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Gorgeous Fulani Amber
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Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/02/2006, 08:29:40

REAL amber beads......well, except for maybe two, favored by Fulani women of Africa.

I have not seen any of these strands for sale lately. Anybody else seen any?

fulani2.jpg ( bytes)  


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The whole strand
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/02/2006, 08:30:31

fulani1.jpg ( bytes)  


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The original strand, all 6 feet of it
Re: The whole strand -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/02/2006, 08:32:18

1_716054.jpg (38.8 KB)  


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Re: The original strand, all 6 feet of it, Wow! Double Wow!
Re: The original strand, all 6 feet of it -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: adjichristine Post Reply
07/02/2006, 13:15:27

Hi Carl, I absolutely love this Amber! Its becoming harder and harder to find. The last strand i saw was last year. It had huge pieces of amber on it! i tried to get the man to sell me just the huge pieces but, he wanted to sell the strand at a very high price1 it was a little too rich for my blood/pocket!



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Re: The original strand, all 6 feet of it, Wow! Double Wow!
Re: Re: The original strand, all 6 feet of it, Wow! Double Wow! -- adjichristine Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/02/2006, 16:00:39

Hi Christine, just as I thought. I have not seen beads like this in a long time.



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OK I do it...!
Re: The whole strand -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Nura Cadd Post Reply
07/02/2006, 17:37:14

Carl,
are you strong? Sit down - listen to me. Just kidding....!

But, truely, I just thought it were stupid and Octopussy not to tell you the full truth. I looked at the strand again just now. Here my honest statements, the best I can say in all honesty!

The strand looks good, yes! Amber always look gold, when real and old, like yours. And it is real and old. All of it (I can´t see clearly only 3,4,5 pieces twoards the knot). But it is NOT a gorgeous strand. I think you wanted a statement in that direction. What else could you want, since we do not talk about the differences in chemical composition of brown and yellow amber.

Take all none-golden pieces out and make a new strand. Weight both piles, golden and non-golden. Depending on where and when you´ve bought it....

....maybe you should tell me first, if you want my "online examinations" going into financial detail or not. I do not want to deliver something you may wanna keep private. Or a private mail maybe...?

Not the the darker pieces were useless - they are not. But they are different, lower in price and the reason is simply a lesser desire and demand.

A tip: take a soft piece of fabric and "oil" the strand. Yes, take olive oil, that´s the best and used in Morocco too to give the beads a matt-shine and some more classs. You must repeat that now and then. Amber needs some care now and then! It´s simply and easy!

I repeat, what I said in another context and previous mail: what dealer´s say is totally irrelevant, unless you know your dealer for a long/er time and he confirmed being knowledgable. You must understand that they are dealers. Not collectors. If beads or amber - generally spoken - makes and is no difference. As Muslims they have an ethic of their own, also regarding lying and misrepresenting. I can only assume you´re wise enough to understand the real meaning of my words. Do not make me say that "I love and respect them" or bullshit like that. I am talking facts here, regardless of religion, education, nationality, age, sex or color. This guys are all rather religious and take the Quaran real serious. Maybe you know what Muhammed, founder of that religion, had said about trade and how to trade with the unfaithful to Allah. All those things must be known - and I am rather superficial here to say the least - if one is dealing with a black Muslim dealer. What I´m saying is: they usually do not know much about their stuff (exceptions, as everywhere, just confirm this rule) and for them it´s no lie nor bad, when they "verbally enhence" this merchandise. It´s your obligation as buyer to have knowledge too. It´s your money, in the end! To trust them, just because you wanna treat them with political correctness, just because they´re black, authentic and from Africa, is not advisable! Such a delaer will NEVER EVER cheat you, will not take a single penny more than was agreed to. They are correct businessman in their majority, but,....again,....read the Quran to understand the rest! I enjoy making deals with them, a lot even. To me that´s way better and more funny and "happy" than with any white-collar baby which has never set a foot onto African soil. But....ok, you got it - the Quran should be written first (at least as "introduction to the subject").

I´m saying: a strand sold as FULANI can be, but do not necessarily has to be FULANI alone. You have to say, you have to know "it´s Fulani". When buying a car, you come with clear ideas to the dealership too, don´t you?

Depending on the price you paid, it can be a good strand. Really gorgeous amber - seen with Moroccan/Malian eyes, at least - looks some better, bigger (what are the sizes of your beads? I can only guess, based on experience), rounder, more regular and completely golden.

One strange thing: the elaborately and carefully repaired pieces, also those with fine end-capps (mostly Mauritanian though), are same, if not higher in price. A repair of this amber is no decrease of price. OK, common knowledge!

....where are the girls?
BOND needs to rest.



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Amber
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Nura Cadd Post Reply
07/02/2006, 14:55:27

Ola Carlito,
do you suspect or do you know it´s Fulani amber (from the Eastern Sea)?
Please share your knowledge!

Bond.



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Re: Amber
Re: Amber -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/02/2006, 15:35:24

Hola Bond,

I am not sure, it was sold to me as Fulani amber. What can you tell me about it?

Carl



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Amber
Re: Re: Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Nura Cadd Post Reply
07/02/2006, 17:01:57

Carlo,
not much. I am not FULL-ANI aware of the differences between Fulani vs. other amber of that area. I was immedeately reminded of "Moroccan amber" (from the same original source, of course, as yours), though there might be some other pieces mixed in too. Either Morocco mixed into Fulani, or vice versa, if not a third or piece of non-amber is among. Generally it´s all amber, that much I think we can agree to. Also the color - regarding the majority of this single pieces - that typical and desired golden-yellow color qualifies for Fulani. And maybe it´s really all Fulani, since I mostly know FULANI-amber in the context of hair-ornaments, not necklaces or other, if that exists too. Do you know for what this pieces were used originally, or before you got them? Is it a dealer-strung Fulani strand?
But I just remind one little story, what confirms more the FULANI origin.
One day I arrived at the house of my (very Southern) Moroccan friend, while he was just preparing for another visit "South". Mauritania and Mali were 3,4,5 times per year his aim. Several trading items were laying all around his room, things in exchange for items from those two countries. A practical way to deal still. Still oftendone among Muslims of the that region. The advantages are too obvious to lose time with them here and now. I asked him questions like "what do you get for this. What are you hoping to exchange for this. What is this worth in Bamako" Questions of that kind. To make a long and nice evening (with that friend, Mohamed is his name, of course) short in telling, it came out, that all this amber I had bought from him up to that day (I talk about the nineties, Carl. Amber was rather a desaster for me all together, economically seen. Amber is just to expensive to profit from it) had in fact been Malian. My buddy Mohamed - friend and dealer since several years - had never told me, so far. I was really of the naive thinking (up to that point, I repeat)it had been genuine Moroccan amber. Amber, besides coral and silver is so much part of traditional Moroccan jewelry (though the upperclass had always used gold, yes, also in traditional jewelry. I don´t know if you have some general knowledge of traditional Moroccan jewlery, but if so, try to look at some of those gold-pieces, at least in books. That is truely amazing. A difference as big as that between Nourakad and this "sorry-my-kids-brought-this-home-from-Kindergarden" beads from Kiffa) that it had been normal to assume all amber in Morocco was "moroccan". Anyway, both is "Baltic Sea" in the widest sense (lots of this same amber came from Germany and Russia too, of course) and therefore we talk the same amber anyway. But..., yes, there is a but!
In many cases, bigger and raw, natural chunks of amber have been brought (through landroutes)to buyers in Western Africa (I talk the late middle-ages here, for example). And, as always was and always will be, different buyers had different tastes. I was told that big and bigger pieces were sold with preference into what is the Malian area today, while Moroccans, way north of them, prefered more ready-into-bead-made pieces of smaller size.
OK, this will be endless. Little summary, but please verify anyway. I am just one humble source and do not feel confident to tell an ultimate truth (which doesn´t exist anyway).
Both countries have, like and use "Baltic Amber". Bigger pieces, like only partly yours, were favoured in Mali, possibly higher prices could be fetched there - and do not forget their chance to pay in gold-dust. I had to touch and even to smell this strand to say a bit more. The color is great and appreciated in both countries, though not all Moroccan could pay for this desired color. Berbers were often - nearly always - the wearers of amber and not many of them were rich enough (but....again....there are also so many exceptions, that this talk here and now leads finally nowhere. It´s a longer story and many facets...)to be able to buy this higher sun-yellow golden quality.

