Learn to Spot Fake Amber - 6 Methods You Can Use At Home

Spot Fake Amber

September 30, 2016 5 min read 3 Comments

One of the most critical aspects of buying anything online is trusting the company or seller. Will the item that appeals you really look as it does in the image?

Is it of good quality?

Are you getting duped in buying the full price of something when it is less than authentic?

As much as we may want to believe what we see or read is what we will receive, the sad truth is that it not always the case.

Not all Amber is Genuine

You owe it to yourself to do a little research or detective work on a product whether you do it before or after you receive it -- after all, it is not too foreign to think you could potentially be dealing with an untruthful individual or business. Baltic Amber is a wonderful natural remedy that can cure sufferers from a variety of ailments without having to deal with side effects.

If you arenot seeing the results you expected, it is possible you were given a knock-off. In the event you ever question if the amber you bought is real or not, you can figure out by testing it.

 Spot Fake Amber

Types of Fake Amber that Exist

Amber has existed for millions of years and is made from the resin of pine trees and, as its name would suggest, appears deep yellow.

Real amber is warm to the touch and has a wax-like shine to it -- it will not appear as a glossy shine.

Common imitations for amber are casein, celluloid, copal, glass, kauri gum, plastic, and phenolic resin.

  1. Casein:A popular substitute that is derived from milk and converted into a type of plastic. Like amber, it is a cloudy yellow; however, unlike amber it heavier and, when burned, it smells like the plastic imposter that it is.
  2. Celluloid: Visually, celluloid is close in resemblance to amber which makes it a challenge to spot as fake. Celluloid is more inflammable, but when it burns, it smells like plastic and it is slightly denser in weight.
  3. Copal: This fake is also made from tree resin and natural inclusions are often added to them as well as insects to make them more good-looking. They tend to deteriorate faster at lower temperatures and melt rather than burn. When it does melt, you will notice a sweet scent. 
  4. Glass: There are a lot of differences you could spot if your amber is made from glass. It is colder to the touch, fireproof, scratchproof (when you use metal or steel) and is more solid.
  5. Kauri Gum: It is extremely close to copal as it has the same features in appearance, insects, and inclusions. They are able to insert these fake insects by drilling a hole into it or cracking them. If you see either of the two, you will know you are dealing with a fake. A genuine insect in real amber should appear black; they are never colorful. Some may also be covered with a white residue.
  6. Phenolic Resin: They have a particular shape (smooth and oval). While the color is similar to that of amber, it does not emit a resin smell when burned, which should happen with genuine amber.
  7. Other Plastic: The primary modern plastics used to pose as real amber are polystyrene and polyester. They may also have inclusions that are often made in the canter. It also emits a plastic smell when it is burned.

How To Test If Amber is Real?

Sure, you could burn your amber if you want to determine whether or not it is fake, but it is far from conventional because there probably aren't many who like the idea of destroying their potential gem for the sake of a science experiment in the event it is genuine.

A better option, if you do wish to use this method, would be to do a hot needle test. This is done by sticking a hot needle (the right temperature and pressure is needed) in the least visible spot.

Salt Water Test

Anything that does not have the distinct smell of pine tree resin, such as a plastic or chemical smell, is not real amber.

  1. Rubbing Test - One of the more simpler and safer tests to go about unveiling real or fake amber is completing a static test. You can easily rub amber with your hands or with a cloth to produce heat as well to see if it emits a tree resin smell. There will also be an oily residue that appears on your hands after several seconds of rubbing very fast. Real amber also has an electrostatic charge, and when rubbed it will attract to things like your clothes, hair, lint or dust. Copal, in particular, will become tacky while real amber remains smooth during the process.
  2. Salt Water Test - Take a bowl or pot out and fill it with water and salt using a 2:1 ratio then mix it. In salt water, genuine amber will float while most fakes, which are denser in weight, will sink. After you complete the test, be sure to rinse off your amber in fresh water and dry it.
  3. Acetone/ Muratic Acid Test - Completing the acetone test is best done on raw specimens. Pour several drops of acetone (it can also be found in nail polish) or muratic acid over the amber you wish to test. If it is real, you will notice that the amber was completely unaffected and the product will evaporate. If you use nail polish, be sure to use a remember, it should wipe off clean. If it is fake, you will be left with a sticky mess when you touch it. Be sure to test just a small area that is not visible and do not get the cord wet with acetone!
  4. Taste Test - Before you start the taste test, you will want to wash the amber. It should not have any taste to it unlike fakes which will taste either like plastic or chemicals to the tongue.
  5. Scratch Test - While it may not look like it, amber is soft, and if you attempt to scratch it in an inconspicuous area with a sharp needle or knife, it will a create chip or splinter known as a conchodial fracture. You would not get that effect with fakes like glass. You will also have just scratched your beautiful necklaces – so leave this test until the very end.
  6. UV Light - Authentic amber is florescent and shining UV light over it will glow pale. Be sure to complete this in a dark room with the right eye protection gear. Under this light, typical fluorescent colors are green, yellow or orange, but blue is most common. Other materials, such as copal, will not become florescent under the light.

Pure Amber with Baltic Essentials 

While many sellers will overcharge you, others will sell "amber" at a cheap price to make you believe you are getting a deal when you are not.

Others may sell you pressed amber, which are small fragments of amber that have been fused using intense heat or pressure, for a cheap price.

While it appears more uniform and transparent in the process, it is nowhere near as beneficial as pure amber and will not give you the same results.

Baltic Essentials Amber is made from 100% genuine amber using our highest quality standards, promising you the best results in treating a symptom naturally.

Baltic Essentials Amber Necklace


3 Responses

Kenneth Dombroski
Kenneth Dombroski

May 18, 2019

Can you help me? I’m looking for a men’s necklace ,congac in color. Polished would be nice .about ?? 22"

Dawn Hamer
Dawn Hamer

May 13, 2018

I need to identify stone found in church cellar resembling amber.

Carri Foss
Carri Foss

October 17, 2016

Do you have semi raw Amber necklaces?

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