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Quality Assurance and Certificates of Authenticity

As part of an ongoing quality assurance program, we routinely have our Baltic amber products independently lab-tested by an established ICA and AGTA member U.S.-based gemological testing laboratory using infrared spectroscopy to authenticate that our amber products are 100% natural Baltic amber, not imitation amber.  While we ourselves have always been confident that our amber is authentic, we've adopted this quality assurance program as additional peace-of-mind for our customers.  Our amber is lab-certified as authentic Baltic amber.  Click here to view our Certificates of Authenticity

A Word About Using “Home-Tests” to Determine the Authenticity of Baltic Amber

We do not generally recommend the majority of 'home-tests' posted on the internet as a reliable way to determine whether amber is authentic or imitation.  Perhaps the most important reason is that not a single home test can identify whether an amber sample is specifically Baltic amber.  The many health benefits associated with amber are exclusive to amber found only in the Baltics.  Only lab analysis can reveal whether or not amber is from the Baltic region. 

Below is our brief synopsis on three of the most commonly recommended home tests.

Burn test

One very common test that gets recommended frequently is referred to as the 'hot needle', ‘burn’, or ‘smell’ test.  These are all referring to the same thing.  This test requires burning a small section of the amber in order to interpret the results of the smoke emitted and the accompanying smell.  This test takes a lot of experience to accurately interpret and, unfortunately, this fact is frequently left out when this test is recommended. 

People who perform this test for the first time can easily be confused by the results and end up with false positives or negatives due to their inexperience, conflicting and often incorrect information on the internet about what to expect from the test, and the subjective nature of interpreting the results.

The main interpretation mistakes are in falsely identifying copal as amber as it has a pine smell - potentially stronger than amber itself will have. (Copal is simply younger pine resin that hasn't yet matured into amber so is easily confused with amber. Copal can also come from many other parts of the world other than the Baltics.)  And conversely amber is often falsely identified as fake because the smell is resinous and pungent, frequently causing people to confuse it with plastic.  Only by performing this test countless times on genuine amber as well as on different fake materials - and familiarizing yourself with the nuances of the results can one even hope to use this as a reasonable method for spotting fake amber.  Not to mention, this test damages a portion of the specimen.  For these reasons, we do not recommend this test. 

Alcohol/acetone test

This is a fairly simple test using alcohol or acetone.  This is done by putting a drop of common rubbing alcohol or pure acetone on the specimen and letting it evaporate.  If the specimen is copal, the surface will become tacky.  Amber will remain unaffected and the surface will not be damaged.  However, other fake materials such as glass or plastics also are unaffected by rubbing alcohol or acetone. The only material this test rules out is copal.

Float test

Another commonly recommended test is the ‘float test’ or ‘saltwater’ test.  This is done by placing the specimen in a bowl of saltwater.  Genuine amber should float.  The cord and clasp can weigh it down slightly but overall the amber should have no problem floating as long as just a few test guidelines are followed.  To perform this test, place 4 cups of tap water in a bowl and mix in 1/2 cup of table or sea salt.  (We use sea salt typically.)  Be sure to let the salt fully dissolve in the water before conducting the test.  Stir the water every few minutes until you no longer see any salt granules in the water. You’re now ready to place the amber in the bowl.  It should float immediately and stay afloat.  This test is good for ruling out glass and most plastics with the exception of polystyrene.  This test also does not rule out copal.  However, the float test is easy to perform, easy to interpret and does rule out a few more of the common materials used to make fake amber.

We hope you’ve found this information to be helpful.  Our best recommendation is to purchase your amber from a reputable seller who backs up their product with a money-back guarantee.  We have been in business since 2007 and have always offered this guarantee.  We have tens of thousands of satisfied, repeat customers.  We are proud of our reputation as one of the most highly-recommended sources for 100% genuine Baltic amber jewelry. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@ibfjewelry.com.

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