I will try to find this typical Fulani-woman photo we see everywhere. A woman wearing this 10-15 big pieces of golden amber in their hair, often with a little red bead to hold the bigger amber in place. A photo will tell more than words. Tell me if you know what I mean - otherwise I go through this ordeal and find you a photo!

I need a drink,
BOND.



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Fulani-woman photo... and many others
Re: Amber -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Charles Post Reply
07/03/2006, 19:43:56


image


Related link: http://www.africanceremonies.com/ceremonies/photogallery3.html

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Re: Fulani-woman photo... and many others--A priceless picture! Thanks!
Re: Fulani-woman photo... and many others -- Charles Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/04/2006, 13:24:24



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Re: Fulani-woman photo... and many others,earrings!
Re: Fulani-woman photo... and many others -- Charles Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: adjichristine Post Reply
07/04/2006, 13:43:01

Charles, I own two pairs of Fulani earrings! A huge pair and a smaller pair, (22kt) that I wear almost everyday!!!



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Adjichristine, YOUR Earrings... YIKES!!!
Re: Re: Fulani-woman photo... and many others,earrings! -- adjichristine Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Charles Post Reply
07/04/2006, 15:09:53

Now I remember!!!! Our self-pictures, you were wearing some rather very very (did I say VERY) large ear jewlery. You go girl, but my poor ears are sore just from the thought of these earrings being "almost everyday" wear!
How did you come upon these earrings? They must be a special order type of jewlery.

Charles



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Hey, Carl - This is a stellar strand in all regards.
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Austin Cooper Post Reply
07/02/2006, 15:39:35



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AUSTIN "Mini" COOPER
Re: Hey, Carl - This is a stellar strand in all regards. -- Austin Cooper Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Nura Cadd Post Reply
07/02/2006, 17:42:51

"stellar strand in all regards".

Could you tell me what "regards" you mean, please? Do you know more about FULANI amber? Please post some details or photos!

Do you know that I drive the cars your father builts....?
I were nothing, without my Austin.

Bond. James Bond!



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I did not believe you are old enough to drive a motorized vehicle of any type.
Re: AUSTIN "Mini" COOPER -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Austin Cooper Post Reply
07/04/2006, 06:09:00



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Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: TASART Post Reply
07/03/2006, 07:41:22

I can only say that I'm not an Amber expert, I just like looking at it and touching it! Your strand is very nice to look at! Very organic, great variety of colors, almost prehistoric! I have not seen this sizeable a strand in many years and I'm sure the price would reflect this scarcity.
Nice beads Carl! Thomas


Related link: Amber

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amber
Re: Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- TASART Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Nura Cadd Post Reply
07/03/2006, 08:30:15

Dear Thomas and Carl,
your post, Thomas, but also Carl not responding to the two posts I wrote on Carl´s "Fulani strand", let´s me assume you, Thomas, felt Carl needed be comforted more than receiving my honest statement (without honey and cream)with credibility, at least insoforth Moroccan amber is concered.

This is not really about being an expert on amber, I believe! And it makes no difference if you or me, Thomas, or my neighbour "Eusebiusz" likes Carl´s strand. We were just trying to figure out, if this was a traditional Fulani strand, possibly more of "Moroccan origin" or Fulani beads mixed with Moroccan amber.

If we, no, I should say you, you Thomas and others on BCN just want to avoid a possibly "hurt for an owner´s feelings" - possibly in preparation to get simelar positve reviews on own pieces at a later time, no real research can be conducted. What is the sense of this for a beadcollector network? And what are the results?

If we all congratulate Carl (Carl stands as one exmple here)for no other reason but making him smile, he might go to the next bead-show to buy more "Fulani-amber" who possibly weren´t. It´s a very normal and human reflex to see our own pieces in a somewhat milder, gentler light, than the pieces of others. That is one thing, a very different is objective facts, knowledge in the widest and best sense.

We do all bead loving and bead buying Carl´s and Thomases and Bond´s no favour, if we applaude for no other reason, than celebrating ourselves. Like that we get farer and farer away from what we should all be after: gaining knowledge and sharing it with those who want to know.

That principle must always come first. Carl is an adult and can deal with critics, especially when feeling that it was posted in all honesty, not to put him or his strand down.

Depending on Carl´s intentions, it may not play much of a role for him anyway, if this strand is from "Fulani-Mali" or Morocco - or a mix of both places. In another context though - like our discussion now, for example - it is very well a relevant and important question, we could all benefit and learn from.

Because then, Thomas, you didn´t have to start your next post on Fulani-amber with an, quote:

"I can only say I´m not an amber expert"

It´s about learning - not about applause for personal reasons!

Reading your post a second time, it´s seems as if you had taken my previous infos not even in account.


JAMES - your personal BOND!



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let me clear this up
Re: amber -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: TASART Post Reply
07/03/2006, 08:47:54

Regarding these beads I can only offer my emotions, I can't offer ANY academics! Regarding your academics, I have no reason to comment as I am not into the scholarly study of Amber in any form whatsoever at this time. I know nothing of the Fulani or Moroccan use of Amber and I would have nothing to add in that respect. Since this is the Bead "Collector" Forum, I, as a collector feel it is my prerogative to show my like or dislike of a bead or strand. I can understand the SBR would frown on such behavior but here it is encouraged. Yes it's nice to learn as much as we can about all the wonderful beads exhibited here and I applaud you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with the rest of us but collecting is not a cut and dry science, Heck if beads weren't so beautiful most here would never have started collecting in the first place. I feel I shouldn't have to explain my emotions or lack thereof to anyone but I like you and I don't want you misinterpreting my position here on the forum. I stand by what I posted about these beads and have nothing to add.
Thomas



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Re: amber
Re: amber -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/03/2006, 08:57:37

Juergen, What should I have commented on based on what you posted? You came up with nothing conclusive really, did you? I appreciate your input as always but nothing you said prompted any further questions or comments from me.



