How to recognize forgeries of Baltic amber? Test your own amber.

Due to the rising popularity of amber, more and more fakes in circulation. Especially at the popular pieces where insects in it. It is therefore important to know how you can really distinguish Baltic amber counterfeiting. Here you can read what materials are most commonly used for amber forgeries and what tests you can do yourself to distinguish real from fake. All the pieces that are offered in our shop 100% authentic

Materials used for falsification of Baltic amber


Copal is a much younger version (1000-1 million years old) of amber and contains liquid oils inside. Copal melts at a relatively low temperature (below 150 degrees) and is therefore easy to use in order to stop it manually insects. The similarities with amber this is often mistakenly sold as amber. On burning Copal you can smell the sweet scent of resin.


Glass is not difficult to distinguish from amber. It is much more solid and its hardness can not be scratched by metal. Furthermore glass feels colder than amber.

phenolic resin

Phenolic resin or resin is widely used for the fake amber. The color and shape can be reproduced almost exactly. In order to recognize the difference with succinic the phenolic resin may be heated. The fragrance will smell spread the fake burnt plastic instead of the smell of pine.

Casein or casein

Fabric cheese is widely used for amber with a milky yellow color. It is slightly heavier than amber and again to recognize plastic smell when burned.

modern plastic

Even modern plastic lends itself well to amber forgeries, the colors are barely distinguishable from real. Often, modern plastic used to make them insect counterfeits. Please do not therefore always be perfectly well that the inclusions and not too large insects. Insects larger than 10 mm you can already assume that these are fake. Also, plastic

Testing to identify real amber

"Smell" test

The most effective method is the "smell" test. Amber has a specific smell of pine trees which is not easy to imitate. Forgeries Copal will give off a sweeter smell of resin. Forgeries of plastic will smell like burnt plastic when heated.

"Rub" test

The best you can do this test of your hand into the palm. It is possible to heat by rubbing amber until it spreads the scent of pine. However, you do have firm hands needed here and it's quite hard to rub polished amber to the correct temperature.

"Hot needle" test

This is probably the most effective way to determine the authenticity. Heat a needle and stick it in the amber (preferably in an existing hole or drilled hole) The scent of pine is unmistakable. Please note that this is not the pure air that you expect from conifers but mixed with the burnt smell of other materials (needle, dust, pollution), but clearly distinguishable from burnt plastic.

"Salt water" test

Amber (but also copal) floats on salt water. This is also the reason that there are so many pieces washed ashore from the sea. Scoop 7 or 8 tablespoons of salt in 300 milliliters of water, stirring until all the salt is dissolved. If the amber sinks have to deal with a forgery. Pay attention! copal and polystyrene remain in this test drive!

infrared Spectroscopy

Infrared spectroscopy is the most effective way to recognize scientific authenticity. Baltic amber is distinguished by its own IR spectrum called "Baltic amber shoulder".

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