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Amber


#1

Does anyone know about Amber??.. I have a tear drop amber that
she broke the point on and now wants it repointed and a new hole
drilled…Never have I worked on Amber so what and how do I re
form the point and will I have any trouble drilling a hole near
the top for a jump ring or etc… Would appreciate help… I have
all diamond wheels for shaping and diamond drills for drilling
courtesy of the dental people… Anything else I need … What do
you use for polishing???Thanks for the help to come…calgang


#2
Does anyone know about Amber??..

Amber is very soft. All you need to recut the piece are your
saw, files, sanding papers and a polishing wheel. Reshape the
piece with a medium file, smooth with finer files and sand paper
then polish with a buff. Carefull with the polishing. Amber is
very sensitive to heat and will melt, light touches with the buff
are all that is necessary once you have sanded it down with 600
grit sand paper. You can redrill the hole with a standard high
speed drill. Steve Brixner


#3

Thanks sounds easy but think I shall try on a little piece
before I tackle the owners piece… But thanks again calgang


#4

All you need to recut the piece are your saw, files, sanding
papers and a polishing wheel…

After reading your post, I tried to clean up a piece of broken
oval cab I had. Not only was I able to take a broken piece of
scrap and make it look better than it had when I purchased it,
but I now have another finished piece of jewelry in my case. The
scrap is now a bullet shape in a gold and diamond pendant.

How can I ever thank you?!

Sharon Ziemek


#5

smooth with finer files and sand paper
then polish with a buff. Carefull with the polishing. Amber is
very sensitive to heat and will melt, light touches with the buff
are all that is necessary once you have sanded it down with 600
grit sand paper.

Hi Steven, Having worked some amber (even turned some on the
lathe), I agree with your tips. To add one thing, use dedicated
polishing wheels and buffs for amber, plastics, ivory, anything
non-metal. The very fine black metal dust that is on the buff
from polishing metal will melt into the amber no matter how
careful you are. I use a polishing compound specially formulated
for plastics (German brand, don’t think it’s available in USA).
As for drilling, you could try starting from both sides to
prevent breakout, and do not angle or skew the drill during
drilling, it could break away a piece from the rim, or even the
whole section above the hole. Markus


#6

Markus, thanks for your addendum about using dedicated
polishing wheels and drilling amber. Steve Brixner


#7

Dear Mr. Platt,

I am Scott Davies, a friend of Dr. Aspler. . I read your Amber
article. Nicely done.

I just took two trips, one to Nepal, and one to Burma. I go the
latter often. I saw Amber, of different types, in both place,
and wonder if it is synthetic. In Nepal, most of the material,
sold as from Tibet, was bright, light yellow with streaks of
cloudy material running lenthwise down the beads. It is not
golden or red in color, but pure sulfer-yellow. To me, it all
looks too uniform, and a prime candidate for a plastic fake from
India. Burma has a source in the far northwest for Amber. This
is quite red, with no visible inclusions, and comes in some very
large sizes. I’m also suspicious of plastic, because the pieces
are so large, clean, and uniform. Amber is not really my
favorite gem material, but I was interested in these two very
different varieties that don’t resemble Columbian or Dominican
Republic material at all. Thanks for your informative article.

Best Regards,
Scott Davies
G.P.G. Company Limited
Bangkok, Thailand
gpg@loxinfo.co.th

(I’m American, but my grandfather was a Welshman, hence the ‘gsd’,
Gareth Scott Davies. I’d love to visit Great Britian soon.)


#8

I was very pleased to receive your e mail concerning my amber
article. It is always enjoyable to get correspondence on a topic
you have written about. So I would like to thank you for taking
the time to contact me.

It was very interesting to read your observations on the Nepal
and Burmese amber samples. I do not wish to malign the Nepalese
traders but this area is known for fake amber, particularly the
’egg yolk’ variety. I attach some methods at the end of this e
mail which you can employ to identify true amber.

The Burmese amber is extremely interesting. I have been trying
to get hold of samples from this region. The red colour you
describe is in keeping with references I have come across. I
would be very interested in acquiring some raw samples of you
can locate a source.

