Amber jewelry has long been collected and worn by women all over the world. The beautiful color variations and shapes make each piece of amber jewelry a beautiful piece of art to be enjoyed, but what makes Russian amber in particular so in demand?
What exactly is Amber?
Amber is a wholly-organic material derived from the resin of living trees. More specifically, amber is the fossilized resin from ancient forests. Amber is not produced from tree sap, but rather from tree resin. This aromatic resin can drip from trees, as well as fill internal fissures, and can trap fragments such as seeds, leaves, feathers and insects. The resin becomes buried and fossilized through a natural polymerization of the original organic compounds. Amber is used as an ingredient in perfumes, as a healing agent in folk medicine, and as jewelry, our favorite use! About 98% of the world’s amber comes from Baltic sea area, which is why it’s often referred to as Baltic amber.
There are hundreds of different amber colors, but many jewelers, including The Russian Store, use six amber colors when identifying different pieces of jewelry:
- Honey amber
- Green amber
- Cherry amber
- Cognac amber
- Citrine amber
- Butterscotch amber
When people talk about “clarity” of an amber piece, they typically are referring to whether or not there are any fragments in the amber as listed above, or if there are inclusions. Amber jewelry with insects are highly valued by many collectors. Very large amber pieces are extremely rare.
Russian Baltic amber
Russia is the source of over 90% of Baltic Amber, one reason it is so in demand! There is one village in particular in Russia that is known for its amber deposits, which is the Yantarnaya village. The only amber factory in the world is located in the Kalingrad Region of Russian. Amber is very easy to polish which helps make stunning pieces. There are also many people that believe amber holds magical powers; there are actually several legends of amber that are quite fascinating!
How can you tell real Russian Baltic amber from plastic?
Unfortunately, amber and plastic might look alike, and it can be difficult to tell if a piece is real or fake. Your best bet is to buy from a reputable dealer such as The Russian Store so you know that the amber you’re buying is the real thing. There are a few ways that you can test amber if you’re unsure. First, remember that amber comes from resin, so many amber pieces have a resin smell to them. Some people suggest rubbing the piece in your hand. It is possible to heat real amber by rubbing until it releases the smell of pine- tree resins. Another way is to taste-test it. While natural amber gives off no unpleasant or distinct tastes, plastic imitations will give off the obvious taste of chemicals. Other ways to test include the buoyancy test, the saltwater test, and or even using a heated needle.
The Russian Store is proud to sell only beautiful, authentic Russian amber in stunning pieces such as earrings, pendants, rings, brooches, necklaces and more. With our six different color categories, you’re sure to find a beautiful piece that’s just right for you, and you can rest assured that your gorgeous new piece of jewelry is indeed Russian Baltic amber!