All about Amber: Choosing Amber Jewelry

by John Brana April 04, 2013 2 Comments

All about Amber: Choosing Amber Jewelry

Amber is an attractive, yet delicate, fossilized resin extracted from coniferous trees. It has been popularized due to its deep golden color, fashionable versatility, and geological significance. Amber is often recognized in the form of necklaces, rings, and other pieces of jewelry, with some pieces of the gemstone dating back millions of years.  Whether in the form a bracelet or earring, amber is mesmerizing to look at and with the proper care, can last a lifetime.

Brief History of Amber

Baltic and Dominican Amber Necklace
Amber has a rich history with the oldest pieces dating back 320 million years ago. The gemstone has been traded for more than 13,000 years, believed to be one of the first commercially-traded goods. It remains popular in cultures throughout the world, especially across Europe. Unlike many other types of gemstones, amber has several unique features. Due to its ability to naturally store static electricity, amber is warm to the touch. This adds value to authentic amber jewelry, as well as a great addition to any wardrobe. Amber can be found in more than 256 different colors.

Varieties of Amber

Amber Wire Wrapped Sterling Silver Earrings
 
There are a multitude of types of amber commonly used in jewelry today. The most expensive, and the best value, is authentic amber. Since these pieces are already very old, they are sure to last many more generations and are often passed down from family to family. Imitation amber jewelry is less expensive, but is just as beautiful as its authentic counterparts. Amber can be found in various color variations, from pale greens and yellows to dark browns and honey-colored pieces. Amber is available in nearly all types of jewelry, including brooches, bracelets, rings, necklaces, pendants, and earrings. It is often paired with silver or gold, but can also be encrusted in copper, brass, aluminum, and other metals. For those who prefer natural jewelry, amber can also be designed with hemp. Many people love amber for its geological history. Some pieces of authentic amber can be found with fossils, insects, and other true specimens forever sealed within the resin.

What to Know about Amber

Bronze Bark Ring with Amber


 Amber is a much softer material compared to other types of gemstones. It requires special care as it’s more susceptible to damage. Even mild chemicals and sudden changes in temperature can cause amber to crack or break. Most authentic types of amber jewelry are rated on a scale of hardness from one to ten. From the Baltic region, Baltic amber is the hardest, making it a popular option for jewelry designers.

Caring for Amber Jewelry

Due to its fragility, amber requires careful care and storage to maintain its bright appearance and to prevent damage to the stone. Amber should not be exposed to any type of chemicals, including hairspray and makeup. If these products must be worn, apply them prior to putting on the jewelry. Perfumes can also cause damage to amber stones, and should not be sprayed on the area in which the jewelry is worn. Amber jewelry is relatively easy to clean. Simply use a soft cloth dampened with luke-warm water. Felt can also be used to gently clean the exterior of the amber stone. Avoid using any chemical-based cleaners or soap to clean the stone, as these can cause irreversible damage. Amber can also be wiped clean if the stone is only dusty or wet. To polish the stone, use a soft cloth with a dab of olive oil. Again, felt works great but a new cloth should be used each time for cleaning. It’s important to store amber properly or it can quickly become dull and tarnished. Keep your amber jewelry in a satin bag or soft, dry cloth whenever you are not wearing it. This will help to prevent it from becoming damaged with other pieces of jewelry. Each piece of amber jewelry should be stored separately to avoid scratching. Whether you choose authentic amber of an imitation piece, you won’t be disappointed with the unique look that amber provides.

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John Brana
John Brana

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2 Responses

Deanna Balestra
Deanna Balestra

February 12, 2016

Amber is one of my favorite gems for rings. I love the warm tone and it goes great with my favorite fall colors. Because Amber is a bit more fragile I think that makes it all the more precious to me. I care for my true amber jewelry with greater care and in turn it has lasted me a long time.
I had not heard about the olive oil trick for polishing. I will have to try that!

Starla Barrow
Starla Barrow

February 12, 2016

Amber is one of my most favorite gemstones! I love your designs.

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