I have an uncle who is Welsh. He lives in South Wales in small
village called Ammanford.

Thank you once again for writing to me. I hope to hear from you
again. Garry


#9
  1. Does anyone know how to test amber? I suspect the amber I bought
    is synthetic as it melts in a candle flame!!! It also smells of
    camphor while sawing it.

  2. Is there any way of recognizing real amber in the store?(I think
    they won’t allow me to set it on fire…!) Thank you, Linda

** Hanuman’s Resopnse **

Check out http://www.ganoksin.com/borisat/nenam/amber.htm for
complete information

Hanuman


#10

Folks-- This is for you amber-mavens out there. I don’t work with
it, but I teach, and some students do. When amber has those perfectly
round “sequin” inclusions, am I correct in believing that it has to
be reconstituted or other non-natural amber?

Thanks!
–Noel


#11

Hello Noel:

    When amber has those perfectly round "sequin" inclusions, am I
correct   in believing that it has to be reconstituted or other
non-natural amber? 

Amber is sometimes heated to produce disk like small fractures
called “Sun Spangles” and small peices of Amber are sometimes
Sintered together to make larger peices. How perfect are these Sequin
inclusions? Michael R. Mathews Sr. Victoria,Texas USA JACMBJ


#12
    Folks-- This is for you amber-mavens out there. I don't work
with it, but I teach, and some students do. When amber has those
perfectly round "sequin" inclusions, am I correct in believing that
it has to be reconstituted or other non-natural amber? 

Noel - That’s called “sunburst” amber, and I believe it is a heat
process that produces that effect. Yes, it is human - induced.
Margery


#13

Hi all, Spangled Amber which has round “sequin” forms in it is real
amber that has been heated in oil to create the effect. I can’t
give you specifics (temp, time, oil etc) but that’s the bottom line.
Another thing to know/watch for when buying amber is copal. Copal is
REALLY young amber. It is tree sap, but it hasn’t hardned and
fossilized over millions of years. It can be purchased relatively
cheaply by the 55gal barrel and is used for making turpentine. How
to recognize it? Well, it is softer than amber but also it is much
greasier to work…it will load up tools very quickly, it will be
harder to get a good looking finish on it.


#14

Noel, No, It’s amber alright but it has been heat treated. As I
understand it, amber tends to be cloudy when found but it is
clarified by heating it in oil which also results in the "spangles"
Jerry in Kodiak


#15
    Folks-- This is for you amber-mavens out there. I don't work
with it, but I teach, and some students do. When amber has those
perfectly round "sequin" inclusions, am I correct in believing that
it has to be reconstituted or other non-natural amber? 

Hi, In my experience, when amber has the “spangles”, it’s usually a
sign of heating. This is done to improve the clarity of the amber.

Richard


#16
When amber has those perfectly round "sequin" inclusions, am I
correct in believing that it has to be reconstituted or other
non-natural amber? 

Hi Noel. When you see the amber inclusions known as “sun spangles”,
they usually result from natural amber that has been heat treated to
improve its’ clarity. I don’t know if the same treatment is applied
to reconstituted amber or not, but I don’t imagine that it would
need clarity improvement. The best way to determine if the amber is
reconstituted that I know of is to look for the tell-tale seam from
the mold used to collect and shape it.


#17
I believe it is a heat process that produces that effect. Yes, it
is human - induced. 

But didn’t humans just duplicate the process “invented” by nature?
In other words, aren’t these spangles present in some natural amber
and didn’t that give someone the idea to use heat to reproduce the
effect? I’ve always been under that impression but I could be wrong.

Beth


#18
 Q.    Folks-- This is for you amber-mavens out there. I don't
work with it, but I teach, and some students do. When amber has
those perfectly round "sequin" inclusions, am I correct in
believing that it has to be reconstituted or other non-natural
amber?  

