Amber, with its warm hues and captivating beauty, has fascinated humans for centuries. This unique gemstone is available in various forms, each with its own characteristics and processing methods. In this blog post, we will explore the different types of amber, including natural amber, treated amber, pressed amber, and bonded amber. By understanding the distinctions between these forms, you can make informed choices when purchasing and appreciating this ancient treasure.
- Natural Amber:
Natural amber, also known as raw amber or untreated amber, is the most prized and sought-after form of amber. It is formed through millions of years of fossilization of tree resin. Natural amber showcases the true essence of this gemstone, with its warm colors, unique inclusions, and natural translucency. Each piece of natural amber is a testament to the passage of time and nature’s artistry.
- Treated Amber:
Treated amber refers to natural amber that has undergone specific treatments to enhance its appearance or improve its durability. These treatments are meant to mimic or enhance the characteristics of natural amber. Common treatments include:
a. Heat Treatment: Heat treatment involves exposing the amber to controlled heat to enhance its color or clarity. This process can deepen the amber’s natural hues, making them more vibrant and intense. Heat treatment can also improve the transparency of cloudy or opaque amber.
b. Polishing: Polishing is a common treatment used to enhance the surface of amber, giving it a higher luster and shine. The process involves buffing the amber with abrasives and polishing compounds to achieve a smooth and glossy finish.
c. Oil Treatment: Some amber may undergo an oil treatment to improve its appearance. The amber is immersed in oils or resins that penetrate the surface, enhancing its translucency and adding a glossy sheen. This treatment can also help to fill small cracks or imperfections in the amber.
d. Stabilization: Stabilization is a treatment method used to strengthen fragile or brittle amber. It involves autoclaving amber in heat and pressure chambers, to reinforce its structure and prevent damage or deterioration.
- Pressed Amber:
Pressed amber, also known as reconstructed or reconstituted amber, is a form of amber created by combining small or powdered amber pieces with a binding agent. The mixture is subjected to heat and pressure, resulting in a solid, uniform material. Pressed amber often exhibits a high level of clarity and may lack the natural inclusions found in natural amber. It is a more affordable alternative to natural amber and can be shaped into various jewelry pieces. It’s important to note that pressed amber should be disclosed as such when sold, ensuring transparency and allowing consumers to make informed choices.
- Bonded Amber:
Bonded amber, also referred to as composite amber, is created by fusing small or powdered amber fragments with a binding agent. Unlike pressed amber, bonded amber retains some of the natural inclusions and textures of the original amber pieces. The bonded amber is then polished and shaped into desired forms. This type of amber provides an affordable option that closely resembles the appearance of natural amber.
Amber, in its various forms, continues to captivate with its timeless beauty and unique properties. Natural amber stands as the epitome of this gemstone’s allure, displaying its inherent warmth, colors, and inclusions. Pressed amber, and bonded amber offer alternative options, each with its own characteristics and advantages. Whether you choose the raw beauty of natural amber or the affordability and versatility of pressed, or bonded amber