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AMBER ALERT!
Re: Re: amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Nura Cadd Post Reply
07/03/2006, 09:45:29

Carlito, ola!
You´re right, there wasn´t too much to say or comment from your end, unless, maybe, where the strand was bought, when and from whom. Since you did not object, let me have some words on prices. Maybe that helps in some way.
Though I can only speculate about sizes of individual beads on your strand, I have a good idea of single bead sizes anyway, here. If it were Moroccan amber, bought recently in USA, the gramm-price should lay somewhere between 3 and 4 Dollars, not higher than 5 for this rather "big size" and "not-bad" quality for the majority of your beads. Take off 35-40% for all non-golden colors. A price of 1000-2000 Dollar, though this is a wide range, seems to be realistic, if it were a Moroccan strand. Yes, a price closer to 1000 (always assuming +/- 300 gr. as total weight of the necklace), maybe 1500$ seems to be realistic.

Summary: this strand, especially if worn by a tall and beautiul lady -maybe on a black pullover and with 2-3 bigger old coral beads inbetween the amber (but not much of other jewelry on her) - would look surely GREAT, for more than one reason.
The same strand in a museum, described as Fulani-amber, would possibly raise some questions, also because the understanding of Fulani-amber is somewhat different. Bigger pieces, rounder shape and the very typical golden color. And SINGLE pieces, not as necklace, since FULANI-amber is mostly know as hair-ornament!

Hope that explains some!

Audience, be kind and give me what is mine,
BOND always deserves applause,
no matter if saving the world,
or talking "Fulanamber"

sorry, but I must take care of that tall lady,
with the gorgeous necklaces,
"do-not-disturb"
reads the "mega-tag" on my door now,
it´s a man´s world - isn´t it, Carlito?
BOND. JAMES BOND!



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Re: AMBER ALERT!
Re: AMBER ALERT! -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/03/2006, 10:04:58

Mr. Bond,

Some beads on this strand were, based on the over sized and very smooth perforation, worn as hair ornaments while others don't have the right shape for this......that is, to be pulled tightly against the scalp.

If I had my calipers with me I would give you exact measurements but I do not, so I will give you a range in inches.....the smallest amber bead on the strand is .5" in diameter. The largest bead is 1.5" in diameter. The beads closest to the knot are stone.

The very long strand shown in the third image is made up of three different strands I purchased over the last 5 years. They all came from African traders as "market strands". There are varying degrees of color and textures and depth in color.

Your price estimation is close, or was close, 5 years ago for the smaller strand shown. Or I should say, the higher side of your price estimate.

Stay cool, Bond.

Later

Carl



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Believe me, since I know Carl, he wasn't looking to be comforted. He can..
Re: amber -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/03/2006, 09:47:11

..stand on his own two feet quite well, thank you, and knows much more than he lets on. He can just lean back, confidently, against "the wall" and be amused by all the pontificating. Steve



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SM-beads or: Turtlenecks with strawberries and whipped cream!
Re: Believe me, since I know Carl, he wasn't looking to be comforted. He can.. -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Nura Cadd Post Reply
07/03/2006, 10:44:55

SM, please read carefully!

quote SM aka Steve:
"(Carl) stand on his own two feet quite well, thank you, and knows much more than he lets on. He can just lean back, confidently, against "the wall" and be amused by all the pontificating"

Comment: isn´t it "stands", with an "S" - Carl standS on his own (two, yes!!) feet, SM/Steve?

Since this is true, why do you feel called to be "Carl´s wall and pro bone defender"?

You like to speak for others generally, don´t you? In one of your previus posts - reaching out for me - you did it, hold your breath, 10 times. Ten times "we think, we want, we do not need" and stuff like that! With an understood intend "WE" do not need + like you.

Unlike Carl, you, SM/Steve, cannot stand alone and for yourself, that much is obvious!

By telling about Carl´s character, you explain anything you ARE NOT! Anything you said about Carl, does not apply to you. That is possibly why you appreciate Carl and come to his unnecessary (and possibly unwanted) aid.

Only in one way you are right. Carl does not need support. Not yours!

I read some of your posts, especially older ones to Evelyn, a person so way beyond your bead knowledge, that it´s not appropiate to use both of your names in a research context.

For the sake of peace on this site - also for the sake of serious talks on beads - where they are from, how they are made, what they meant and mean to people etc. - I wish you could stop your hollow and offending nonsense.

Talk about beads! Raise a open bead-question, find a serious topic or post a reasonable answer OF YOUR OWN - if you have one!

Out-of-context-fantasy-photos with turtles and strawberries do not qualify. Not for me!

the uncomparable, stunning, attractive and astonishing...
JAMES BOND.



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I did read carefully....
Re: SM-beads or: Turtlenecks with strawberries and whipped cream! -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/03/2006, 10:47:16



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Re: I did read carefully....and so should you.
Re: I did read carefully.... -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/03/2006, 10:52:01



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Juergen, this was uncalled for and unpleasant. There is no place for this here
Re: SM-beads or: Turtlenecks with strawberries and whipped cream! -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/03/2006, 11:02:30



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Re: OUCH!!!!!!!!
Re: SM-beads or: Turtlenecks with strawberries and whipped cream! -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: adjichristine Post Reply
07/03/2006, 11:14:24



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This is a seasonal pattern for Juergen. No surprises here.
Re: SM-beads or: Turtlenecks with strawberries and whipped cream! -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
07/03/2006, 11:31:56

The pattern is to stomp in, often with an alias. But it is so easy to see it's him, always from the first post. And always with a few people drooling all over him because he is so colorful and knowledgeable. Then, when he feels in control of the forum, begins to trash folks for just about any post or image they may show. Rating beads for quality, rarity, condition and value. As if he is some sort of consultant whose approval we need. Read it, hot dog, I lose no sleep over you whatsoever.

Six requests to block him and it's done. What say ye?

"the uncomparable, stunning, attractive and astonishing." Sorry, I have heard otherwise.




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I know I get worked up but several things have come too close to bigotry.
Re: This is a seasonal pattern for Juergen. No surprises here. -- Joyce Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/03/2006, 12:03:53

Make it SEVEN requests. Steve



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Fine. Seven.
Re: I know I get worked up but several things have come too close to bigotry. -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
07/03/2006, 12:13:57



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Re: This is a seasonal pattern for Juergen. Most people would hesitate -
Re: This is a seasonal pattern for Juergen. No surprises here. -- Joyce Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: adjichristine Post Reply
07/03/2006, 17:40:00

to state publicly how they feel about anything! Few would openly vote someone off of anything! But, this forum is too important and Joyce and David have worked too hard to have this forum ruined by someone so hateful as to viciously attack another forumite! This man trashed a person just because they did not share the same opinion! He hit below the belt in attempting to make Steve feel as, if he does not count! He is not important because he does not know as much about beads! Mutual respect is very important in all relationships! Disrespecting another person's opinions is bad enough but, going for the jugular vein , stomping on a persons' feelings as, if he were a bug, is just too much!As, if, that wasn't enough, he posts under another name to ask the question who is Joyce to make such a decision? That shows he has absolutley no remorse! It could be a sick game to him! Admin. let my vote be counted! Throw this man out and take measures to keep him away! Ilove this forum! I come here to learn and to share, to laugh and to play!!! I'f I get heart palpitations, let it be because, I just laid my eyes on some great beads and, not because A forumite's comments are so nasty and cutting, he risks killing the spirit of the person he is attacking and those of us reading his diatribe!