A. - Noel - you are wrong. It is natural amber. And here is the
"however" - the sequins are a result of annealing the amber. In
it’s original state from the sea or as mined, it is very brittle.
Amber is usually treated, permanently, by warming it to 180F -
coffee temperature- in oil. When warmed, the internal stresses
often present as the discs or sequins you have noticed.

And now for more than you ever wanted to know about amber - green
amber from Poland is the same stuff, but has the skin left on the
outside of some part of the cab, highlighting the sequins. Some
Polish dealers enhance the effect by painting the skin with a black
paint, making the sequins even more noticeable. A few years ago,
green amber was marketed with well defined star bursts or rays. A
dealer told me that when the amber was annealed, already cut as a
cab, it was smacked when very warm and the rays would radiate from
the impact point.

If you ever have amber with bugs, it almost never has the
characteristic discs. The reason is buggy amber isn’t heated
because the greatest area of stress is where the insect is included
and annealing would cover the critter with a large disc, thus
destroying the value of the piece. Consequently, buggy amber is
fragile, brittle and will break when dropped.

A way to identify reconstituted amber is to look for swirls or
abrupt color changes. This results from heating or pressing amber
chunks together, usually with added resins.

Natural amber floats in salt water. You can polish out scratches
with tripoli and final buff by hand on clean blue jeans. It is
easily shaped with a medium cratex wheel. if you are going to drill
it, go in and out fast, else it will stick to your drill.

I love amber - I get mine from Skagen Denmark, where the North Sea
and the Baltic Seas come together. It is the oldest known source of
amber. Or at least that is what the Danes tell me.

Judy Hoch, G.G.


#19

Amber, You asked about the “sequin” inclusions in amber. I worked
for a guy from Poland a few years ago and his wife had an amazing
collection of amber jewelry with multiple inclusions, some of which
were at least 10mm across and looked like frozen snow flakes in the
amber. I was told that they were a natural occurrence in an amber
that is found exclusively along the Baltic coast. There are
imitations of this amber created by heating the stone, but the real
thing is very, very rare. Her jewelry was over 100 years old and she
took it with her (as portable wealth) when she escaped from the
communists shortly before Poland won its independence. I have not
seen any thing like those stones since, and I work with amber quite
regularly. Rick Carew


#20

Aloha Everyone,

Noel, I do believe what you mean by “round sequin looking
inclusions” is air trapped in the amber. We have many pieces like
these and they do check out to be real amber.

Our amber test: 1/4 salt, 1/2 cup water, stir it up, then drop the
amber in it. If it floats, it’s real. If it sinks, is fake. Our
company bought an amber bracelet with some heft to it. I believe it
was over 40 grams just for the all amber bracelet. My designer took
it apart to use in unique design styles, but what she did was test
it first.

We have about 12 pieces of amber that do not have drills, some with
insects, and one very large Honey Amber that has the very large
round inclusions. Individuals helping us with sales watched this
test conducted. When asked which piece “Was the Real Amber” the one
picked was resin with amber slivers in it. The large piece of amber
we have is approximately 4 inches long, 3 inches wide, faceted to
look almost like an elongated thick kite shape. It weighed 4 times
as much as the resin look alike. When all the pieces were dropped
into this salt solution, all of the largest or thick pieces floated
like little boats but that resin look alike sank like a submarine.

We try to acquire amber that you speak of because it is beautiful
when held up to a light. Light can still pass through even with an
enormous amount of “round sequin looking inclusions”. Test your
piece out using the salt solution I listed above.

We are not Amber specialists. We learned by expensive lessons and
testing the goods. We now have 2 locations in the Baltic region
that we buy Amber in bulk from and we trust them. Trust is an issue
for any person buying a piece of Amber or We believe
that trusting the seller is of the utmost importance.

If you would like to converse via e-mail just reply directly to my
e-mail address. I will try to answer any question you have.

Don’t forget, you can write the women who won a certificate from
Poland. Her name is: Andzia pronounced (I believe “An gee ah”). I
searched my files and found her email address:

andzia@amberjewelry.com
Good luck Noel.
Much Aloha to All,
Barbara
HQCE
@myredcar