Background * History

  • Amber is 50-million-year-old, fossilized tree sap (resin) from prehistoric pine forests. Often times, Amber will contain fossilized insects, mammalian hair and other organic matter. Pieces containing this material are generally considered more valuable than those without, especially when the entire organism is preserved. Most Amber comes from the sea floor which is released once waves and other marine forces crash upon it. Amber can be picked up from the shore line and can be fished for. Usually the Amber that has washed up along shore is dull and dirty and must be polished. The reason for its dullness is that Amber usually rolls in the sand for long periods of time before it is eventually removed.

Healing Properties * Metaphysical

  • Amber is thought to help absorb negative energy and to release bright, soothing energy, helping to calm nerves and enliven disposition.
  • Yellow Amber has been used traditionally by natural healers to alleviate stomach and liver problems.
  • Amber has also been used as a talisman for courage and self-confidence and was thought to bring good luck to warriors in battle.
  • Amber for a baby? Why?
  • Amber is a natural painkiller. Our body heat triggers it to discharge oils which help children relax when they experience teething pain. It has been used already for several decades in Europe and is seen as an excellent substitute for other pain relief drugs. Babies and toddlers have lessened symptoms when they have Amber teething necklaces.

 **Please note that all metaphysical or healing properties listed are collected from various sources. This information is offered as a service and not meant to treat medical conditions. does not guarantee the validity of any of these statements.

Fake Amber?

Amber has many look-alikes. Here are some stones that imitate Amber:

  • Celluloid – if you burn Celluloid it would give off a smell of burnt plastic, which is a clear sign that it the object is an Amber imitation. Celluloid is also not as combustible as Amber.
  • Copal – is a younger form of tree resin and looks similar to Amber. You can tell the difference as Copal melts rather than burns at a lower temperature than Amber (around 150oC).  Melted Copal smells very sweet.
  • Glass –  is more solid and cannot be scratched by metal. It will reflect light and break into pieces when thrown to the ground.
  • Casein – is made from milk. A heavier, plastic-like material, Casein can be differentiated by burning it and it smells like burnt plastic.
  • Phenolic Resin – has the exact same shape and color as Amber. If you burn Phenolic Resin and it does not give out the same pine-tree scent that authentic Amber emits, the piece is most likely a fake.


1. Visual Amber test:

Real Amber tends to be unique in their appearance so you should look for imperfections when inspecting them. Some common imperfections are tiny cracks or small air bubbles. Amber beads should vary a little in size and its shape shouldn’t be always round unless it is polished. When you touch Amber it tends to be a little warm, which is not the case with most other fakes.

2. Salt water test:

In order to do this test you will need about 7 teaspoons of salt and a medium size cup of water. Add all teaspoons of salt into the water and stir well until salt is fully melted. Add your Amber into this water. Real Amber should float in this water easily while majority of fakes will sink fast. The main drawback of this method is that it is not very suitable for testing Jewelry that has some metal or other components in it; however it works well for loose beads.

3. Rubbing test:

One of the simplest ways to distinguish Amber from Copal is to do Rubbing test. Since real Amber has electrostatic properties it can pick up tiny paper pieces or dust when it is charged sufficiently. So in order to charge Amber you need to wrap it in a cloth and then rub it for some time (20-60 seconds). Hold this gemstone near a strand of hair. If your hair is attracted towards this stone it means that static was produced and most likely you are holding real Amber.

4. Hot needle test:

To perform this test you need to heat the needle and then push it against the stone. In case the needle went in only slightly or some cracks were left it means that it is most likely real Amber. If it is genuine Amber you should notice a smell similar to old punged tree. When doing the same test with fakes the needle goes in very easily and the smell is either plastic or fresh pine (Copal). The main disadvantage of this test is that it might leave a small mark, which is caused by burning.

5. Scratch test:

Real Amber has a hardness of approximately 2-2.5 on the Moh’s scale. You should not be able to scratch it with your fingernail. If you try the scratch test with your fingernail and it leaves a mark, then it is not a real Amber. Scratch test is usually preferred when not expensive Amber is being tested. This is mainly because scratching on this gemstone can potentially damage it. This test is useful because glass beads can’t be scratched while using metal and real Amber is soft enough so it can be scratched on. If you can scratch on your jewelry bead it is most likely Amber and if you are not able to do this then it is probably a fake.

6. Scent test:

For this test you need to know the difference between smell of Copal and Amber. Scent of true Amber tends to be stronger than compared with Copal. And in case you are dealing with other type of fake you should smell plastic smell once a bead is heated.

7. The feel test:

Genuine Amber is lightweight and slightly warm to the touch. This is due to it being underground for millions of years and because of its chemical composition. You can distinguish fake Amber that is made of glass from the real thing because glass is harder, cooler, and heavier than authentic amber.

8. The hardness test:

By conducting this test, you can immediately determine whether the Amber piece is real or not. Genuine Amber is relatively soft. Most fakes are either hard solids or have that plastic feel to them.

9. UV Test:

For this test you will need a UV lamp. Amber has a kind of blue or green color when placed under a UV light. If your Amber piece shows up as another color when placed under the light, it is not true Amber.

10. The heating test:

Natural Ambers contain small bubbles in its microscopic structure. When you apply heat to Amber, these bubbles evaporate making the Amber piece transparent. The higher the temperature, the darker the Amber becomes.

11. Licking test:

Licking real Amber gives no taste. Plastic or polymer forgeries leave a nasty taste.

12. Aceton test:

Copal and plastic fake Amber can be dissolved by acetone or alcohol. A few drops of either will make the surface of the fakes tacky. On the real Amber the solutions will just evaporate without leaving a mark. If you do this same test on Copal it will leave a white pasty spot on the resin and some colour will be drawn out of it.

Gemological Properties

Chemical Composition:C10H16O
Appearancelight yellow to brown, red, nearly colorless, mostly white, blue, black, greenish
Hardness (Mohs)2-2.5
Specific Gravity1.05-1.09 (maximum 1.30)
Refractive Index1.54

Origin and Gemstone Sources

  • Poland, Germany, Russia, Sicily, Romania, Mexico, Dominican Republic and USA.


  • Amber is a highly sensitive gem and must be cared for delicately. It is easily scratched and is very sensitive to chemicals, acids, abrasives, caustic solutions, perfume and alcohol. It is also flammable and can be ignited with a direct flame. Steamers, hot water and ultrasonic cleaners can damage this gem. To clean Amber, use mild soap, room temperature tap water and a soft cloth.
  • When storing gemstones or gemstone jewelry, store them inside a fabric-lined box or wrapped in a soft cloth separately from other type of gemstones to prevent damage or scratches.
  • It is best to remove any jewelry before engaging in any strenuous physical activity, such as exercise or sports.
  • Avoid spraying perfume or hairspray on your precious gems.


  • Leo, Aquarius, Virgo