Characteristics Of Amber

As part of a healing process, resin was exuded to make a healing patch over an injured area. It flowed downward.

As it flowed, it solidified in layers. So amber nuggets are generally flat with layered structures.

It contains impurities, in varying kinds and amounts, that were trapped as the amber flowed.. Amber that was formed inside a tree will have fewer impurities than that that formed on the tree surface or which fell to the dirt. Some amber is so dirty it can either only be used to make varnish or must be clarified. See Amber Varnish https://www.natural-baltic-amber.com/amber-varnish/

Amber is a fusil material that has not completed its transformation. It is called a “living gem”.

Under pressure it will flow and two stones can be made to combine.

It has a diverse internal structure often containing cracks, voids, and varying layer patterns.

It sometimes contains inclusions which were living organisms. But Baltic Amber does not contain as many such inclusions as amber from other parts of the world. In fact inclusions in Baltic Amber are relatively rare as compared to ambers from other parts of the world. Estimates are less than 1 or 2 percent.

It contains 3 to 8% succinic acid which is higher than the acid content of any other amber.

It burns. (Hence the German name for it – Bernstein)

It is harder than other ambers with the scale being between 2 and 3.

It is brittle and will fracture very easily.

Its specific gravity varies between (approximately) 1.05 to 1.1, The amount of bubbles in the individual stones has a great deal to do with this.

Amber will float on cold seawater. Or in a glass of water saturated with salt. Some plastics will also float under the same conditions.

Its low density makes it light and convenient to wear as jewelry.

It has a unique carbonyl absorption peak that can be distinguished through Infra Red Spectroscopy (IRS).

It comes in many colors with about 100 color variations having been documented.

It is electronegative and will develop a static charge when rubbed.

When rubbed very hard to warm it, some people can smell a unique amber scent. But human body sensory glands differ from person to person. So some people are unable to smell it. Additionally, the smell can be so faint that unless one knows what one is looking for, one is liable to miss it.

When lightly heated over a gas fire, the amber smell is a bit more intense. Increasing the heat moderately will yield a scent somewhat similar to incense in a church.

When burned, it gives off a resinous smell. But because the amber contains as much as 8% acid, the smoke is acrid. The smoke from burning amber can be irritating, overpowering, and unpleasant.

Rubbing Amber with silk will create a negative charge on the Amber. Plastics will also develop a negative charge. Glass will develop a positive charge.

Special Note

Some plastic exhibit characteristics similar to Amber. So one must be very careful in the testing process.

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