Six Tests To Identify Real Amber from Fake
Since Amber has a several unique features there are a few different tests that you can use in order to find out if its real or not. Many people want to be sure that they are buying jewelry made from Authentic Baltic Amber because other types or fakes doe not contain Succinic Acid, which is responsible for the health benefits of this jewelry.
Here are the most common methods to test for authentic natural Baltic Amber:
1. Visual Amber Test
One of the first things you can do when testing Amber and jewelry made from it is to test it visually. Real Amber beads tend to be unique in their appearance so you should look for imperfections when inspecting them. Some common imperfections are tiny cracks or small air bubbles. When you touch Amber it tends to be a little warm, which is not the case with most other fakes.
2. Salt Water Test
The other effective test for identifying real Amber from fake is the Salt Water test. In order to do this test you will need about 7 teaspoons of salt and a medium size cup of water. Add the salt to the cup of water, stir well until the salt is fully disolved. Add your Amber to the salt water.
Real Amber should float in this water easily. Fake amber will sink fast. The drawback of this test method is that it is not suitable for testing amber that has metal or other components to it. However it works well for loose beads.
3. The Friction Test
One of the simplest ways to distinguish real Amber from Copal is to do a "Rubbing Test". Since real Amber has electrostatic properties it can pick up tiny paper pieces or dust when it is charged sufficiently.
In order to charge Amber with electrostatic energy, you need to wrap it in a cloth and then rub it for some time, about 30 to 60 seconds of friction shoudl do it.
Next, hold the amber gemstone close to a strand of hair. If your hair is attracted to the amber stone it means that static electricity was produced you are holding real Amber. Alternatively if this gemstone didn’t became charged but rather sticky it means that it is Copal, pressed or fake amber.
4. Hot Needle Test
One more way to differentiate genuine Amber from fake is "Hot Needle" test. To perform this test you will need to heat a needle, then push it against the amber stone. If the needle went in, ever so slightly it means that it is most likely real Amber.
Also if it is genuine Amber you should also notice a faint smell of pine. When doing the same test with fake amber, the needle will go in very easily and you will notice the smell of plastic.
Note: The main disadvantage of this test is that it might leave a small mark, which is caused by needle.
5. Scratch Test
The "Scratch Test" is not usually preferred when testing expensive Amber pieces. This is because scratching on the amber stone can damage it.
Doing this test can help to separate colored glass from Amber, and is useful because glass beads can’t be scratched while using metal. Real Amber is soft enough that its beads can be scratched.
So basically if you can scratch on your jewelry bead it is most likely real Amber and if you are not able to do this then its probably a fake.
6. Scent Test
This test might be a bit too difficult for individuals who are not very familiar with this natural resin. This is mainly because you need to know how the difference between smell of Copal and Baltic Amber. The scent of true Baltic Amber tends to be stronger than with Copal or fake amber. And in cases where you are dealing with other types of fakes you should smell plastic scent once a bead is heated.
Before choosing one of these tests it is important to keep in mind that some of them might leave marks or ruin your Amber stone. If you are testing an expensive Amber stone, it might be a good idea to choose a safer test.
Also it is worthwhile to mention that if the price is too good to be true, it usually is. If while shopping for authentic Amber jewelry and the price is much lower than most competitors, this is a fairly good indication that something might be not right.
Alternatively you can also request seller to provide certificates of Amber authenticity. Reputable and trustworthy sellers will have no issues when providing you with this kind of certification.