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Christine the fake names were possibly to confuse Interpol...
Re: Re: This is a seasonal pattern for Juergen. Most people would hesitate - -- adjichristine Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/04/2006, 13:34:26



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James?
Re: SM-beads or: Turtlenecks with strawberries and whipped cream! -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Logan Post Reply
07/03/2006, 13:24:25

I think he's more like Donald Duck than James Bond.



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Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Patrick Post Reply
07/03/2006, 09:45:03

To all on this thread,
Pictured are two necklaces. The first pic is real amber w/ sterling silver beads.And circa:Very early 1900s or could be late 1800s.These beads are the only real amber beads I have.I wonder what kind of amber or from where this type is from ? (I know little about amber) But I do know that I love it ! The second necklace is of faux amber beads, (circa:unknown to me). I would like to know more about this ine as well. Both necklaces were bought out of a jewelry store "Estate Case pieces".
Patrick.

REAL_AMBER.jpg (55.4 KB)  FAUX_AMBER.jpg ( bytes)  


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new vs. old
Re: Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Patrick Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Nura Cadd Post Reply
07/03/2006, 11:36:10

Hi Patrick,
it is nearly impossible to say if real amber is new or old, 1900 or 1980. The easiest, or one age-detection method are the beads, thread, clasp etc. attached to it too. "The style" in other words. Some such necklaces are from 1900 or earlier and look like new, because grandma hasn´t used them much.

I find the phenolic strand - your second picture - more interesting, especially if before ca. 1960 or so.

The amber on your first picture is of "Baltic origin", like most amber available nowadays.

By the way: much of this old African amber (from the Baltics too, of course)is not transparent any more, but opaque now instead, because of it´s use, the wearer´s sweat, the sun etc.! I find this opaque amber, favoured for example in the Maghreb, Mali and Mauretania etc. more appealing, than the darker brown and "clear" one.

Bond´s choice, says
JAMES!



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Re: new vs. old, clear vs. opaque
Re: new vs. old -- Nura Cadd Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: nishedha Post Reply
07/03/2006, 15:27:27

Although not so common, I have seen golden color, opaque amber beads, brand new, from the Baltic. I do not think all opacity is due to age and/or use.



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In fact....
Re: Re: new vs. old, clear vs. opaque -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/03/2006, 19:08:53

Hi Nishedha,

In fact, you are correct. In fact, transparent amber does NOT "become opaque" due to aging.

It may become DARKER in color, and this darkening may be compared to or mistake for opacifying..., but fundamentally, opaqueness in amber is due to its cullular structure and the incorporation of gasses that formed microscopic bubbles (when the amber was still fresh resin). Another cause of opacity is inclusions—things with dirt and chaf from the forest (floor) where the trees grew.

Certain cloudy (NOT "transparent") ambers darken with age to the degree that they become much more opaque-looking. The crust they develop is or tends to be thick and rusty-looking. However, diaphenous amber doesn't generally age this way.

You can make opaque amber clear (with heat treatments); you don't get opaque amber from transparent or translucent amber.

Jamey



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Re: In fact....Would you care to comment on my amber
Re: In fact.... -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Patrick Post Reply
07/03/2006, 19:17:53



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Re: In fact....
Re: In fact.... -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: nishedha Post Reply
07/04/2006, 00:30:40

Your quote: "Certain cloudy...rusty-looking". That's right! Recently chipped opaque amber beads of a nice rusty colour can be seen to be made of a bright yellow stuff, under the aprox. 1 mm. thick brownish crust...

I do not fully agree with your "In fact...to aging". I do not know what causes transparent amber to darken and turn more opaque, but in my experience dark, opaque beads -- the largest bead in Carl's strand would be a typical one -- even beads looking hoplessly damaged due to their rough surface, become less opaque after a rubbing with raw shea butter. Amber initially opaque will turn of a richer shade, but will not gain translucence, no matter how much we massage it! I guess there are two types of opacity: one that is congenital to the amber itself and due the impurities, etc. of the material, another one caused by aging (i.e. weathering** of the surface).

One more point to consider: some beads are partly opaque, partly translucent, and that can best be seen after the "treatement".

**specially "sanding", because I have only found this caracteristic weathered surface in beads from Northwest Africa (Sahara area), never for example in Tibetan beads.



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Careful..., and care
Re: Re: In fact.... -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/04/2006, 05:01:14

Dear Nishedha,

You write, "I do not know what causes transparent amber to darken and turn more opaque...."

My point was that transparent amber DOES NOT become opaque. It merely darkens. When it's held to the light it will be seen to have remained transparent (minus the degree to which it has darkened). There is a distinct and significant difference between dark amber and opaque amber.

Next, you write, "...the largest bead in Carl's strand would be a typical one...."

No, I cannot agree. The large bead in Carl's strand is probably an old specimen of native copal. As "amber" goes in west Africa, actual amber is much more common than copal (except in recent beads from less than about ten years ago). The copal cannot be called "typical." However, it's look is specific to these beads. This material ages differently (and more radically) than amber. To compare it to amber is a mistake. What has happened to this bead is similar to what happens to amber NODULES after thousands of years. I have already said that opaque amber can be made more transparent with treatments (that include heating and oil). However, these copal beads are most likely MADE from translucent material. So, of course, oiling them will return them to this appearance (somewhat)—because they were not opaque.

Next, "Amber initially opaque will turn of a richer shade, but will not gain translucence, no matter how much we massage it!"

This is absolutely mistaken. It is routine to clarify opaque amber, for over 120 years that recorded history tells us, and probably much longer. It is true that this is a factory practice, and not something individuals do (easily). But the simple fact is that clarifying amber in oil is a tried-and-true proceedure. "Massage" has nothing to do with it.

Next, "I guess there are two types of opacity: one that is congenital to the amber itself and due the impurities, etc. of the material, another one caused by aging (i.e. weathering** of the surface."

Absolutely not! The two types of opaque amber are those I described in my previous post. Aging does not precipitate opacity (except superficially, and in-appearance—as opposed to in-substance).

Finally, "...specially 'sanding', because I have only found this caracteristic weathered surface in beads from Northwest Africa (Sahara area), never for example in Tibetan beads."

By "sanding" are you referring to the highly compromised granular surface of the large bead Carl showed? This is a COPAL bead from Africa. It is not surprising you have not seen these beads from a Tibetan context. It would not be impossible, but it would be unlikely.

Jamey



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References please
Re: Careful..., and care -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: njstark Post Reply
07/04/2006, 07:00:37

Jamey, can you reference you sources? Where are you getting your information? Nancy



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What specifically?
Re: References please -- njstark Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/04/2006, 15:07:12

Hi Nancy,

My essential references are listed in the articles on amber I produced 30 years ago, collectively called "Amber and It's Substitutes" (Parts I, II, & III), for The Bead Journal (1975). I am an internationally recognized authority on the topic of amber beads and jewelry (as opposed to biological/scientific issues of amber study—that interest me, but that are not specialties of mine).

In that series, I explained (for the first time anywhere in print) that the "amber" beads coming out of West Africa were really plastic; I explained the differences between amber, copal, and imitations; I explained how to tell the difference, using simple tests that practically anyone can perform. This (30 years later) remains the best source of information about collectible "amber" beads—and has been much copied and plagiarized by other authors since that time.

