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Polishing Amber


#1

To remove most scratches, use a loose buff, loaded with ordinary
Tripoli. Polish in a couple of directions. This will leave a not
quite high polish, which you refine with hand rubbing on a pair of
clean cotton denim jeans. If you want to shape the amber, use a red
craytex wheel, prior to the tripoli. You can do any of this on a big
buffing wheel, or on your Foredom. The scent of pine forest is the
best thing about polishing amber. If you have copal (young wannabe
amber), you need a different procedure.

The expert on this is Frantz Kristensen, Ravsliberen i Skagen, web
site www.ravsliberen.dk/, e-mail ravsliberen@ravsliberen.dk/

For the non-Danish speaking majority, rav is the Danish word for
amber. Frantz has a huge shop in the traditional amber gathering
place, Skagen, on the northern most tip of Jutland, Denmark where the
Baltic and North seas meet. Judy Hoch, in sunny Denver

judy@marstal.com


#2

Picked up some amber pendants and would like to polish them to a
high sheen. If you could find any info on that I would greatly
appreciate it Thanx LCalvin553@aol.com


#3
I would like to know some effective ways of getting a polish on
Amber. I have pieces finished down to 1200 grit diamond.

If you have it worked to 1200 diamond you’re very close to a polish,
especially if you’re using Nova wheels. Just take it on gently
through the 14,000 stage with plenty of water coolant and voila –
polish. I’ve polished a lot of Dominican amber that way. But be
sure you’re working real amber; kauri gum is a different animal. Not
long ago I took on a repair job in cheapo imported Sterling with
kauri as a Big Favor for a friend. A rubber wheel slipped while I
was polishing the bezel and it instantly cut a groove in the "amber."
It turned into a horrible job. I finally resorted to using a very
fine diamond hand file for shaping and prepolish because rotary tools
melted the stuff, then Simichrome on a cloth for a hand-buffed
polish.

I’ve never tried tumbling amber. If I did I think I’d experiment
with some of the dry compounds like Vibra Dry (vibrating tumbler
only). One recipe for soft materials (2-4 Mohs) calls for a sequence
of 600-1700-8000-25,000. Amber has such a low specific gravity the
rough shaping operation may be a challenge. If the pieces are quite
angular you may even want to start with 400 grit.

Rick Martin


#4

Awhile back this was raised. Today I found that platinum tripoli on
a cotton buff at low speed did a satisfactory job (whereas other
compounds I tried came out icky). These amber nuggets came in looking
like beach glass, really corroded surface. Followed that up with a
real light touch on a wheel with zam. On and off the wheel kept the
amber cool and the compounds from burying into the surface.

Better late than never.


#5

I find that polishing amber with metal polishes is easier and quicker
than using my lapidary equipment. The same applies to natural jet and
cannel coal as well. Make sure you clean off any polish residue
otherwise you gat a pink tinge rather than a good lustre. In the UK
we see mostly baltic amber which is more forgiving of how it is
treated than the Caribbean ambers.

Nick