Identifying Amber-How to tell if it's real or fake.

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It's an old saying "If it's too good to be true, it problably is". I've just had an experience I will never forget and wish I had done some research before I committed myself into spending a lot of money, I must admit when I saw this piece I was taken and greed took over. I knew it would be worth quite a bit, what I didn't know was if it was genuine it would be worth £10s of thousands.

The picture does not do this piece any justice, it's just over 8cm long and the alarm bells started ringing after I had left the feedback for the seller so I decided to go to the experts..................Guess what?

1.Copal (immature resin) and plastic fake amber do not hold up to solvents.  Take a few drops of acetone (fingernail polish remover) or alcohol and drip it over the surface of your piece.  If the surface becomes tacky, or the fluid takes on the honey golden color of the substance, you can bet it's not amber.  Amber is not harmed and will not dissolve under these solvents.

2.Amber does not melt.  It will burn away like incense.  Copal will melt, as will plastic. However, the plastic will release a horrible chemical smell upon burning, while copal may release a smell similar to that of amber.  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.  That's why it is easy for locals on the Baltic Coast to find it washed up on beaches, especially after storm events. The amber gets stirred up from a layer known as blue earth, which is beneath layers of silt and clay on the ocean floor. 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.

Be aware because I am obliged to send this piece back because I have got my money back. Are you an Amber collector? Study the picture carefully, you never know, it may be re-listed.  

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