Amber is the fossilized resin softwood older than 40 million years. This fossil organic matter, which is under
the influence of the environment over the years is compacted and lose volatiles, as a result of that today we can enjoy the ornaments
and decorative items made of bright and pleasant to the touch of amber.
The physical properties of amber
Amber is classified as a mineral from the category of organic compounds, which does not form crystals and amorphous polymer carcass. Chemical formula amber - C10H16O, its composition is present from 3 to 8% succinic acid. The incorporation of particles of insects and plants are often observed in amber, which was in the ground, and this is especially appreciated in the manufacture of jewelry.
Hardness (the Mohs scale) 2 - 2,5 - 3.
Transparency - clear, transparent medium, opaque.
Dash - no.
Luster - glass.
The dispersion, pleochroism - no.
Luminescence - bluish-white to yellow-green, at birmita - blue. Electrified by friction.
The chemical properties of amber
Amber is plastic, but fragile - it splits by falling and hitting. The mineral may be transparent, translucent and opaque with glass
luster. When friction it is electrified, from the flame it burns and exudes a pleasant aroma that resembles the smell of smoldering
juniper or pine cones. When fluorescent lighting amber casts a blue, yellow-green or bluish-white hue. When exposed to temperatures
of 150°C amber becomes soft, of 300°C it melts. Under the prolonged exposure of heat, light and oxygen amber becomes brittle and
Found amber often has the shape of icicles or drops, it may be rounded nodules or spongy tile. Usually the size of found amber pieces is from 1mm to 20 cm, sometimes there are pieces weighing about 1 kg.
Amber color is various: honey, wax, tea, bright gold, transparent as ice, red-brown, red cherry, the color of bone, silver, green,
cognac and others.
Caribbean green amber
The greatest value different amber products with a high degree of transparency, color - yellow, reddish. Jewelers especially appreciate the mineral in which frozen water or air bubbles, insects, or small leaves of plants, trees needles.
Classification of amber
NaturalIt is considered a jewel subjected only machining without changing the natural composition. It is processed by polishing, cutting, grinding.
The heated (modified)Stone processing undergone high pressure or heat. The shape, color, transparency and other physical properties change.
Molded amberIt is formed from large selected pieces of amber. Composition - 100% amber.
Pressed amberIt is pressed from amber flour of high quality. Composition - 100% amber.
Modification and imitation amber
Amber has long been ennobled for a lighter shade or reddish color. For this purpose it was cooked in honey or boiled vegetable oil with
the addition of organic dyes.
Today, the amber imitation is very wide-spread - the products of an epoxy resin, including inclusions of insects and plant parts. There is also a large number of amber imitating plastics that have a high degree of similarity with the properties of natural mineral.
One type of artificial amber - Bernit, which includs polyester resins, sometimes up to 5% of natural mineral. It imitates the structure of the mineral tempered with internal microcracks. Today, in the sale there is also a large number of products from the "young" amber comes from Madagascar and Colombia, which is a real amber is still too early to admit - it is usually just a dry tree resin.
Pressed, formed and whole amber. Similarities and differences
On pages of Internet we can often come across the short statements about the pressed amber. However, except a subjective position of their authors, these short mentions don't have full and reasonable information on what the pressed amber is, what its strong and weaknesses and in what it concedes to whole amber.
The purpose of this article is to give the reasoned answers to these and other questions, relying on our own experience of production of amber products, practical researches and the facts about the use of whole and pressed amber.
First of all, it is necessary to specify that amber products are divided into pressed, formed and whole amber depending on a type of handling. And they are 100% amber. Being engaged in production both whole, and pressed and formed amber products, we give of a guarantee for quality of the products and with confidence we declare that all this is net, natural amber, without any chemical impurity or dyes. The difference only that:
whole amber consists of the whole stone,
formed amber consists of several amber pieces,
pressed amber is made from amber flour of the extra quality.
The formation of a monolithic product is reached at the expense of the correct temperature condition, the qualitative equipment and competent experts knowing chemical properties and features of amber.
The technology doesn't mean fusion of a stone and use of glue or chemicals. The major attention is paid to the correct temperature at which amber doesn't melt, and only becomes more plastic, and to observance of the temporary mode. And this property of amber allows with the help of the pressing equipment to create a monolithic product of a necessary form from several amber stones (or amber flour).
At the same time all physical and chemical properties of amber remain.
And it is easy to prove even in house conditions.
- We take a glass of water and 3 teaspoons of table salt
- throw into the glass with salty water a whole amber bead – the bead emerges on a surface.
- throw into the glass a formed amber bead – the bead emerges on a surface.
- throw into the glass a pressed amber bead – the result is similar: the bead floats on a surface.
2) Property of amber to be electrified.
Conclusion: a whole, formed and pressed amber don't differ in density – it is less than density of salty water
It is known that if to rub an amber piece, it begins to attract to itself fibers of wool, thread and other easy objects.
