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Amber vs. Polystyrene "Lemon Amber"
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Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
12/06/2018, 09:52:59

Here's a direct comparison of natural amber vs. high impact polystyrene (HIPS) "lemon amber". Note that HIPS beads can show surface wear, dirt and pitting that makes them look very "natural". In this case the color is a dead give-away. I haven't seen any HIPS beads (yet) that were colored to look more like natural amber, but I suppose they are out there.

Another property that can be confusing is that HIPS is a fairly low density plastic so it may "feel" like real amber. Amber has a density of around 1.05 - 1.10 g/cc, and HIPS, 1.03 - 1.06. The HIPS beads will therefore "pass" the salt water float test used to confirm real amber.

By contrast, other plastics used to imitate amber are higher in density, will "feel heavier" and also sink in the salt water test.

Generic phenolic resins, e.g.Bakelite: 1.36 g/cc
Celluloid: 1.4
polyester: 1.38
Galalith (casein): 1.35
acrylic: 1.17 - 1.20

Note that the density of plastics can vary a bit, due to the very wide variation in formulations that may included additives, dyes, etc., so these values are all approximate. Theoretically, you might, for example, find an acrylic bead that is low enough in density that it will pass the salt water float test.

RFAmberHIPSDec2018.jpg (34.2 KB)  


Modified by Rosanna at Thu, Dec 06, 2018, 10:09:45

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Re: Amber vs. Polystyrene "Lemon Amber"
Re: Amber vs. Polystyrene "Lemon Amber" -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: odan Post Reply
12/06/2018, 11:09:01

Yo Rosanna...here's some photos of my real Amber with some fakes tossed in.
I think the colors on these are very close to real.....
Just thought I'd post some for your ideas.

8_a_1.jpg (61.0 KB)  6_a_2.jpg (53.9 KB)  


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one more photo
Re: Re: Amber vs. Polystyrene "Lemon Amber" -- odan Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: odan Post Reply
12/06/2018, 11:09:36

9_a_3.jpg (42.4 KB)  


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Very hard to tell much from these pictures
Re: Re: Amber vs. Polystyrene "Lemon Amber" -- odan Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
12/06/2018, 15:31:19

Dannoh - your pictures are too blurry to tell for sure, but the ones that appear to have glossier surfaces when compared to the natural amber - are probably phenolic resin beads. The other possibilities are casein, celluloid, and polyester. In other words, almost impossible to say which plastic without direct examination.



Modified by Rosanna at Thu, Dec 06, 2018, 15:32:40

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Re: Very hard to tell much from these pictures
Re: Very hard to tell much from these pictures -- Rosanna Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: odan Post Reply
12/07/2018, 06:43:46

The beads are less important then the colors.
the resin beads have there usual shape but the color is what I wanted to show.

The match up of color is amazing in these beads. The fake amber is so close to the real beads in these photos.....That's all I wanted to show.



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Thanks Dan, sorry for any misunderstanding!
Re: Re: Very hard to tell much from these pictures -- odan Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Rosanna Post Reply
12/07/2018, 10:49:59



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