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Original Message:   Re: Meeting, Etc.
Hi Jake,

I know that when we met again last year, you mentioned being at my Amber Seminar a few years previously.

In the case of glass, when it's artificially decayed, as with acid, what is happening is essentially a leaching process. In making glass, lime is added to the batch to stabilize the glass. If the lime is not included, the resulting glass will actually MELT (or dissolve) when it gets wet. Consequently, if you can subject glass to something that will attack the lime, the glass will tend to fall apart.

What this means is, there is no "mineralization" of the glass (though it may look as though there is), as may happen with many materials from exposure to or association with other objects or substances in a burial/interment environment. I have occasionally referred to the white look of decayed glass as having a "contamination" or "deposit." This, of course, is technically incorrect, but makes a visual point. Nothing is deposited onto the glass. The glass is just decomposing.

I am sure there is a big different between mineral deposits and chemical decay that take place over centuries, and the effect that results from an acid bath. However, I could not begin to characterize what these differences may be. (I was not brilliant in Chemistry in school. Far from it. I excelled in Biology—and specifically invertebrate biology.) But, for many collectors, the important thing may be to recognize that artificial effects that mimic great age are possible, and are applied to beads with an intent to present a deceptive idea about the age of those pieces.

Jamey

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