- we take the same three amber beads (pressed, formed and whole) and a woolen fabric.
- we rub the whole amber bead and bring it to woolen fibers and small pieces of copybook paper. We observe: amber has easily attracted to itself fibers and small leaflets, however not all leaflets are still keeping on its surface when we raise the bead.
- we rub the formed amber and we bring it to small objects of experiment. We see: fibers have been attracted at once and quite densely. The small leaflets have behaved the same way as we have observed with a whole amber bead.
- we take the pressed amber and rub it with a woolen fabric. Again we observe: fibers "have stuck" to a ball; paper have been attracted, and the easiest leaflets have been risen together with amber.
Conclusion: Both pressed, and formed, and whole amber is electrified, but is quite moderated.
It is known: in ultra-violet light amber shines bluish light. And, amber of light tones shines most brightly in an ultraviolet light. Opaque amber shines more weakly.
- we take many different amber stones, different colors, different degree of transparency and a different way of processing. When we turn on the ultra-violet light and observe.
- amber beads and pebbles of white color shine most brightly. And, both the whole and formed white amber shine equally brightly, with a bluish glow (we don't produce pressed products from white amber).
- amber of lemon colors shines also brightly, both whole, and formed.
- amber of more dark tones shines more weakly, but with the same bluish a luminescence. And it concerns both the whole and formed, and pressed amber.
Conclusion: in ultra-violet light amber shines a bluish glow. Brightness of a glow depends not on a way of processing of amber (pressed, formed or whole), but on color of the stone.
- we take three amber beads (from the whole, formed and pressed amber) and bring to every of them in turn the lit match.
- the whole amber ball begins to melt, then lights up. At the same time, the smoking black smoke is appeared and the pleasant light smell of pitch is felt. At blowing of fire the stream of a white smoke rises.
- the similar picture is observed when firing of the formed amber ball.
- the pressed amber ball behaves in the same way.
Conclusion: whole, formed and pressed amber melt and burn with allocation of a black smoke and tarry smell.
Again we take three different beads – from pressed, formed and whole amber – and acetone.
It is known that solvents, alcohol, cleaners and other acidiferous liquids extremely negatively affect appearance of amber.
We will observe external changes of each bead:
- we pour in a glass jar some acetone, put there 3 amber balls, cover the jar and leave for 3 hours.
- in 3 hours we get each ball and estimate its color and a condition of a surface. We receive: in 3 hours any especially strong changes are not revealed in no one ball, but the surface of each bead became as though a little creaking.
- we continue the supervision, and leave amber in acetone for another 9 hours. In 12 hours of duration of experiment, we take the balls from a glass jar and again observe. External changes of all three beads are identical: they became a little softer, the surface to the touch also continues to be "creaking", is comparable with a surface of pure ware which "creaks" under a finger. On a surface of beads we can see a white thin coating which is easily removed by a fabric piece. Color of acetone has got slightly yellowish shade. The pitch smell of beads have become brighter. The form and color of a bead are not changed.
- we leave amber beads in acetone for another 12 hours. In a day since the beginning of experiment, we get amber balls and note: all three balls have shown absolutely identical reaction to aggressive environment:
1) their surface became softer, but NOT sticky;
2) at beads surfaces there is a white thin coating;
3) under fingers "the creak of a pure surface" continues to be felt;
4) 4) all three balls have kept initial color and a form;
5) 5) from each ball the pitch smell is well felt.
Conclusion: The whole, formed and pressed amber have absolutely identical reaction to aggressive environment. Their surfaces become softer, but NOT sticky.
"Creaking" surface and "white thin coating" appear owing to evaporation of acetone and its property to degrease a surface of objects, and it is characteristic for any subject under the influence of acetone.
Both pressed, and formed, and whole amber keep the initial form and color. And the pitch smell of amber becomes considerably brighter at each ball.
P.S. In the experiment we used amber balls made of 100% of the Baltic amber – the whole amber ball (the honey bead), the formed amber ball (the bead of Chinese honey-color) and the pressed amber ball (the bead of beeswax-color) – not containing any additives.
Thus, we have checked and proved that the pressed, formed and whole amber do not differ in their physical and chemical properties. The difference only in the price and a method of handling.
Knowing it, the modern western medicine widely uses the amber both pressed, and formed at treatment and prophylaxis of various diseases: for improvement of work of heart, normalization of pressure and functions of a thyroid gland, treatment of catarrhal diseases, headaches, decrease of risks of cancer diseases, etc.
The pressed amber is also used at production of vessels for transfusion and storage of a blood (as amber prevents process of destruction of erythrocytes), masseurs and other objects applied in medicine.
Summing up the results, we draw the main conclusion to all aforesaid: the whole, formed and pressed amber is 100% natural amber with all properties so characteristic of it.
Important: in this article we do not write about any pressed and formed amber – we write only about the pressed and formed amber products , made without addition of dyes, glue, chemicals and with observance of the production technology.