portion of the specimen. For these reasons, we do not recommend this
This is a fairly simple test using
alcohol or acetone. This is done by
putting a drop of common rubbing alcohol or pure acetone on the specimen and
letting it evaporate. If the specimen is
copal, the surface will become tacky.
Amber will remain unaffected and the surface will not be damaged. However, other fake materials such as glass
or plastics also are unaffected by rubbing alcohol or acetone. The only material this test
rules out is copal.
Another commonly recommended test is
the 'float test' or 'saltwater' test.
This is done by placing the specimen in a bowl of saltwater. Genuine amber should float. The cord and clasp can weigh it down slightly
but overall the amber should have no problem floating as long as just a few
test guidelines are followed. To perform
this test, place 4 cups of tap water in a bowl and mix in 1/2 cup of table or sea
salt. (We use sea salt typically.) Be sure to let the salt fully dissolve in the
water before conducting the test. Stir
the water every few minutes until you no longer see any salt granules in the
water. You're now ready to place the amber in the bowl. It should float immediately and stay
afloat. This test is good for ruling out
glass and most plastics with the exception of polystyrene. This test also does not rule out copal. However, the float
test is easy to perform, easy to interpret and does rule out a few more of the common
materials used to make fake amber.
We hope you've found this
information to be helpful. Our best recommendation is to purchase your amber from a reputable seller
who backs up their product with a money-back guarantee. We have been in business since 2007 and
have always offered this guarantee. We have tens of thousands of satisfied, repeat customers.
We are proud of our reputation as one of the most highly-recommended
sources for 100% genuine Baltic amber jewelry.
If you have any questions, please do
not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.