Did you know that wearing amber jewelry can have health benefits? Many adults wear real Baltic amber necklaces to help with inflammatory pain. However, this health benefit is only present when real amber is used because it contains succinic acid. As a result, you’ll need to know that you’ve invested in the right product. Read on to learn how you should distinguish between real and fake amber.
What Does Amber Look Like?
Amber is most often identified in its yellow-orange-brownish color that is associated with its name. However, it can also range from a whitish color to a pale lemon yellow to brown to almost black. Although there are ways that you can identify real amber from fake amber visually, color is not one of these ways. We’ll talk more about those tests below.
Companies will make claims that their amber jewelry or teething necklace are 100 percent authentic when that isn’t the case. Fake amber can be made out of plastic, copal, or another tree resin.
How to Test If Amber is Real
There are five tricks you can use to identify if amber is real or fake. Here’s what you need to know.
Visually assess your amber
This tops the list of one of the easiest tests you can do on your amber. Real amber will be unique in its appearance, which means imperfections like tiny air bubbles or cracks are normal. Beads will also vary in shape and will not be perfectly round. Your real amber will also be slightly warm to the touch. If any of these things are not true, then you may have fake amber on your hands.
Float your amber in warm brine
Warm brine is a high-concentrations solution of salt and water. Take a medium-sized cup of water and 3 to 5 tablespoons of salt. Add all of the salt into your water and stir well until the salt is fully dissolved. Then, add your amber into the water. You should see a result immediately. Real amber will float to the surface while fake amber will sink to the bottom.
Note: This method is best used on loose beads of amber rather than jewelry.
Do a UV light test on your amber
Real amber will produce a bluish or greenish glow when place in the path of a UV light. This is a simple and effective way for you to know if you have real amber. That said, it will require investment in a UV light, which can be worth it if you intend to purchase lots of amber over time.
Perform a rubbing test
Distinguishing real amber from fake amber can be done with a rubbing test. Real amber has electrostatic properties, and it can pick up tiny paper pieces or dust when it is charged sufficiently. Charge your amber by wrapping it in a cloth and rubbing it for 20 to 60 seconds. Then, hold the gemstone near a strand of your hair. If your hair is attracted to it, it means static was produced, and it is likely real amber. If the gemstone didn’t become charged, then it’s likely copal.
Test your amber by scent
This is a difficult test for anyone who is not experienced, so you may choose one of the other tests before this one. That said, both copal and Baltic amber have distinct smells. If you know the difference between the two, you should be able to identify if you have a real piece of amber just by smelling it.
Does Amber Float?
Yes, real amber does float in saltwater. This is one of the fastest and most accurate tests you can use to identify real amber from fake amber. As noted above, you’ll need a medium-sized cup of water and 3 to 5 tablespoons of salt. While you’ll see real amber float and fake amber sink fast, this is not the best test for amber jewelry. Jewelry that has some metal or other components to it will have an impacted result. So, it’s best used with loose beads.
Fake Amber Jewelry
If you’re looking to evaluate your amber jewelry, which cannot float in brine because of the other metals attached to it, start by assessing it visually. Real amber will have imperfection. Let the light pass through it. Do you see air bubbles or cracks? Does the shape look perfectly round? Does it feel warm? Is it slightly tacky to the touch rather than feeling smooth?
These are some of the first hints you can use to identify fake amber jewelry, especially if you’re looking at it in a shop or at pictures online. While most jewelry providers want their product to be perfect, real amber jewelry will not be.
Buy a Real Baltic Amber Necklace
Baltic amber necklaces are often called “teething” necklaces as they help babies as they are teething. Baltic amber contains succinic acid, a natural analgesic that is released when warm skin touches the beads. However, these necklaces are not exclusive to infants. Adults often enjoy using these necklaces as a natural analgesic and stress reliever. They also contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
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