Title "African Amber", then description to clarify
Re: Re: So-called "African Amber" - can anyone document the popular eBay concept.... -- mosquitobay Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Mail author
08/24/2007, 17:26:14

Hi Jan,

I hear you and agree, the description needs to clarify the material the offering is made of. Unfortunately, the title itself is misleading ("African Amber"), but regarded as necessary. Those of us familiar with the material know it was probably manufactured with intent to be misrepresented to Africans, so 85 years later it is no surprise the stuff is still so widely misunderstood. I ran an experiment on the trades page to confirm what you have just expressed - my offering is still up, placed on Aug. 7. It took almost 3 weeks for the beads to sell, and even now the image has been viewed only 66 times, because my title is: "2 Huge Phenolic Plastic Beads". A savvy dealer bought 'em for resale, as my text even invited buyers to do.

But what I do find unacceptable without proof is allegations by some sellers that there is some mystical inclusion of or probability of actual fossil resin contained within material that is plastic. It's definitely a problem when an item is repped as "Copal Amber" (what is it, copal or amber?) with no further clarification. And it's a problem when there is no discussion of composition when the item is titled "African Amber". Also unacceptable are horn beads represented as African Amber.

Jan, I applaud your overall point of view and thorough efforts in your auctions - I always have appreciated your A+ quality offerings.

I think you are a little early on the phenolic resin material dates though - I believe they appeared in the late 1920s.

Related link: History of Plastics - scroll down for "thermosetting plastics"

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