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TygrEyes
19-09-2004, 07:59
I'm curious as to what the biggest and/or most unusual inclusions are that you've seen in amber. Anything other than insects?

TygrEyes
19-09-2004, 09:58
Okay, I'm asking because I saw on Ebay some sellers w/ amber w/ a small snake inside. Some say it's resin while others say amber. Has anyone heard of REAL amber having a little snake inside it?

~ Thanks ~

OakDragon
19-09-2004, 10:08
Originally posted by TygrEyes
Okay, I'm asking because I saw on Ebay some sellers w/ amber w/ a small snake inside. Some say it's resin while others say amber. Has anyone heard of REAL amber having a little snake inside it?

~ Thanks ~

I don't know for sure, but I find that really hard to imagine. Amber is fossillized tree sap, isn't it? That would have to have been one sizable puddle of it, no matter what size of "snake". Could it be a small worm or larva of some sort?

OakDragon
19-09-2004, 10:10
Originally posted by TygrEyes
Okay, I'm asking because I saw on Ebay some sellers w/ amber w/ a small snake inside. Some say it's resin while others say amber. Has anyone heard of REAL amber having a little snake inside it?

~ Thanks ~

I think I found the one you mean... even if it is real somehow, it's only going for $1.00?!

Ummm.... beware!

TygrEyes
19-09-2004, 10:21
Yeah, I think the snakes are real but the "amber" is suspect. I found a pendant for much more initially & she gives the metaphysical properties of amber & says it'd also have the same properties of the snake. If it was real I'd buy it, but I don't like the idea of baby snakes being killed to enclose in fake amber & sold. I believed it until I saw the dirt cheap versions. I sent an e-mail to ask if it's a "real snake in real amber". We'll see if I get a response. Maybe she doesn't know it's fake, if it is.

Ruby7
19-09-2004, 14:43
How big is the piece? This really does not sound right.

Genuine pieces of amber with genuine insect inclusions are rarely found, so a snake seems quite unbelievable. Most times it is reconstructed amber with an insect planted in it.

If it is a genuine piece of amber with a genuine animal inclusion there should be an indication of a struggle as the insect was slowly trapped in the resin (amber is fossilized, hardened resin of the pine tree), this would show up as swirling around the poor creature.

I don't think this is real.

Ruby7

Majecot
20-09-2004, 00:55
Hmmm there seems to be quite a few of these "rare" pieces of amber with the snake.... I agreee, the amber is suspect. If it were so inexpensive, I would have some.

TygrEyes
20-09-2004, 01:12
Thanks for your input, everyone. There's no doubt in my mind that they're fakes now. In the pieces I've seen on Ebay the little snake in neatly coiled. You wouldn't believe the price of the original piece I saw. Most of the cheaper ones say they're from China or Tibet - yeah, factory in China where they take baby snakes & encase them in resin. Go to Ebay & search "snake amber". It's a little disturbing. Do they gas them first?

HudsonGray
20-09-2004, 04:21
Ick, that's disgusting!

I've seen museum photos of the real stuff--amber chunks with a bird feather in it, one with a small gecko type lizard & others with large beetles. Anything that gets stuck into the sticky sap from the resin making trees & then covered with more sap has the possibility of being in amber way down the line. Idid hear of a bat, also, but don't know for sure because I never saw the actual image.

Real amber (Dominican, Baltic, whatever) is still priced by the gram, so seeing it at too low a price is always suspect.

Kyrielle
20-09-2004, 13:03
I have also heard of lizards, birds, mammals being caught in amber. Possible but very rare.

If the amber is fake, maybe the snakes in it are, too. Rubber or something?

Kyrielle

Shade
21-09-2004, 13:47
This seller state that the amber is synthetic.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=10876&item=7103098810&rd=1

HudsonGray
21-09-2004, 15:26
I looked under the words synthetic amber & was surprised to see there's a LOT of it out there. Some is plastic, some resin, and some are 50/50 mixed with real ground up amber particles. That must make it hard for jewelers to identify the real thing.

