What Is Pressed Amber

There is no real definition of the general term pressed amber.

Because we deal only in Baltic Amber we will discuss pressed amber in the context of Baltic Amber.

To begin, the International Amber Association, Gdansk, Poland has issued guidelines for the Classification of Amber Gemstones.

The following are the three classifications of interest to us now.

Natural Baltic amber (Succinite) – gemstone which has undergone mechanical treatment only (for instance: grinding, cutting, turning or polishing) without any change to its natural properties.

Modified Baltic amber (Succinite) – gemstone subjected only to thermal or high-pressure treatment, which changed its physical properties, including the degree of transparency and color, or shaped under similar conditions out of one nugget, previously cut to the required size.

Reconstructed (pressed) Baltic amber (Succinite) – gemstone made of Baltic amber pieces pressed in high temperature and under high pressure without additional components.

Note that the first classification concerns itself with Baltic Amber that has not been subjected to pressure as it is processed into jewelry. See Natural Baltic Amber.

The second classification, Modified Baltic Amber (succinite) – note that beads formed under this classification include beads that have been formed under pressure. They are pressed beads made from one stone. Normally bead sizes are limited to about 12 mm diameter. See Modified Baltic Amber.

The third classification is Reconstructed Baltic Amber, alternatively Pressed Baltic Amber.

This classification includes beads made from two stones, three stones, and so on down to making pressed beads from granular amber. Bead sizes for beads made using this process, or in this classification, generally range up to 25 or 26 mm in diameter. And the beads come in a large range of colors. See Reconstructed (Pressed) Baltic Amber.

This pressed Baltic Amber (alternatively Reconstructed Amber) is perhaps the most popular Baltic Amber bead made and sold in Poland. Go to this link to see what they are used to make and you will  understand why they are so popular.  Look at some examples of large bead bracelets made with pressed amber.   Click Pressed Amber Bead Bracelets

Let us add more information.

Shaped amber beads are either cut from a single nugget of amber or formed in some way in a press.

In short, it means that amber beads are either cut or pressed.

Pressing does NOT change the natural properties of amber. It changes only the shape of the natural layers inside the amber. It does not change the medical properties.

Pressed amber beads can be very beautiful.

And they are most often more durable than beads cut from one stone.


Amber, because of the way it was formed and the environment in which it was formed, is filled with impurities, bubbles, voids, incompletely fused layers and cracks. When one makes a bead by cutting amber, faults and discolorations are exposed. And beyond that just below the surface there can be cracks or voids ready to make themselves known in the form of chips or cracking of the bead.

When amber is pressed, the layers are fused, cracks and voids are eliminated. The bead it is solid and uniform. It is unlikely that this be will chip or crack.

So if you buy beads cut from a single stone, do not be surprised if they chip or crack. In fact, expect that it will happen sooner or later.

Look at some examples of large bead bracelets made with pressed amber. Click Pressed Amber Bead Bracelets

And some examples of Islamic prayer beads made with pressed amber. Click Islamic Prayer Beads

Expanded Discussion Of Pressed Amber Beads

This discussion does not include amber beads that are tumble polished and non uniform in shape. It covers calibrated amber beads, round, olive, barrel and so on that are used in bracelets, necklaces and prayer beads.

The International Amber Association, Gdansk, Poland has four classifications for amber. Read the Classification of Amber Gemstones.

Note that all classifications of beads, other than those hand cut, are formed under pressure.

Or, in other words, if it is not hand cut, it is pressed.


Formed Out Of One Stone – These beads are classified Modified Baltic amber (Succinite) See See Classification Of Amber

bead of one stone

In this process, either a large stone of amber is cut into bead sized pieces or bead size pieces that have been sorted for quality and color are chosen. They are selected and laid out for a particular piece of jewelry.

They are put into a mold that is then put under high pressure to shape the bead.

The resulting bead is pure, Baltic amber. The color and color pattern are determined by the amber stone used.

Note that these beads made from one stone and are formed under pressure. They are pressed!

The only way to distinguish these from hand cut beads is by visual examination by an amber expert.

These are often sold by unscrupulous sellers as hand cut.

Beads made by pressing this way are very high quality, beautiful and durable.


Formed Out Of More Than One Stone -These beads are classified Reconstructed (pressed) Baltic amber (Succinite) See See Classification Of Amber


In this process, two or more stones are combined under high pressure without any additives.

A huge proportion of the beads made for jewelry are made with beads formed from two or three stones.

Stones are chosen by color and quality to create the color pattern desired.

The only difference between these beads and those pressed from one stone is the number of stones used.

There is no way to tell if a bead was formed this way other than by visual examination by an amber expert.

There are no “machines” or other equipment that can detect the difference. Amber flows under pressure and combines.

Such beads made by pressing more than one stone are used in some of the most popular amber jewelry products exported from Poland – big bead bracelets.  You can see examples by clicking on Big Bead Bracelets.

If you are interested in buying large-size beads, this class of beads is the best choice for you to make.

Beads Made From Grains And Powders – Two or more parts of natural, modified or reconstructed Baltic amber bonded together with the use of the smallest possible amount of a binding agent necessary to join the pieces. These are classified as Bonded Baltic amber (Succinite) (doublet, triplet)

This process is the process most often used to make beads from grains or meals.


Closing Notes

All amber beads that are not hand cut or tumble polished are pressed.

Hand cut beads made from Baltic Amber are very expensive.

Beads made from a single stone that are formed under pressure are very high quality and a little less expensive than hand cut beads. They are more durable than hand cut beads.

Beads pressed from two or three stones are the most popular sellers. There are beautiful, colorful, and durable. And they are available in large sizes. Once again look at  to see how they look when made into jewelry.  Big Bead Bracelets


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