Since Amber has a few unique features there are a few different tests that you can do in order to find out if its real or not. Many people want to be sure that they are buying jewelry made from real Baltic Amber because other types or fakes doesn’t contain Succinic Acid, which is responsible for health benefits of this jewelry. The most common methods for testing this natural resin are listed bellow.
1. Visual amber test.
One of the first things you can do when testing Amber and jewelry made from it is to test it visually. Real Amber beads tend to be unique in their appearance so you should look for imperfections when inspecting them. Some common imperfections are tiny cracks or small air bubbles. Also beads should vary a little in size and its shape shouldn’t be always round. When you touch Amber it tends to be a little warm, which is not the case with most other fakes.
2. Salt Water test.
The other effective test for identifying real Amber from fake is Salt Water test. In order to do this test you will need about 7 teaspoons of salt and a medium size cup of water. Add all teaspoons of salt into the water and stir well until salt is fully melted. In the next step add your Amber gemstone into this water. Real Amber should float in this water easily while majority of fakes will sink fast. The main drawback of this method is that it is not very suitable for testing Jewelry that has some metal or other components in it; however it works well for loose beads.
3. Rubbing test.
One of the simplest ways to distinguish Amber from Copal is to do Rubbing test. Since real Amber has electrostatic properties it can pick up tiny paper pieces or dust when it is charged sufficiently. So in order to charge Amber you need to wrap it in a cloth and then rub it for some time (20-60 seconds). In the next step hold this gemstone near a strand of hair. If your hair is attracted towards this stone it means that static was produced and most likely you are holding real Amber. Alternatively if this gemstone didn’t became charged but rather sticky it means that it is Copal.
4. Hot Needle test.
One more way to differentiate genuine Amber from fake is Hot Needle test. To perform this test you need to heat the needle and then push it against the stone. In case the needle went in only slightly or some cracks were left it means that it is most likely real Amber. Also if it is genuine Amber you should also notice a smell similar old punged tree. When doing the same test with fakes the needle goes in very easily and the smell is either plastic or fresh pine (Copal). The main disadvantage of this test is that it might leave a small mark, which is caused by burning.
5. Scratch test.
Scratch test is usually preferred when not expensive Amber is being tested. This is mainly because scratching on this gemstone can potentially damage it. Doing this test can help to separate colored glass from Amber. This test is useful because glass beads can’t be scratched while using metal and real Amber is soft enough so its beads can be scratched on. So basically if you can scratch on your jewelry bead it is most likely Amber and if you are not able to do this then its probably a fake.
6. Scent test.
This test might be a bit too difficult for individuals who are not very familiar with this natural resin. This is mainly because you need to know how the difference between smell of Copal and Baltic Amber. Scent of true Baltic Amber tends to be stronger than compared with Copal. And in case you are dealing with other type of fake you should smell plastic smell once a bead is heated.
Before choosing one of these tests it is important to keep in mind that some of them might leave marks or ruin your Amber gemstone. So if you are testing expensive Amber stone or jewelry it might be a good idea to pay attention to this and choose safer tests. Also it is worthwhile to pay attention to the price since usually what is too good to be true, usually is. If Amber jewelry is priced way much lower than most competitors this is a good indication that something might be not right. Alternatively you can also request seller to provide certificates of Amber authenticity. Reputable and trustworthy sellers will have no issues when providing you with this kind of information.