Ruby7
22-09-2004, 00:04
Originally posted by HudsonGray
I looked under the words synthetic amber & was surprised to see there's a LOT of it out there. Some is plastic, some resin, and some are 50/50 mixed with real ground up amber particles. That must make it hard for jewelers to identify the real thing.

It is difficult to tell sometimes by just looking at the piece in question but there are a few lab tests that we can do to determine if it is genuine amber.

One simple test is by checking the specific gravity using a salt solution (glass of salt water) with a known piece of amber as an indicator stone. Add salt to the water until your known piece of amber floats. Most plastics and Bakelite will sink when immersed in this solution but of course amber will float. This is not definitive since copal (a natural fossil resin also) will float and plastic beads containing large gas or air bubbles can float also.

A spot of ether placed on the surface of copal will usually produce a sticky patch whereas in true amber there is no action.

Ultra-violet light tests can separate amber from other substances also.

If desparate there is also a test where the blade of a knife is applied (very carefully to an inconspicuos spot) Amber and copal resins break away (very easily and distinctively) in powdery splinters or chips. Glass would not be affected. Plastics peel, Bakelite would be reisitant to the blade.

The peelings on the knife blade can then be burned to see if they have the aromatic smell characteristic of amber (copal has this also)

Probably forgot something but I think that's enought for now,

Ruby7

HudsonGray
22-09-2004, 08:33
I remember a heat test being mentioned for amber--but you'd damage the item. You basically take a needle & heat it red hot then touch it to the surface. If you smell pine tree, it's real. If you smell plastic then it's fake.

Ruby7
22-09-2004, 11:17
The heat test would definitely damage the stone, but if done carefully with just the needle point it doesn't show too much. If the stone is already in a ring sometimes you can get at the amber underneath the setting (if the setting is open).

Ruby7

Shade
22-09-2004, 17:46
I've always been a fan of the beautiful smelling amber resin sold as an incense. Only recently did I discover taht most of the beautiful stuff was actually a combination of benzoin and vanilla. C'est la vie, I still like using it as an incense even if it isn't amber.

Shade
24-09-2004, 09:17
this link explains it a bit more

http://www.somaluna.com/category_amber.asp?

Kyrielle
01-10-2004, 13:21
If you rub amber with wool and hold it to your head, it will attract your hair. Static electricity -- I think the Greek name for amber was "elektron" because of it.

I don't know about plastic.

Kyrielle

Ruby7
01-10-2004, 22:32
Hi Kyrielle,

Yeah I forgot about that---and no plastic does not do this.

Ruby7

TygrEyes
03-03-2005, 03:46
I know I started this about inclusions, but does anyone have an amber sphere? I have two & was wondering how common it is that it's shaped into spheres - excluding beads. :o)
Oh, and when I did the rubbing on wool test with my first smaller sphere it repelled hair not attracted it. What's up with that? It's still an electrical "force".

Majecot
03-03-2005, 08:49
TygrEyes I found some interesting articles on Amber, on how it is extracted or collected. Amber made into jewlery is pretty popular. I found this picture of an amber egg, the actual egg itself is pretty small but the base of the main egg is also amber.

amber egg (http://www.geo.uw.edu.pl/HOBBY/AMBER/egg.htm)

I do not see why it could not be fashioned into a sphere as well.

Here are some other interesting items made from amber (http://www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/uses.htm).

TygrEyes
04-03-2005, 01:32
I found this link also. I started to read it, but it's so long I haven't finished it.

http://www.baltic.amber.museum/english/galerija-gint-daileje-1.htm

I think one of your links went to a specific page on the above site.

About amber in general, I found a site that had a tip or secret to getting scratches out of amber. It said to use car wax and styrofoam to polish it. All that would do is fill the scratch with car wax! That's not my idea of removing a scratch. The bigger sphere that I just got in the mail yesterday has some small scratches/pits & one bigger scratch, but I wouldn't want to fill it up with wax - yuck.

Kyrielle
19-08-2006, 08:32
bumping this thread up due to recent interest...