I’ve been doing a lot of work with amber lately, research as well as
cutting. The first thing of which to be aware is that the longer
amber is out of the ground, the more brittle it can become. It seems
to become redder and more brittle as it ages. If yours is a very dark
red, it may well be brittle. You ought to be able to tell how
brittle it is by looking at it with about 10 to 15 x magnification.
If you see little crack lines on the surface, you’re finding
On the other hand it’s worth the try since it’s not doing anything
now just sitting there.
I polish amber by using a leather disk which is very damp and
impregnated with Lindy A, a very fine aluminum oxide polish for
stone. Most jewelry supply stores will have it. You can use a
flexshaft or even a Dremel and cut the leather disk yourself from
fullgrain leather. The one thing to watch out for with amber is
excessive heat because it can melt or burn. You have to go fairly
slowly and keep the leather moist. Also, if it does get overheated
and pulls excessively, you might need to clean the glazing off the
If you want to go lower tech than the above and it will take more
time, you can do a great deal of polishing by handrubbing the amber
on a piece of coarse denim on a flat surface. And to cut the amber,
you can use various grits of sandpaper.
Without knowing more about what you have available to you, these are