Why do collectors dislike copal?

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I keep getting asked about the copal I sell and it has prompted me to write a short review. Yes, I know I am a a seller but I started (and still am) a collector. The simple fact is YES copal is younger than amber, by how much is still debatable. I also sell Mammoth 'fossils' but no one writes to complain about them only being only 50 000 years old....... You will find many articles on the internet trying to debunk copal. Just about everything written in the articles is correct but you will see I am not selling this as amber. The concerns about trying to fool the buyer can be ignored as there is no deceit on my part. The prices ARE only a fraction of what a similar piece of amber would be worth and I am sure you appreciate that. As for the age of the copal, the tests that they talk about are only acurate up to 50000 years so no piece can be dated beyond this. I take my cue from the Natural History Museum in London who accept the copal is Quartenary in age so upto about 1.8 million years. The Baltic amber has been more thoroughly studied and gives dates of around 32-50 million years by testing the deposits. If you apply this to the copal with similarly huge deposits it is naive of any institution or collector/seller to say it is ALL just a few thousand years old. Some could well be but the resin must have been deposited over many 100s of thousand years or as the Museum suggests 2 million years. There is no way of knowing exactly how old the copal is (the same with amber) as the individual pieces can not be dated. I always state that the piece is upto 2 million years & that is what you will get. I see no differentiation between the 2 extremes in age of the copal as you get exactly what it is, a preserved insect (extinct or extant) beautifully displayed and forever contained in hardened tree resin. A piece of Baltic amber could be 15 million years younger than the next piece but this is normally ignored. As for surface crazing, you need to expose the piece to extreme conditions to force the process to accelerate. You have to remember this is part of the process to turn in to amber and as they will point out this takes 10s of millions of years. They can not have it both ways. I feel there is a real snobbery about amber & fantastic natural copal pieces are unnecessarily overlooked. Just be aware of what you are buying be it copal or amber and accept that the copal is younger. I also note many that moan about the age of the copal will happily sell or collect 10000 year old Mammoth 'fossils'.

I will step off the soap box now but hope this has been of some use. I display proudly both copal and amber together but never try and convince buyers that it is something it is not. This is the point that should be concentrated on and fortunately others have put together guides to checking the sellers claims. I encourage this and the need to question the seller to ensure they know what they are talking about or to see if they are hiding anything.

Thanks for listening, hope you can appreciate the copal as much as I do, Terence (I DIG DINOS & Fossilized Hunters)

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