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AMBER (Baltic)

Amber sometimes has tiny air bubbles, fracture lines or tiny inclusions (insects or parts of plants can sometimes be seen). Amber is very soft and can also be affected by acids or solvents. It can also be ignited by a match and will smell like incense. Amber tends to turn Sterling and Silver-plated findings black, so you may want to select gold-plated findings when making selection in Amber. Amber is extremely light weight - people who are unfamiliar with it can mistake it for plastic, especially if there are few inclusions in the specimin.
Amber deposits have been found that range between 360 and one million years old and belong between the Carboniferous and Pleistocene geological periods. Amber is the fossilized, hardened resin from pine trees that lived about 50 million years ago. Most deposits of Amber are found in the Baltic region. As sticky resin oozed from ancient pine trees, small insects, plant material, feathers and other small objects in the path of the flow became entrapped. Over time, the resin was encased in dirt and debris and through a process of heat and pressure it fossilized to become amber.
There are many tests that can be performed to determine if the piece is natural amber or man-made. Of these, only the flotation test is recommended for the novice. Make a saturated solution of regular table salt and water and place the piece of amber in this mixture. If it floats, it is amber. If it sinks it is man-made (some natural copals will also sink and you would need to make more scientific tests to make a determination).
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