Green Amber

Hi, Everyone! I have purchased some cabs of green amber, almost a
Peridot color. One supplier tells me it is dyed, another tells
me it is natural. My instinct tells me it is dyed, and I would
like to be properly informed to tell my customers the truth.
Also, what is the best technique and material to polish amber
since it is rather soft and seems to scratch easily. Thank you
for your help! Vera

At a show, recently, someone told me that their spouse purchased
some green amber. The green amber is supposed to be natural,
but quite rare. I have never seen green amber, so I wasn’t
sure that what this woman was telling me was correct.

I was under the impression that amber is heat treated somehow to
turn green. Maybe not heat, but definitely treated.

Amber is extremely soft, and polishing is very easy. Use
sandpaper to take out scratches - I’d start with 600 grit unless
the scratches are barely noticeable in which case I’d either use
1000 grit or go straight to the polishing stage. You can always
go back to a coarser grit if you need to. Don’t press hard, take
it real slow and easy as the material will sand away very
quickly, look at the stone very often to see how it’s going.
Don’t make a flat spot when sanding - follow the curvature of the
stone. If the scratches are deep and aren’t coming out quickly
(e.g., an accidental sawblade or file cut - someday I’ll remember
to take my ring off first) go down to 400, then back to 600. Go
to 1000 grit, again real gently. Polish using some diatomaceous
earth (I think it’s a gardening product, I get it at the local
health food store) on a piece of clean leather that hasn’t been
used for anything else. Sounds slow, but it’ll take five
minutes, max.

Have fun!

...... what is the best technique and material to polish amber
since it is rather soft and seems to scratch easily.  Vera

G’day Vera; I would suggest that any non-wax polish which
polishes perspex (lucite, acrylic resins) will do the same for
amber. Brasso polishes lucite beautifully, but don’t use a buff;
you will tend to melt the surface. Polish by hand using a soft
cloth - it doesn’t take too much ‘elbow-grease’!

       / /
      / /
     / /__|\
    (_______)  In sunny temperate Mapua NZ -

Autumn’s here and the leaves are going

Also, what is the best technique and material to polish amber
since it is rather soft and seems to scratch easily.

I use Zam on my buffer with a treated yellow muslin buffing
wheel. Works great for me.

Carol W.

Hi! There was tons of green amber in Tucson this last feb. Blake
Brothers had alot of it at cheap prices. They are pretty honest
and said yes, it is dyed. It was attractive but artificially
colored. (it was a transparent olive green) Sue in finally sunny
shingle springs!

I have seen green amber and I think it is really ugly. I have
been trying to find out if it is the real thing or whether it is
dyed. The person I saw who had it said “of course it is real,
it came from green trees.” I wonder if the person ever tried to
sell bridges before he began to sell amber.


Green amber is indeed available as a natural material but I
presume it can also be died to that colour - if the pieces are
not cut then the dye will almost certainly be only skin deep. I
polish amber with duraglit - the metal polish that comes
impregnated into a wadding like material, the previous finish is
usually 16 micron diamond but 600 grit cloth would probably be
OK. The great advantage is that you can do it sat in front of the

Andy Parker, Agate House Lapidary
Ulverston, Cumbria, England

We have received several flyers from established amber dealers
that are very excited about their “new” green amber, Martha
called and asked a few questions when we first received these
flyers and we were assured by the owners (in some cases, the
miners) that the green amber was totally natural and unenhanced.
We haven’t seen any yet except in pictures. That doesn’t mean
that ALL green amber is totally natural but it does mean that at
least some of it is, and these folks would be the ones that would

Greg and Martha
Austin, TX.

Just to add a bit more fog to the subject - Looks like whether
or not it is dyed or treated may depend on where it came from!
John Sinkankas’ “Germstones of North America” Vol III p.3
mentions amber from Coalmont, British Columbia as being mostly
"trapsparent to translucent, varying in colour from pale yellow
through brown to bottle-green and black. The darker specimens are
almost invariably opaque. Some pieces are quite transparent and
free from flaws, and are bright, pleasing cherry-red in colour."
The amber was field-tested by the Mines Department and found to
contain only a small amount of succinic acid and therefore was
classified as retinite; as it was much less soluble in ether than
the Prussian amber. this was in l947, but – So apparently green
amber DOES exist, except that it is classed as retinite, not
amber, but apparently has the appearance of amber. Margaret

Hello Vera,

Amber : Composition : carbon + hydrogen + oxygen, the chimical
structure is not consistent so its formula can be slightly

Refractive index : 1.54
Specific gravity : 1.05 - 1.10
Hardness : 2 - 2.5
Luminescence : bluish white under LW UV, greenish under SW UV.

Amber will soften at 150 - 180C and will melt around 250 -
C. Varieties : ranging from near white (osseous) to lemon ,
golden, yellow, redish-brown, brown and black, and sometimes blue
and green. The possible causes of the blue or green amber are :

  • the penetration of raw resin by certain mineral deposits that
    were originally in the soil it fell into, or

  • the settlement of volcanic ash and dust onto the resin when it
    was first secreted. In any of the changes, the resin acquires its
    special colour due to the permeation of non original compounds.

Treatments :

- clarified : cloudy anber is heated in rapeseed oil.
- pressed : small pieces of amber are heated and compressed.
- stained : from yellow-brown to red, or to obtain other colours,
  especially green.

Best regards,

There are blue and green ambers from the Dominican Republic.
They’re rare, but they do exist. The colors are visible only as
an irridescent sheen when the amber is seen in sunlight. -Pete-

I saw some green amber recently, but it wasn’t a peridot green;
more an army green. That was definiely natural.

Janet Kofoed
fine handcrafted jewelry

Green amber was also found in Sicily but it’s not succinite but
rather the same type as the Dominican Amber. What I saw looked
very much like peridot in color and it tested as amber; the
necklace dated from around 1900. I have also seen some Mexican
amber which was a bright emerald green. Dominican amber
sometimes has a greenish cast as well as a blue cast. I have a
couple of pieces of Baltic green anber and it is a light olive
green. It’s pretty and just unusual enough to make people look
twice. I would suppose it could be dyed and I would imagine that
someone will come up with a test for that. I guess that if you
can heat treat lemon yellow to come up with the cognac color
that a lot of people like then a dye process could happen as

So, having added my 2 cents worth…
have fun with it!


I’ve been buying Baltic amber for the past 10 yrs in Tucson.
Tucson '98 was the first yr I ever saw green amber and it was in
ready-made earrings, brooches, & pendants set in SS. I asked the
dealer (who was from Poland) about it. I think she said it was
heat-treated (not dyed) and I got the impression that green
amber was an experiment that had gone awry and was being marketed
as a new type of amber because the public always wants something
new & different.

I turned my nose up at it in '98 because it didn’t look natural.
However, throughout my '98 selling season I did hear my
customers ask if I had “any of that new green amber” and I saw
others wearing green amber rings of which their friends wanted
one, too.

In Tucson '99 I saw a lot more green amber, this time in
freeform cabs too, and from more dealers. So I bought some and
will try wire-wrapping them and see it they sell. However, I
really do believe that the color isn’t natural (has anyone see
it before '98?). Could it be something like denim lapis which is
really very low quality lapis that’s being marketed under a new
name & goes really well with blue jeans?


I have a necklace of ethnic origin . African Amber with silver
Beads , the white bone spacer beads are recent additions. It was
purchased 4 or 5 years ago at an auction of several collections .
If anyone would like a color scan please contact me off list.

Respectfully Yours, Robert L.Powell - @rlpowell -