How amber gemstones are classified by the International Amber Association, Gdansk, Poland.
The Commission of Experts of the International Amber Association, Gdansk, Poland, have developed principles of classification of Amber gemstones. Those classifications are as follows.
Natural Baltic amber (Succinite) – gemstone which has undergone mechanical treatment only (for instance: grinding, cutting, turning or polishing) without any change to its natural properties. Look at examples at Beads Hand Carved From One Stone
Modified Baltic amber (Succinite) – gemstone subjected only to thermal or high-pressure treatment, which changed its physical properties, including the degree of transparency and color, or shaped under similar conditions out of one nugget, previously cut to the required size. Look at examples at Amber Beads Formed From One Stone
Reconstructed (pressed) Baltic amber (Succinite) – gemstone made of Baltic amber pieces pressed in high temperature and under high pressure without additional components. Look at examples at Amber Beads Made From Two Stones
Bonded Baltic amber (Succinite) (doublet, triplet) – gemstone consisting of two or more parts of natural, modified or reconstructed Baltic amber bonded together with the use of the smallest possible amount of a binding agent necessary to join the pieces. International jewelry and gemology organizations recommend providing customers with exhaustive information on the gemstone modifications applied.
The classification of Baltic amber gemstones was adopted by the Board of the International Amber Association on December 2011, 1999, as amended. Last amended on December 02, 2011.
Apart from Baltic Amber, we can find other fossil resins in jewelry and other objects of art, including Rumenite, Symetite, Burmite, Dominican and Mexican Amber. Even though all of them are amber, they should be clearly labeled because they differ significantly in age, properties, hardness and usefulness for jewelry. It has become established to designate amber based on its country or region of origin.
Contemporary resins, called sub-fossil resins or copal, are anywhere from several hundred thousand to a few million years old and are still too young to be called amber. In geological terms, 1 million years is but a fleeting moment and so the inclusions contained in these young resins are species of contemporary plants and animals. Sculptors and jewelry made from the sub-fossil resins quickly lose their smooth surfaces, and if not clearly marked as such, are marketed as Baltic Amber fakes.
Guide To Amber Imitations
If you are considering buying amber, you are advised to get a copy of this booklet with is issued under the auspices of the International Amber Association. Read the Guide To Amber Imitations.