My work, apart from reading dozens and dozens of books, catalogues, and articles (to keep-up in the field), is based on observation. I have collected amber since the 1960s, and have studied many private collections. As a working artist, I have documented quantities of remarkable specimens that have passed through my hands, and have provided amazing opportunities for furthering and broadening my experience and familiarity with amber and amber substitutes (and imitations). I feel it is my first-hand knowledge, based on observation, that makes my opinions worthwhile. But I also support this with ongoing updating of the current thoughts of my peer group. I am professionally friendly with Barbara Ceranowicz—the leading authority on amber in Poland. She routinely sends me her new publications every year (god bless her). I belong to the International Amber Society. I consult with and work for Emma Maria Kuster, the Director of The Amber Museum in Bavaria—and Emmy has been a close friend for over 30 years. I am also good friends with Patrick Craig, who is a local specialist working on the issues of amber inclusions, and in particular the arachnid family. The amount of networking that takes place in the amber community is easy to underestimate, and difficult to understand—unless you are involved in it.

If you would like a list of the top three or four references that deal authoritatively with amber (apart from my articles), I would be happy to provide that, based on my opinion. However, I am not about to compose a list of the hundreds of references I exploit in my work..., particularly when it is my personal work that informs me the most. Again, I recommend participating in my Amber Group, where the on-going goal is to provide the tools for self-education on this topic.

Jamey



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Re: Carefree
Re: Careful..., and care -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: nishedha Post Reply
07/04/2006, 07:04:06

Carefree talking brings confusion.
What you say (i.e. that the large bead in Carl's necklace is not made of amber, but of copal) makes things much more understandable to me. So, many many beads sold/brought as amber are really copal. And of course, it makes sense: the less fossilized resin ages faster/easier.
And yes, of course you are right: the 2nd. "type of opacity" I was speaking of is not real opacity, but just a surface erosion screening the inner translucence.
And evidently "massage" was just a punt: what is instrumental is oiling. I did not know heat is also a recommended procedure: I will try it!
Thank you for careful checking our posts.



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Amplification
Re: Re: Carefree -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/04/2006, 15:14:14

"So, many many beads sold/brought as amber are really copal."

NO! In fact, until quite recently when local copal was again exploited as it had been in the past (ca. 10 years ago now, vs the early 20th century, apparently), actual copal beads in Africa have been rather scarce! As I remarked (excluding artificial imitations), real amber is much more available (in an African context) that is native copal. (You must read carefully!)

Copal has been a rather rare commodity from out of Africa, until recently.

By far, the greatest numbers of beads we see from this context (said to be "amber") are certainly actually plastic. Yet many, many of these beads are SAID to be "copal" when they are not.

Jamey



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Re: Then...
Re: Amplification -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: nishedha Post Reply
07/05/2006, 02:50:20

... it would be so very helpful to have some photos illustrating this point (of copal vs. amber). For example, what is your opinion about the beads in Carl's posted strand? Which are amber, which copal...?



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Decisions, decisions....
Re: Re: Then... -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/05/2006, 03:50:04

Hi Neshidha,

It is very difficult to make accurate decisions based on photographs—as you and most of us know. I would guess that the copal beads in Carl's strand are the ones that look compromised—like the bead we are discussing.

I remember quite well, the first time I saw a necklace that included what I eventually decided must be old copal beads, included with old amber beads, from a West African context. If I recall correctly, the necklace was from Mali, and said to be Fulani. The copal beads were distinctive because of their usually large size, combined with somewhat unusual shapes (oblate but tending to be squared-off), and particularly the surface characteristics suggesting "great age," or "great environmental damage." Since copal biodegrades quite a bit faster than amber (in years rather than centuries), it is a wonder there are any old copal beads around to be collected and examined....

But, since the time I saw that necklace, I have seen others (maybe five or more), all of which combine the same elements, and that appear different in composition/construction from either old amber necklaces and/or typical phenolic plastic constructions (such as came to us from Mali in the 1970s and later, and many of which are said to be "Fulani").

Real amber and real copal can look so similar, it would be impossible to tell them apart from a photo. You have to run a test—and ideally it ought to be a hot-point test (to determine relative melting point). The local copal materials that are harvested or recovered in West and East Africa tend to be pale-colored and translucent, and don't look like so much like amber. (this can be true of copal from other sources as well.) But this does not mean that all old copal is "native African copal"—even if from an African context.

I have beads in my collection that look like butter-yellow amber, but melt easily, that came from Iran. Similar beads (material-wise, not shape-wise) also come from out of Tibet. Also, some pressed amber may tend to be slighlty softer (have a lower than expected melting point) than typical unaltered amber. There are a LOT of variables.

I wish I had all the answers..., but I don't.

Jamey



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Oxidation
Re: Re: In fact.... -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: njstark Post Reply
07/04/2006, 06:51:52

With regard to the darkening with age, it is most like due to oxidation. Amber, i.e., tree resin, is mainly polymerized carbon and hydrogen. Chemically it is a plastic. The stuff will readily react with oxygen in the air, causing it to craze and opacify.

Think of an old plastic toy or doorknob from the 50's, before chemists started adding antioxidants to the material. The toys or knobs or other fabricated items from this era will literally crack and break in you hand.

It's the same principle.

Many universities do research on amber and copol, Google is full of academic sites. One of them is listed below. Nancy


Related link: http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Tree_of_Life/FossilAmber.htm

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Oversimplifying
Re: Oxidation -- njstark Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/04/2006, 15:31:46

Hi Nancy,

There are two issues here, but they are related issues.

The deteriorization of amber is concerned with: 1) the surface of nodules that have been in the earth for millions of years; as oppoised to 2) the surface of objects cut from amber, subsequently exposed to environmental elements and circumstances, that cause similar decay (though over a much sorter period, of course). In any peice of amber, these are related issues, but should be separated from one another and dealt with as separate issues. One should not be confused with the other.

The decay of amber is essentially caused by oxidation—but this is not the only cause or the only issue. It also does not always have the effect of darkening the amber. Sometimes oxidation causes a lighter-colored "bloom" to occur on that piece. The decay is often red-tinted more than other colors, but this is not necessarily aways the case. A lot depends on the resins from which the fossil resin is composed, as well as unpredictable and unexplainable issues—such as what may have happened to the "proto-amber" while it was still in a fresh state, and what may have occurred to it during its time in that local environment, then in the ground, or under water.

Also, it is an oversimplification to remark that amber chemically is a plastic. Amber is "nature's plastic," and shares many features and charactertistics in-comon with artificial plastics. It would be more pertinent to say that some plastics are like amber, than the reverse.

In any context, with any subject(s), you can explain how and why these things are alike, and how they are different. We learn valuable information from BOTH concerns.

Jamey



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Yes, this is what I was taught
Re: In fact.... -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: njstark Post Reply
07/04/2006, 06:34:23

Jamey, I'm glad to read your message.

I was taught by a dealer in Berlin that most raw amber is opaque, due to gasseous inclusions. The submerge the amber in hot water to soften it and drive off the gas. Then, when it hardens, it is transparent. Nancy



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Uh..., no.
Re: Yes, this is what I was taught -- njstark Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/04/2006, 15:49:24

Hi Nancy,

If only it were so simple and easy! Anyone could do this stuff.

