Jewellery & Watch News
You should be all clued up on identifying genuine Whitby jet yet you might not be so confident on spotting the fakes when it comes to Baltic amber. With the popularity of the warm, glowing gemstone, there are many imitations that are being falsely sold as natural amber. Copal, glass, celluloid and plastic all can look similar to the gemstone in colour and even feature inclusions, which can confuse those new to the industry. However, these are usually too perfect to have naturally formed millions of years ago and all do not pass the tests below. As we all know, amber has many identities when it comes to colour so this alone cannot be a way of distinguishing between a real and a fake.
All of the Baltic amber jewellery sold at Robert & Victoria is 100% authentic. We pride ourselves on only working with high quality, naturally sourced gemstones all polished and precision cut by our skilled team. We always recommend purchasing from a reliable and trustworthy jewellers like ourselves to avoid being sold fake gemstones as it’s difficult for those new to jewellery world to identify the real from the fake.
We have put together a list of easy to do tests so that you have the knowledge to identify a true piece of amber.
TEST 1: Rely on your sense of smell as genuine Baltic amber has a distinctive scent that cannot be recreated by false imitations. Upon heating the true gemstone a specific fragrance of pine tree resins will be released rather than burnt plastic from it lookalikes.
TEST 2: Don’t forget to bring your nail varnish remover with you as believe it or not genuine amber doesn’t change in appearance when dipped in acetone. If the surface of the gemstone becomes sticky or the liquid changes to a golden shade then the amber is definitely a fake. Alcohol is another solvent that can be used to carry out this test.
TEST 3: An easy test to perform involves salt water. Simply mix two cups of warm water with a quarter cup of salt and keep stirring until you are certain that the salt has dissolved. Usually wait half an hour to before putting the amber in the solution and wait to see if it floats. If it sinks it is a fake! Always remove the bead from the necklace or bracelet first and rinse afterwards with tepid water. Beads that feature metal links or mounts will always sink therefore, the test can not be carried out accurately.
TEST 4: For this next test you will have to invest in a UV lamp. Place your piece of amber under the light and if the gemstone turns a blue or green colour it is authentic. Any other colour is a clear indicator that the amber is not real.
TEST 5: This is one for the experts and is very effective! Find a discreet spot on the gemstone and place a hot needle against the surface. If you smell that distinctive fragrance of pine-tree resins you’ve got yourself the real deal. A good place to do this test is in the drilled hole of a bead of amber to avoid damaging the piece completely.
TEST 6: This is not really a test as such but the price is a great indicator of authenticity. Typically an expensive price tag means that the amber is genuine whereas a super cheap sum is too good to be true - it's a fake! It’s worth investing to ensure that the amber you’re buying is the real deal and not a piece of glass in disguise.
TEST 7: Amber can be scratched whereas glass can’t. However, this is a tricky one to perform as not many want their beautiful piece of jewellery to be altered in this way. It is up to the individual whether they wish to carry out such a test.
TEST 8: Another easy test is to see if your hair becomes static after the piece of amber has been wrapped in a cloth and rubbed for approximately 20-60 seconds. If it doesn’t then it is highly likely that the gem is not real amber.