8 Proven Ways to Distinguish Real Amber from Fake.

Posted by TipTop Eco on

Since resources of Baltic Amber are limited, this gemstone is not the cheapest to obtain. As a result of this, it is necessary to be careful while buying Amber Jewelry. If the price of Amber Jewelry is unrealistically low, it could be an indication that you are dealing with counterfeited piece. Of course, Amber counterfeits are not that common as with very high priced gems. So be cautious, but don't overthink it too much.
When researching Amber counterfeits there are few common materials used to imitate it. Some of them are listed bellow.


Glass material is frequently used material to imitate Amber jewelry. There are some differences that will help you notice the difference. A glass is increasingly solid, besides it is impossible to scratch it by using a piece of metal. It also reflects light, which is not the case with Amber.


Casein is a type of plastic that is similar in appearance to Amber. This material is usually created from milk. When burnt Casein produces a burnt plastic smell that confirms it is not Baltic Amber.


Separating Baltic Amber and Celluloid can be quite difficult task. They are very similar to each other in terms of appearance. This means that you will need to carry out multiple tests to separate them. When you burn Celluloid, it produces a burnt plastic smell. This is a reliable sign that you are dealing with Celluloid. Furthermore, it is not that combustible as Amber.

Phenolic Resin.

Phenolic is usually used in beads. Phenolic Resin has a similar color and shape just like Amber. Hence it is difficult to separate them only based on appearance. One possible way to identify Phenolic Resin jewelry is try burning it. While burning real Amber, it produces the pine trees smell, unlike Phenolic resin. Of course, you need to be good at noticing the different types of scents in order to rely on this test.


Copal is basically Amber; however it is younger in age. In terms of appearance it looks just like Amber. However while being burned, Copal produces an amazing sweet smell and Amber smell similar to Pine Trees. So if you can differenciate these smells, you can know if you purchased Amber or Copal.

While there number of possible Amber imitations, this natural resin comes with several unique features. This makes it possible even for non-professionals to test Amber and separate it from fakes. Fortunately, there are a number of reliable tests you can rely on determining if you are buying real Baltic amber or a fake one. You can select one based on the price of your jewelry piece or your experience level. Below you can find some of the most effective ways you can test Baltic Amber and its jewelry.

Salt Water Amber Test

1. Salt Water Test.

This is probably one of the best known ways of separating the real Amber from the fake one. It is quite well known fact that Amber is very lightweight. Hence once it is in salted water, it floats and doesn't drown. How do you go about doing this test? First, you need to have the required items. These include, a cup with water (medium sized) and 7 teaspoonfuls of salt. Then you will need to perform a simple test that needs you to:

• Add the salt into the cup with water;
• Stir the mixture well, to a point where all the salt is melted;
• You can then add the jewelry or related Amber item into the mixture;
• If it floats then that is real Amber. On the contrary, if it sinks then that is fake Amber.

You should keep in mind that this method has one disadvantage. It is not well suited to test pieces of jewelry which have metals or any additional components like clasps or gemstone beads. Nevertheless, for loose beads, this is ideal method for testing real amber.

2. Hot Needle Test.

You can use a hot needle to distinguish between real Baltic Amber and most of its counterfeits. This test requires you to do a few things. First, you need to heat your needle. Then have it pushed against the jewelry piece you are testing. The item can be a stone or any other jewelry. If the hot needle goes in slightly leaving some cracks be sure that you are dealing with real amber. In addition, if you notice an old pine tree smell that's additional proof that you are dealing with Baltic Amber. However, if the hot needle pierces into the stone easily alongside leaving plastic smell, then that is fake amber. Unfortunately, this method is bound to leave some small mark due to burning. Hence it is not advisable to do this test on expensive and highly valued jewelry.

3. Scent.

This is effective and popular method for testing Amber, however it is only recommended for individuals who are familiar with this resin. It is reliable for people who are well-versed with knowledge about Baltic Amber and are good at recognizing smells. This is because you have to be able to differentiate between smells of Amber and Copal that are quite similar. The scent of real Amber is significantly stronger than that of Copal. Luckily most other Amber counterfeits have plastic smell, so its easier to differentiate them.
This method of Amber testing is, of course, very efficient and used by many individuals at home. Just be very attentive while doing it so that you can easily notice the smell.

4. Rubbing.

So called Rubbing Test is another efficient method of testing Baltic Amber. Real amber is able to pick up some tiny paper pieces. It contains electrostatic properties, whereby when rubbed, static energy is generated which then picks up pieces of paper or dust. How do you use this method anyway? Wrap in a piece of Amber or its jewelry in a clean cloth. Then start rubbing it for about 20-60 seconds. Hold that jewelry close to pieces of paper or strands of hair. If those paper pieces are attracted to the jewelry then that is real Amber. If the jewelry just becomes sticky that means it is not Amber. Be very attentive in order to notice those occurrences.

Baltic Amber Piece

5. Visual Inspection of Amber.

You can let your eyes to decide as well if you are holding real Amber or not. This is a simple method that just requires you to look out for some imperfections in amber jewelry piece. Some imperfections that are common for Amber are small bubbles or tiny cracks. Also, real Baltic amber beads are rarely in precisely the same color. So if you see variations in shades and colors, this is a good proof that its Amber. Another useful feature of this resin is that Amber is always warm once you touch it. Those should be some of the things to look out for when dealing distinguishing authentic Amber from a fake one. By trusting your eyes and knowing some facts, you can make quick and accurate conclusions.

6. Scratch Test.

Scratching test has a downside of damaging Amber; hence it shouldn't be done on expensive jewelry. This particular test is mostly done for separating Amber from colored glass. It is well-known fact that glass beads can never be scratched. On the other side, Baltic Amber is sufficiently soft hence you can scratch on it. If that jewelry can be scratched, then it means it has real Amber.

7. Use UV Light.

Using UV Light is another effective way to test Amber and its jewelry. To perform this test you need to have a good UV lamp. Real Amber produces a green or blue color when subjected to UV light. If another color is shown it is likely that you are dealing with fake Amber. You need to be good at distinguishing the colors for you to effectively use this method. Other than that it is very simple and easy testing method and doesn't require experience.

8. Buy from Reputable Vendor.

While its not an actual method of testing Amber, its a good advice to follow. Researching a vendor you are purchasing Amber jewelry from, can help to avoid potential scammers. Most online platforms that allow to sell jewelry nowadays include consumer reviews. Hence just by spending a few minutes of your time, you can get a good idea of what to expect from particular seller and its products. Also most professional Amber sellers provide certificates of authenticity. So if you have any doubts, do not hesitate to request them.