What is REAL amber?
Amber is not a tree sap; rather, it forms from resin. Sap flows in the heartwood of the tree and provides nutrients to the tree, itself, while resin flows beneath the bark and protects the tree when it's wounded. Resin flows like syrup and has a distinct piney, sweet smell (think Frankincense). Amber is prized for its succinic acid, or succinate, because it reduces inflammation and pain. It should come as no surprise that people have capitalized on the demand for amber's health qualities, and have therefore created impostures. Plastic, glass, and copal look-alikes are examples of how we've all been duped. (Copal is immature resin and is a cheap, false substitute for the real thing, although it displays many of the same qualities.)
How to know whether it's real or fake?
After spending hours researching, we were skeptical of everything. We wanted to make sure that we weren't among the many selling a fake when we thought (and proclaimed) that we have the real thing. Here are the tests that we conducted:
1.Copal (immature resin) and plastic fake amber do not hold up to solvents. Take a few drops of acetone or alcohol and drip it over the surface of your piece. If the surface becomes tacky, or the fluid takes on the honey golden color of the substance, you can bet it's not amber. Amber is not harmed and will not dissolve under these solvents.
(We did this with the amber that we sell, and amber that we purchased several years ago through a friend. The one we purchased from a friend lost its shine and turned a little tacky. Ours stayed exactly the same as it was.)
2.Amber does not melt. It will burn away like incense. Copal and plastic will melt; however, the plastic will release a chemical smell upon burning, while copal may release a smell similar to that of amber. Amber smells sweet, piney and pleasant when burnt, the very reason it has been used for centuries as incense.
We tested the two necklaces with a red hot pin and found that the older necklace melted slightly and had a light smell (but not a horrible plastic odor), while our necklace didn't melt. Instead, it began to burn a hole in the bead.
3.Amber is buoyant in saltwater. That's why it is easy for locals on the Baltic Coast to find it washed up on beaches, especially after storm events. The amber gets stirred up from a layer known as blue earth, which is beneath layers of silt and clay on the ocean floor. To do this test, create a saturated saltwater solution and stir. Plastic and copal will sink, while amber floats.
information: ( http://www.ambergallery.com/Is_it_real_amber_/is_it_real_amber_.html)
We tested our necklaces in a salt solution and found that both floated in saltwater and sank in regular water. (In the plain water picture, the little red thing floating is a Lego, which shows that plastic floats.)
The verdict? We think the old necklace we purchased from a friend might be copal, but we are convinced that our necklaces that we sell on this site are REAL Baltic Amber.
On another note...
Why do you want it raw?
Raw amber has been minimally processed, so it has more pores than polished amber, which has had some of its pores closed off in the polishing process. The more pores, the more succinate it can release.
I hope you have found this information helpful! Be blessed.