We have to be precise in what we say when we advise people. Misunderstanding is merely a few poorly-selected words away. What is "raw amber"? Do you mean uncut amber? Do you mean non-fossilized resin? In the context of amber, there are many pitfalls that must be avoided to deal with the issues brought up. If you use the wrong word, you may be inadvertently talking about something else..., but with amber it could easily be another related concern. So, let's be precise and careful.

Cloudy amber is typically trimmed, cleaned, and submerged in oil; and then CAREFULLY heated, degree by degree, to the point where the oil penetrates the substance and fills the microscopic holes. The oil used ideally has the same Index or Refraction as amber, and traditionally canola oil was used (though it was not named that at that time). Once the vat is brought to the correct temperature and held there for a time, it is then lowered, degree by degree, until the contents reach room-temperature again. Sources remark that this process took as long as about 24 hours to complete.

Anyone can throw some cloudy amber into a container with oil, and heat it. And, no doubt, this was probably done for a long time before it was brought to a science. But it WAS brought to a science in the late 19th C., in Germany. The success of the treatment is dependent on doing it carefully and precisely. It is essential to have control over the temperature, and to have a thermometer to gauge what is happening.

Submerging amber in hot water would never have the effect you are describing. It would be impossible. The BOILING POINT of water is much much lower than the softening point of amber. However, since the softening point of copal is much lower (than amber) it is possible that some copals could be so-treated. But this is BOILING water (not "hot water"), and copal is more often translucent than cloudy anyway.

Jamey



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Re: Not Fulani
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: nishedha Post Reply
07/04/2006, 00:54:11

Still I think it is nice. Transparent, but not crystal clear. And the beads are round, but not perfectly spherical: they look very much hand-made. The jeweller that sold it to me -- an old acquaintance -- said he bought it in Russia.

ambar.jpg (117.9 KB)  


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Which is Real, Which is Fake
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: njstark Post Reply
07/04/2006, 05:39:15

Carl, don't tease me like this. Which ones are real and which ones are fake amber and how do you tell the difference? Nancy



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Re: Which is Real, Which is Fake
Re: Which is Real, Which is Fake -- njstark Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/04/2006, 09:00:05

Hi Nancy, this strand is all real with the exception of some stone beads near the end of the knot.



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Matched strand of Copol
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: njstark Post Reply
07/04/2006, 06:17:43

Carl--beautiful piece; you always manage to find the unusual.

Here is a (much shorter) strand I bought in Brussels at a little African import shop: Galerie Nafaya owned by Kante Mariama. She told me the strand was copol; we haggled over the price for awhile before I bought it.

It was very aromatic when I first bought it--a wonderful scent like inscence that filled the room. To my disappointment, most of the scent dissapated after a few weeks. Does anyone know why? Was the scent planted?

Opinions and information are solicitated, but if someone wants to tell me it is fake, please be kind. I love it no matter what.

Nancy

02_Amber_for_Web.jpg (44.7 KB)  


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These are plastic imitations. Not real copal.
Re: Matched strand of Copol -- njstark Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/04/2006, 15:51:02



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I swore I would not ask anything else, but phenolic resin="plastic?" and is
Re: These are plastic imitations. Not real copal. -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/04/2006, 16:04:19

still desireable? I should receive a rather pricey strand of large, opaque beads tomorrow. Here is a pic of the strand I won. Largest bead is probably almost two inches. That is why I continue to worry about this, even though I have already received one opinion from someone else I trust (and who owns quite a few I suspect). Thank you Jamey for your patience--if indeed you haven't lost it already lol!! Steve

won1.jpg (84.0 KB)  


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"Cultural Amber"
Re: I swore I would not ask anything else, but phenolic resin="plastic?" and is -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/04/2006, 17:07:46

For centuries, Europeans have been sending Baltic amber to Africa (and many places).

They tend to send the "less desirable" but still dramatic and attractive sorts. Often, this means large opaque beads (because "large is good" in the eyes of many folks), and also, from the Baltic/North Europe, opaque amber is more common and less desirable than transparent amber.

Once Europeans had learned to treat amber—including pressing it (making big pieces from small pieces)—they sent THIS amber to Africa.

Once Europeans learned to make decent-looking imitations, they sent THIS material to Africa (and continued to call it "amber").

Amber is not native to Africa. (They only have copal, which is sort-of related, but probably not exploited before actual amber was available to them.) Amber is a received-product. That means when they receive something, and they are told "it's amber," Africans are probably inclined to believe that (in the long run).

Once 1926 rolled around, and phenolic plastic beads were sent to Africa, and said to be "amber," THIS became the standard. Many African people repeat traditional stories about earlier beads they used to have (both amber and copal), but the stories are now applied to plastic beads. (This can happen anywhere, of course.)

In 1972, when phenolic plastic beads began to arrive (in California, where I live), we were told these beads were "African amber." After some research, when I determined that there was really no such thing as "African amber," but only imported European amber in an African context AND/OR local "copal," I then determined to understand what copal was, and whether the beads in question might be copal. By 1974 I understood that the beads were synthetic plastics, but I didn't know which plastic specifically (though I knew it was unlikely they were "Bakelite"—though this was an idea that circulated). In my article, I described them as "Bakelite-type" and "phenolic" plastics. (It wasn't until the mid 1980s that I met a fellow plastics-researcher, who gave me the critical information that identified and dated these materials in the best precise and objective manner.)

Once we understood that "African amber" beads were actually plastic (from the late '20s), that substituted for earlier imported beads and/or local (copal) beads, it became commonplace to characterize these beads as "cultural amber" (from a region that didn't HAVE amber, but received it and received substitutes for it)—and to characterize these beads as being "valuable and collectible." My friend Liza Wataghani (whom I met in 1976) was among the African bead-sellers who took this marketing approach, and had a strong effect upon the marketplace and the terminology of beads (that otherwise wouldn't HAVE many of the names we still use today). I can't disagree with this opinion. To me, it is clear that the beads "are valuable and collectible." However, they ARE NOT "amber," In part, their desirability—and the boost in the cost of buying them, has continued to raise and even explode based on the false premise that "these are African amber beads." (A premise I disproved in 1975.)

So, yes—still desirable and still collectible, and likely to be pricey. But is the price raise reasonable? In some ways it is, and in others it is NOT. Many African bead sellers continue to insist that their beads "are amber." They are vehement and even defensive about it. And their position is understandable. But it is not the truth.

Jamey



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"Cultural Amber" !!!!!!!!! Seller called them "Vintage Amber Prayer Beads"
Re: "Cultural Amber" -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/04/2006, 17:18:59

THANK YOU JAMEY..Perfect! You said it all already I know, but this is where I can finally see, and process, the whole sequence of events, all in one place. I can die in peace! With my..uh, prayer beads on! Steve



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The important thing IS to enjoy them!
Re: "Cultural Amber" !!!!!!!!! Seller called them "Vintage Amber Prayer Beads" -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/04/2006, 17:22:09



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Re: The important thing IS to enjoy them! Oh I will. They were bought for...
Re: The important thing IS to enjoy them! -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/04/2006, 17:25:22

...a good friend actually and I am going to keep what is left over after she makes herself a choker. I wanna use then singly or in trios with cord or rubber. I hope to end up with six to eight of them. And thanks again!!!! Steve



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Re: "Cultural Amber"
Re: "Cultural Amber" -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: njstark Post Reply
07/05/2006, 06:16:09

Jamey,
I think there are a couple of items that need clarification in your posting. You are so correct when you say we need to be PRECISE and CAREFUL in our language.

