Many good looking fakes are appearing now as genuine amber has sometimes surpassed the cost of gold.....the repairs on the ones you show are suspect for sure.
Hi Joyce.......glad i asked before buying for a change....will be very very carefull indeed!! hope to seeso good signs when i see them live!! thanks Max
A side-by-side analysis of amber and the new beads that Red has described would possibly reveal what is in the new bead material. The recommended test is called FTIR. Each test costs around $275 at an independent test lab. Unfortunately I retired and no longer have free access to this kind of equipment.
It would be best if a small sample of material is cut off for testing, although attachments are available that look at the surface of larger pieces. I am willing to sacrifice a piece off a badly damaged amber bead for this purpose. But a piece off one of the new beads is needed as well.
If there is interest in doing the tests, and people want to pool funds and provide samples, I would be willing to coordinate and interpret the tests.
Otherwise, does anyone out there have access to an FTIR, maybe at a university chemistry department? If so, ask if they have an ATR attachment too.
According to Wikipedia:
"The term copal describes resinous substances in an intermediate stage of polymerization and hardening between "gummier" resins and amber".
I saw a few examples of beads made from copal in the defunct Bead Museum formerly of Glendale, AZ. The beads looked nothing like old amber or phenolic beads and reportedly are fragile. Copal will become sticky if tested with a drop of acetone because it is not as highly crosslinked as amber.
I see the term copal used now and then to describe old phenolic beads but this is clearly incorrect, so I think we all need to be cautious about using the term copal. I also see the terms "copal amber" and "African amber" applied to old phenolic beads. Both terms are misleading but unfortunately continue to be used by sellers.
There are newly made phenolic or other polymer resin beads being sold that are colored to look like amber and I have some of them. I'm working on possible quick methods of testing them to determine the composition, but that may not be possible without using industrial analytical lab equipment.
What did these beads smell like when you burned them?
I am not very knowledgable about amber, but to me they look like some type of plastic or resin beads that are newly made. Especially the ones with the metal repairs make me weary. Old and treasured amber beads sometimes have been repaired, but it is now something that is copied rather crudely in fake amber beads. From what I can tell (again, not very knowledgable about amber) these types of fakes are pretty abundant in Morocco and I have seen them in Tucson too.I do not think they are copal, for the reasons that Rosanna stated in her reply.
I also do not think they match the 'new generation fakes' that Red is referring to in the article, she describes sliced beads, and not these oval ones. I think I may have seen some of these types of fakes in Beijing, and will post pictures later.
the yellow rather cylindrical ones at the back of the first picture might be amber- they resemble some of mine which are-