Dear Orchid Readers,
Well, sorry to report that the wonderful Burmese ‘Amber’ I’ve
been buying and telling people about has been determined by the
AIGS Gem Lab to be genuine 100% Bakelite.
I’m going on a websurfing search for about this
material this evening. I hear it was developed before 1910, and
was one of the first forms of true plastic ever produced. Could
this be? There was apparently jewelry produced with the
material in earlier days as well. I’ve gotta say the color is
rather beautiful, and it dosen’t really ‘feel’ or smell like
plastic to me. The fumes produced with the hot pin did not
strike me as particularly ‘plasticky’ either. Just smells bad,
and even struck me as rather resinous!
The amazing thing is the inclusions, which led me to believe it
might be real. There are small fuzzy looking black spots,
irregularly shaped, in some pieces. Some has alot of air
bubbles; other pieces have none visible. Some is quite orange,
other is definitely red. Further, there is a small ‘stick’ in
one piece, which may still be one for all I know now. The
kicker for me was the about 4mm across ‘spider’-like inclusion.
At 10x, it still looks like a slightly mangled spider, and it
too might very well be one! How easy is this stuff to make?
The next question I have is, where is this particular Bakelite,
that with it’s red color can really only be sold as an imitation
of Burmite, being produced? Likely candidate is India, but I
guess it could be China, or Burma itself. Has anyone out there
ever seen this stuff before? I do not remember ever seeing any
on trips to Nepal, and you’d think it would be there if it were
made in India. It seemed only the yellow Indian plastic
imitation is sold there. I’m baffled…
I know, I know, everyone whw knows anything at all about gems
knows there’s a ton of synthetic Amber out there. How could I
be so naive as to think this might be real? Feel kinda stupid,
duh, but intrigued a bit as well.
Thank you. Scott.
G.P.G. Company Limited
206 Mahaesak Rd., Soi 2
Sitthikorn Bldg., Ste. 202
Bangkok, Thailand 10500
Phone (662) 635-6323
Fax (662) 635-6324