3. Then, how can you verify your Amber is real? Our sellers are primarily smaller sellers; Lithuanians who sell Baltic Amber to support their families, and they do not provide us with certificates. However our amber is professionally tested!
4. What are the best professional tests of Amber? UV testing (done professionally), IR-spectroscopy (which involves a machine and is greatly effective), and chemical testing. UV testing is good, but there are so many varied results, that it is not really recommended to be done in your home. You have to be aware that dark amber does not show up under UV lighting like light amber does, and there are all sorts of variations that only a true professional would know. And of course, chemical testing and IR-Spectroscopy testing is obviously best left to professionals.
5. Are home tests reliable? NO! Simply put, ask a professional jeweler. They will/ would say no. Seriously, consider the famed "salt water" test for amber. Technically speaking, if the quantity of salt is off or not mixed right, this could end up "failing", and you would still possibly have genuine Baltic Amber. All home tests are downright subjective, to say the least. Which leads me to. . .
6. What about the burn/smell test (you constantly read about this one all over the internet)? This test involves poking amber with a hot needle, then smelling the smoke to see if it smells like "pine". This is completely subjective and very unreliable. For one thing, the "pine" smell of BURNING or very HOT amber is quite different than the pine smell most people are expecting (i.e. like a Christmas tree). For another, the heat of the needle and how long you warm it can also affect the results (hence subjective, and not scientific to say the least). Raw Amber has a stronger "piny" scent than polished Amber. Between the really rather strong and unique pine scent of amber and the smoky smell of the hot needle, it really smells more "bitter", and many people would say "like plastic". Beyond that, you are damaging amber for a very un-scientific test.
7. So, how do you recommend I ensure I am purchasing Baltic Amber? If you really are in doubt, take it to a jeweler and have them use a machine, or do a chemical test. Jewelers are experts in their field and quite knowledgeable. Otherwise, be sure your purchase Baltic Amber from the Baltic region (Lithuania) by the Baltic Sea. At Spark of Amber, we do understand and sympathize with our customers' desire for REAL Baltic Amber, so we do our best to ensure that is what you get when you purchase our beautiful jewelry!
In conclusion, I really do believe there is fake amber out there. I also believe most family Baltic Amber businesses would NEVER want to sell it or intentionally sell it. If there is a question, or a rumor about our amber, it hurts our business. I believe it IS important as we manage Spark of Amber to consistently be sure our Amber is the best out there!