Amber Jewelry Fact Sheet

by Darlene Zagata

Amber has long been revered for its mysterious beauty. People are often fascinated with amber jewelry because authentic amber is hardened tree resin, and pieces of this gemstone have been found that are millions of years old. Keep reading to learn more about amber jewelry, so you can shop for it with confidence.

Amber Jewelry Facts:

  1. Amber jewelry has a rich and interesting history. The oldest amber known to date is about 320 million years old. Amber jewelry has been traded for about 13,000 years, and many experts believe it was one of the first commercially traded goods. Because of its ability to store static electricity, amber is warm to the touch, unlike other gemstones.

  2. Amber comes in different varieties. There are a few different kinds of amber used in jewelry today.

    Types of Amber:

    • Authentic amber is the most expensive, but it is also a fantastic investment, because it is already very old and will last through generations as an heirloom piece. There are over 250 color variations of amber, from dark brown to pale green and yellow. Honey-colored amber is the most well-known variety, but no two pieces of authentic amber are the same. Some amber has been heat-treated or dyed to enhance the color. Authentic amber containing true specimens, such as insects and fossils, are highly sought after pieces.

    • Compressed amber is made when small pieces of natural amber are fused together with extreme pressure and heat. This makes a larger piece that is more affordable but is still naturally derived.

    • Imitation amber jewelry pieces are also beautiful and are available in a wide range of prices to suit your budget. Imitation amber pieces with faux specimens are also produced.

  3. Amber is available in all types of jewelry. Amber gems are always cabochons, meaning they are smooth and not cut with facets the way many other gemstones are. This style lends itself well to cocktail rings, earrings, and pendant necklaces, but you'll see it in many other styles of jewelry, too. It can be found in all types of settings, from sterling silver to gold, and is also a popular gemstone to hang on materials like hemp or jute, due to its earthy hues and geological history.

  4. Clean amber properly. Clean your amber jewelry with a soft cloth and warm, soapy water when it seems soiled. Do not use a steam cleaner or an ultrasonic cleaner. Do not use chemical cleaners.

  5. Store amber jewelry carefully. Amber is a very soft material compared to other gemstones, and it is rated 2 on a scale of hardness from one to ten. Authentic Baltic amber is the hardest, making it a popular choice for jewelry and accessories. Because it is so soft, amber should be stored separately from other jewelry to avoid scratching. You might also choose to store your amber jewelry in a soft cloth, particularly if it is an expensive piece.

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