Amber imitation beads made from high impact polystyrene
Re: Newly made from some kind of thermoplastic resin -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Mail author
06/14/2015, 19:29:21

Don't these beads look like they may be real amber? I purchased this necklace, which is made in a traditional Mauritanian style, to check out the large "amber" beads. The rest of the beads are antique Czech, Venetian, carnelian, and include a nice Kiffa. The seller, to her credit, did not make any claims about the "amber" beads, and the price for the necklace was modest.

I sent one of the light yellow beads to a plastics lab for analysis and it tested as high impact polystyrene by FTIR. A hot needle test gave a distinct styrene odor, and the material was tacky when touched with acetone (my tests). I would like to know when this material entered the West African bead trade - if anyone has an idea about this, I'd love to hear from you! I'm guessing post - WWII for sure, maybe around the 1980's. These beads appear to have some age on them, so I don't think they are really recent.

MaureNecklace1a.jpg (35.3 KB)  MaureNecklace3.jpg (49.3 KB)  

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