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How to identify real or fake amber?

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How to identify real or fake amber?


I was in one of the bargain shops today, and came across a very nice ring which appears to be amber. It actually fits my tastes perfectly. I'd like to know whether it's real or not, as I know amber is easy to fake. The problem is, I can't do the float test because the amber is set in a ring (steel, I believe). I'm on the verge of testing it with a hot needle, as the ring is made in such a way as to allow the amber to touch the skin, which means that I could test a portion of it that isn't visible. Is there a better way to find out whether it's real? Although I will use the hot needle if I need to, I'd really rather not damage it unless it's the only way. Thanks.
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hi razordance.

i used to work with amber a lot when i first started jewellery making - i used to buy it raw and then polish it up.

you could always try the static test if there is enough of a dome shape to the ring?

rub it on something like carpet or a woollen sweater and then see if it picks up tiny pieces of paper, glitter or fluff.

but this test will only tell you if it is amber and not true amber in the sense of it being a lump that has been shaped and polished, and not re-constituted amber.

this is where they melt it and then pour it into moulds, and you can usually tell if there are lots of spangles inside it - like little round sunburst shapes.

here is a pic of what i mean... http://www.mineralminers.com/images/...ry/ambj126.jpg

it is still amber, but not natural occuring amber.

hope this helps you!

jue xx
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Thanks for the reply. I'll try the static test. As for the spangles, there are a few, but not nearly as many as in your pic. Most of the piece is very translucent. I'll try and post a pic.
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I work in a jewelry shop. My suggestion to you is to bring it into jewelry shop that has lots of real amber pieces. They will be able to tell you whether they believe it to be real amber. And after you see and touch enough of the real amber peices you'll be able to tell.

It's hard to tell because amber always has that plastic feeling to it anyway.


Is it a white metal or is it sterling silver?
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It's not silver. I think it's steel. Here are some pics (I hope). Not the greatest quality, but...

http://www.freeimghosting.com/images...5881897941.jpg
http://www.freeimghosting.com/images...5881896427.jpg
http://www.freeimghosting.com/images...5881896549.jpg
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well the colour is that of cognac amber, but i haven't come across amber being set in stainless steel over in the UK so that is a new one on me.

it certainly looks like amber, but pictures can be deceiving....try the static test and see what happens.

jue xx
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I remembered a discussion on an earlier thread on amber inclusions, so I bumped that one up. Enjoy!
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Just an update... I went into the same shop today, and found the match to my ring. It's a simple but beautiful bracelet with an equal sized, but slightly lighter colored piece of amber set into it. I also found a mark on the bracelet which under magnification reads 925. I'm told that this means sterling silver. I checked the ring with the magnifier and found that a mark that I thought was a small flaw in the metal is a 925 stamp as well. So, it looks as if both are silver. I was also speaking to someone today who knows jewelery and she told me that real amber glows under black light, so as soon as I find a black light, I'm going to double check. Honestly, though, finding out that the bands are silver instead of steel makes me think it more likely that the amber is real... A good buy, I'd say, at $15 CDN for the ring and $20 for the bracelet...
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Heat up a needle in a flame.

Touch the amber with it and smell it.

If it smells of burning plastic, that's what it is.
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Amber floats in salt water also. 1 tablespoon per cup of water I believe. Amber is also where our word 'electricity' came from - the Greeks called amber elektron, meaning electric, because of its tendency to create sparks when rubbed against paper or fabric. Tear up a really tiny piece of tissue, rub the amber vigorously on your clothing & immediately hold the amber to the tissue to see if it will draw it. Taste the amber - it shouldn't taste like plastic; if you rub it first it'll have a very mild piney taste.
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