It's not difficult to distinguish a real amber from fake - plastic or copal. You could try just a few simple tests:
1. Copal (immature resin) and plastic fake amber do not hold up to solvents. You could perform this simple test with acetone (fingernail polish remover). The real amber won't be harmed and will not dissolve under these solvents.
2. Amber does not melt, it will burn away like incense. Amber smells sweet, piney and pleasant when burnt, the very reason it has been used for centuries as incense.
3. Amber is buoyant in salt water. To do this test, mix about 1 part salt to 2 parts water and dissolve the salt completely. Drop your piece into the mixture. Plastic and copal will drop out, while amber floats.
How to Identify an Amber Gemstone?
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23 March 2011
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