First of all, from a chemical point of view, amber and copol are the same thing. They are tree resins. It isn't (yet) possible to look at the amber/copol and determine which forest it came from or how old it. Sometimes this can be determined from the impurities or inclusions.

Second, I can't tell if, by phenolic amber, you mean reconstituted amber a completely synthetic amber; meaning completely man-made and chemically different from the hydrocarbon/benzene structure of tree resins.

Reconstituted amber is real amber made from shavings, scraps and bits of amber that have been melting down and pooled. There is nothing inauthentic about reconstituted amber.

Man-made amber, what most of us would call plastic amber, I am guessing was ingroduced in the '40s or '50s. I would make it from polystyrene, which has a soft feel to it and you can dig you fingernail into it, unless you add additives. But this part you surely know better than me.

Nancy



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Re: "Cultural Amber" ??
Re: Re: "Cultural Amber" -- njstark Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/05/2006, 07:18:17

Hello Nancy,

Your post has practically nothing to do with the perspective that some plastic beads can be or are called "cultural amber" by some people.

However, here are some additional observations about what you write:

There is (practically and for all purposes) no such thing as "reconstituted amber." For many years I have discouraged this meaningless phrase. Amber is not "reconstituted"—nor is it "reconstructed." The former refers to a material that has gone through a process whereby something that has been removed (such as water) has subsequently been replaced. Not pertinent to amber. "Reconstructed" (gemologically) refers to forming a material from pulverized pieces that are bonded together with a foreign material (often Epoxy). Also not pertinent to amber. In gemology, the material (I believe) you are talking about is "pressed amber," also named "Ambroid."

You remark, "...I can't tell if, by phenolic amber, you mean reconstituted amber...."

I don't mean that. I don't believe I ever wrote "phenolic amber." (If I did, it was a slip.) In all instances where the word "phenolic" is mentioned, it refers to artificial synthetic resins that are composed in a laboratory/factory, containing phenol, carbolic acid, etc. There is no relation to amber, except possibly in appearance, between these materials. I am unsure where you got this idea, that I would mistake plastic for another material (that being pressed amber).

Please note: semi-fossil resins are collectively called "copal," NOT "copol."

I agree that "...from a chemical point of view, amber and cop[a]l are the same thing." HOWEVER, these materials differ in their physical properties. Amber (that is, fossil resins of a certain usefulness and beauty) have naturally polymerized to the state that they have become hard and durable, and can be subject to lapidary treatments, and will be suitable for decorative purposes. In contrast, copals (geologically younger "semi-fossil" resins) remain reasonably similar to ordinary resin (as collected from a living tree) in that they melt easily (at much lower temperatures than amber), remain soft and in-durable, biodegrade more easily than amber, and provide inferior decorative products. The differences between these materials has very little to do with which "forest they come from." However, their relative geological ages is probably quite pertinent (fossilization being a process that generally takes time—though circumstantial acceleration is certainly not impossible). Geological age is NOT "determined from the impurities or inclusions." However, a specimen that includes flora or fauna that existed millions of years ago is clearly not merely hundreds or thousands of years old (as is the case with copal). Since I didn't suggest what you are remarking upon, I fail to see your point.

"Reconstituted amber is real amber made from shavings, scraps and bits of amber that have been melting down and pooled. There is nothing inauthentic about reconstituted amber."

I agree with you in spirit, but not in phrasing. I don't believe I remarked that pressed amber was in any way "inauthentic." I DO believe that pressed amber is OFTEN misrepresented as "natural amber" when it is not that.

"Man-made amber, what most of us would call plastic amber, I am guessing was in[t]roduced in the '40s or '50s."

This is nonsense! There is no such thing as "man-made amber." Amber has not (yet) been synthesized. Only imitated. As I stated earlier, phenolic plastics were used to imitate amber beginning in 1926. Prior to that time, earlier plastics were also so-used—though they provided inferior imitations. The use of Cellulose acetate, or Celluloid (a somewhat reasonable amber imitation) may go back to soon after 1869, when it was originally developed. You are really off the mark here.

"I would make it from polystyrene...."

I have proposed the use of polystyrene as an imitator in the past. Another chemically-savvy person challenged me on this topic, and I had to agree I was probably mistaken. Nevertheless, it is clear that some thermolabile plastic that is lighter than water is or has been used to imitate amber. I demonstrated this in my 1975 article.

Possibly, you have little idea how frustrating it is to repeat facts I have published long ago, and have repeated many times already—compounded by suggestions that are themselves poorly presented and that challenge me on points I have not even made.

Lordy..., do I need to get some sleep.

Jamey



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Very nice, very collectable and still quite popular amongst collectors.
Re: I swore I would not ask anything else, but phenolic resin="plastic?" and is -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply
07/04/2006, 21:12:44

Hi Steve,

I have collected such beads since the early 1970s.

This image is of one of my favorite strands. Mostly phenolic resin beads, heat treated to turn them this dark red (I actually cooked some myself once, in cooking oil, BOILED them, and they took on this wonderful color), most have been hand carved and altered from the original shape. There are some real amber beads on this strand including the very large repaired bead (52mm x 25mm) and a fabulous ancient carnelian hard cut bicone bead.

This is the strand of beads I bought in 1974 (95% of this strand that is), traded it for fossils, stumbled upon the same strand at a flea market 10 years later and bought it back.

Also during this time you could still find HUGE (60mm x 70mm)phenolic resin beads with lots of cracks and darkness and gorgeous patinas. I had a whole strand once, had to borrow money to buy it, $100. These cannot be found and the "big" strands today are wholesaling for ourtrageous prices.

You got a very nice strand there.

Carl

amber1.jpg (81.3 KB)  


Modified by Carl Dreibelbis at Tue, Jul 04, 2006, 21:13:20

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THANK YOU CARL--I can smell the hot oil now! I love the variations of..
Re: Very nice, very collectable and still quite popular amongst collectors. -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/05/2006, 05:15:05

...color that seem to hallmark all the strands of yours that I have seen, not just in amber by the way, and little unique touches like the addition of the repaired bead and the big carnelian. I hope Bonnie has a skinny neck so I can get maybe eight of the beads! Thanks again-Steve



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Plastic refers to the physical state of matter, glass is also plastic
Re: I swore I would not ask anything else, but phenolic resin="plastic?" and is -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: njstark Post Reply
07/05/2006, 06:00:10

Steve,

The word plastic is a physical term (from high school physics) and it refers to the physical state of matter. Most of the time we think of matter as being solid, liquid, or gas. A plastic is a liquid that takes on a solid appearance at room temperature. It will melt if warmed sufficiently.

Nature invented plastics long before man came along.

Glass was one of the first form of man-made plastic. If you've ever seen window panes that are 2-300 years old you'll notice the flow lines; it is slowly feeling the effects of gravity.

OK, enough physics. I'd rather talk about beads.

