The tree resin fossilized tens of millions of years ago gave people a “sun stone” - amber. It is very beautiful and has healing properties, so the demand for amber products has always been high. One of the serious problems of the amber market is the numerous fakes made of glass, plastic, synthetic resins, as well as imitations from ambroid, copal and cowrie. It is possible to determine the authenticity of amber with absolute precision only in laboratory conditions. However, there are some simple ways that everyone can do.
Exterior Inspect the product carefully. You can distinguish amber by its rich play of shades and unique pattern. Too uniform color, the presence of a large number of air bubbles and "lenses" suggests that this is an imitation. Inside the pressed amber (ambroid), flow structures and air bubbles elongated in one direction are usually well distinguishable. In natural amber, they must have the correct spherical shape.
Electrification Rub the amber item on woolen cloth or fur. It should become electrified and begin to attract light objects to itself: threads, pieces of paper, etc. True, some types of plastics also electrify, but this effect is less pronounced in them. If electrification is completely absent, you are offered an obvious fake.
Density Immerse the sample in concentrated saline solution (8-10 teaspoons per glass of water). Amber has a very low density (on average 1.05 - 1.12 g / cm3). In plastics, synthetic resins, and even more so glass, it is much higher. Therefore, genuine amber will float to the surface, and amber counterfeits will drown. However, if the product is enclosed in a metal frame, it will be difficult to use this method.
Smell Bring a lighted match to the surface of the stone. Natural amber will begin to emit a characteristic rosin odor, plastic fakes - an unpleasant chemical odor.
Brittle Amber is a very fragile material. Try scrubbing the surface with a sharp knife. If shavings are formed, this is a synthetic polymer. Real amber will crumble.
Luminescence It is unlikely that the seller will be delighted with your attempts to burn or scratch the product. But if the checkout has a machine for verifying the authenticity of banknotes, ask to illuminate the stone with ultraviolet light. Amber will begin to luminesce - to give light of predominantly blue hues. Most plastics do not glow in ultraviolet rays, copal turns white.
Copals and Cowries The “young” fossil copal resins and modern copals obtained from the resin of the cowrie pine are much softer than amber. Press down on the product with a hard object. If a trace remains on it, I dug in front of you. Copal resins are not electrified by friction; when heated, they emit an unpleasant medicinal odor. Unlike natural amber, they dissolve in ether. Place a drop of ether on the copal sample surface: it will become sticky and then cloudy.