Wednesday, August 16, 2017

What is Amber?

I recently sourced some beautiful amber cabochons for the store.  I LOVE amber, and I thought I would look into what it actually is, and the best ways to take care of it.  

"Amber is fossilized resin from Ancient forests.  Amber is not produced from tree sap, but rather
from plant resin.  This aromatic resin can drip from and ooze down trees, as well as fill internal
fissures, trapping debris such as seeds, leaves, feathers and insects.  The resin becomes buried and
fossilized through a natural polymerization of the original organic compounds."

"Amber is formed as a result of the fossilization of resin that that takes millions of years and involves a progressive oxidation and polymerization of the original organic compounds. Although a specific time interval has not been established for this process, the majority of amber is found within Cretaceous and Tertiary sedimentary rocks (approximately 30-90 million years old)."

Care of Amber

"Amber has retained its beauty for million years and the polished luster can be retained indefinitely, if a few precautions are observed. The softness, brittleness, and susceptibility to attack by chemicals of amber requires some special care in handling and storing. Do not put your amber jewelry on before hairspray and perfume is applied, because it will likely create a whitish coating on the amber that may be permanent.

Never put amber jewelry in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner, which would shatter the gem. Never let amber come in contact with strong solutions, soaps, detergents, commercial jewelry cleaning solutions, perfume, or hairspray. All of these can dull the finish and/or give a whitish coating. Keep the amber away from common kitchen substances such as lard, salad oil, butter and excessive heat of ovens and burners.

Dust and perspiration can be removed with clean, lukewarm (never hot!) water and a soft flannel cloth. The amber can be dried and rubbed with clear olive oil, then rubbed with a soft cloth to remove excess oil and restore the polish.

Do not place amber art objects near heating ducts or in direct sunshine. Displays in lighted showcases should be properly ventilated. Avoid exposure to sudden changes of temperature, such as hot tubs, very cold water, and reaching into ovens, followed by a cold sink. Remember never to wear jewelry you value when doing strenuous, physical activity (e.g. gardening)"

***Information for this post borrowed from the website, World of Amber.

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