Nancy



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Not exactly
Re: Plastic refers to the physical state of matter, glass is also plastic -- njstark Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/05/2006, 07:34:23

Plastics, in the most general sense, are materials that have, under certain conditions, both softened and hardened states. While in a softened state, plastics are moldable..., and once hardened, they retain that molded shape.

Many plastics are softened with heat, and harden when they are cooled. However, there are two classes of plastics: thermolabile plastics (as described above) and thermosetting plastics. The latter are only moldable in the initial phase of their manufacture. Once they are created, thermoset plastics rigidly retain their given shapes, even if heated again. Heat (if of a high enough temperature) only serves to destroy these materials. Bakelite was the first thermosetting plastic (1907). The next big group is the cast phenolics, post-dating 1926.

It is true that glass, when sufficiently heated, becomes plastic (that is, moldable and malleable), and becomes rigid when cooled. However, the ripples in old window panes are not proof of this property. It was recently forwarded that the ripples are actually caused by the type of glassworking that provided the panes. They are not "slowly dripping" nor anything like that.

In addition to the the natural plastics that include amber, copal, and fresh resin or sap, are tar, pitch, lac, asphalt, etc. Glass, like many more modern materials, is an artificial plastic.

Jamey



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In a famous text, African wood carvings described as "plastic arts" of Africa!
Re: Not exactly -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/06/2006, 09:35:14



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Re: Matched strand of Copol
Re: Matched strand of Copol -- njstark Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: thecousinhub Post Reply
11/04/2008, 02:34:39

Hello Nancy, I've just seen your msg. The scent does not come from the item but it is a special african scent use for the shop. If you are interested I can give your more details.
please check Nafaya's brand new web site: www.nafayagallerie.com Please feel free to contact us for any queries. Bye


Related link: http://www.nafayagallerie.com

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Re: XXX Amber ID.
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: nishedha Post Reply
07/05/2006, 03:35:16

Is any of the beads shown below (largest 36 mm.): collectible, gorgeous, Fulani, Morrocan, real, copal, Baltic, cultural... and/or etc. -- AMBER, plastic, copal, phenolic resin, stuff...?

amber_beads_2.jpg (39.8 KB)  


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1, 2, 3, & 5 - probably amber. 4 & 6 - probably phenolic plastic.
Re: Re: XXX Amber ID. -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/05/2006, 03:51:56



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Re: XXX Amber ID. And I would have guessed #1 on left was resin!
Re: Re: XXX Amber ID. -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/05/2006, 05:17:59

I guess I still have a long climb ahead of me on the learning curve! Steve



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All six are "resin."
Re: Re: XXX Amber ID. And I would have guessed #1 on left was resin! -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/05/2006, 07:36:13



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Re: All six are "resin." You got me oh hallowed one..I meant phenolic.
Re: All six are "resin." -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/05/2006, 09:23:57

I'm busted!!!



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Re: oh hallowed one
Re: Re: All six are "resin." You got me oh hallowed one..I meant phenolic. -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: nishedha Post Reply
07/05/2006, 11:55:24

Hi Steve,
What "hallowed" means? I cannot find it in my dictionary, and sounds interesting.



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Hallowed means holy, as in Halloween being the eve of a holy day
Re: Re: oh hallowed one -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: njstark Post Reply
07/05/2006, 15:44:29

Also, the hallowed halls of ivy referring to Michigan State University.



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Re: real vs. fake
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: nishedha Post Reply
07/05/2006, 03:38:07

Are the beads on the strands below real/fake...amber?

astr1.jpg (49.0 KB)  a_str3.jpg (69.2 KB)  astrnd_2.jpg (54.0 KB)  


Modified by nishedha at Wed, Jul 05, 2006, 03:39:02

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They LOOK like real "wedge" amber beads.
Re: Re: real vs. fake -- nishedha Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/05/2006, 03:54:26

These are more likley to be real than fake, because they do not have the look of the wedge amber fakes I have seen (and published). However, NO ONE can make a real determination from a photo—and you should not expect anyone to be so-able.

Jamey



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Strand just received.
Re: Gorgeous Fulani Amber -- Carl Dreibelbis Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: claudian Post Reply
07/05/2006, 09:26:13

Just got the strand I had been talking about and the beads are wonderful and much bigger than I had expected. The largest is 40mm! Phenolic resin rocks!! See pics. Steve

mammoth1.jpg (35.0 KB)  mammoth3.jpg (28.3 KB)  mammoth2.jpg (37.3 KB)  


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It is beautiful, specially the beads with the cracks!
Re: Strand just received. -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: anne bauer Post Reply
07/05/2006, 09:36:05



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Double beautiful! And a few tests.
Re: Strand just received. -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: njstark Post Reply
07/05/2006, 16:11:49

OK, a phenolic resin distributor (Parkway Products) tells us that phenolic resins are resistant to common organic solvents, including acetone, which is commonly available as nail polish remover.

"Copal will dissolve in acetone." says amber collector Garry Platt, so this might make a simple household test to distinguish between copol and phenolic resins. See http://www.amberjewelry.com/Identifying_True_Amber_Gary_Platt.htm.

Platt lists a number of tests to distinguish from amber--I recommend his site and I'm going to try several of these tonight.

Finally, in 1995 Anderson and Crelling classified amber/copol into eight categories, based on the extent of their fossilization (i.e., polymerization). This well-referenced and scientifically-based website gives one of the best technical discussions of copol and amber that I have seen.

Have a good one. Nancy


Related link: http://www.emporia.edu/earthsci/amber/copal.htm

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More easily....
Re: Double beautiful! And a few tests. -- njstark Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
07/05/2006, 18:29:24

Dear Forumites,

Using solvents to test amber is or can be "destructive."

If we are talking about phenolic plastics, versus native copals (or even amber, for that matter) there are two very easy and totally nondestructive things that can be done:

1) Rub and smell the piece in question. Rub it for one full minute. (If you are the impatient type, look at a clock.) Amber and copal will both yield a pleasant aromatic aroma, similar to pine resin. (It may take amber longer to make this smell—hence the full minute invested). Phenolic plastic will give the odor of carbolic acid—this being acrid and chemical-smelling. It makes this smell very quickly and easily. If you are in-doubt about what to expect with phenolic plastic, bop into your kitchen and do the same thing with a pan that has a black Bakelite handle. It will make the same smell.

In case anyone tells you so, there is no such thing as a material that "combines" amber and phenolic plastics. (I have heard this A LOT in the past 30 years!) There is sometimes a very small quantity of synthetic plastic/resin in some pressed amber; however, there is no amber in plastics. (Except for particular imitations that have suspended chunks of amber in a resinous medium, such as damar or whatever. But in this instance you can actually SEE the amber pieces—and this stuff is NOT phenolic.)

2) Use a brine test! Put 8 ounces of ordinary tap water into a cup or glass, and stir in three tablespoons of ordinary table salt. In this brine, both amber and copal will immediately float to the top. Phenolic plastics will sink like rocks!

Again, at my Amber Group, there is considerable information about these issues available—more detailed than I have time to compose here, now.

Good luck. Jamey



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NIce score, Steve!
Re: Strand just received. -- claudian Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: joyce Post Reply
07/05/2006, 20:14:52

The surface crazing is very cool.



Modified by joyce at Wed, Jul 05, 2006, 20:15:37

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