If you have an amber ring, you already appreciate how beautiful amber is. It glows and seems to radiate golden light from within. Amber looks great on just about everyone. So what is it about amber that you may not know?
Because it is mined from the ground, amber sometimes is mistaken for a mineral, but it is actually a fossil. It is formed when tree resins (commonly called sap) flow from a tree. The resin collects on the ground and becomes hard, and over time covered with sediment and composted material. Over millions of years, the resin is heated and compressed by the weight of the sediment. It is interesting to note that all amber has inclusions, sometimes in the form of entire insects or animals that were trapped in the resin when it was still soft and sticky. These inclusions, especially if they are well preserved and “whole”, make the amber more desirable and quite valuable.
Different Colors of Amber Rings
Amber does not necessarily have to be golden in color. In fact, the colors can range from white-ish to very dark, almost black. The different colors result from different elements mixing with the resin before it hardened. Blue amber, for example, had a high concentration of pyrite in it. These colors are very rare.
The most desirable amber is transparent with the inclusions very visible, but some amber called bony amber is cloudy, because of trapped air bubbles. Baltic amber jewelry is the most popular type of amber jewelry. It may be natural, (no treatments except cutting, polishing and grinding) modified (has had heat or pressure treatments applied to it to change the color and/or transparency of it), reconstructed (separate pieces pressed together under pressure) or bonded (several pieces of any of the other three types of Baltic amber bonded with small amounts of adhesive).
Amber rings will require some special care, especially when it comes to gentle handling. Amber gemstones are soft, rating only a 2 on the Mohs scale. This means they will scratch easily and should not receive any hard blows, or be stored carelessly. Always store your amber ring separately from other jewelry, so the stone does not get scratched. Clean the stone with a bit of olive oil and a soft cloth, and clean the setting with a jewelry polishing cloth. Don’t put your amber ring, amber beads or amber earrings in commercial cleaners, or soak them in the water! Just like with other jewelry such as cubic zirconia rings and amethyst rings always use hairspray, perfume, and lotions before putting on your amber ring, so it doesn’t get coated with those products.
Amber is a beautiful and highly prized gemstone, and an amber ring will look beautiful on just about everyone. A little gentle care is all it takes to keep it looking spectacular! Enjoy your amber ring!
Amber Ring Gift Ideas
The jewelry includes silver amber earrings, sterling silver amber rings and designer bracelets with amber settings. Giving amber rings as a gift is in general very different than giving a piece of diamond or ruby. This is due to the historical uniqueness of each amber piece. So given that selecting an amber ring is no easy task lets look at some guidelines that may help readers select an appropriate piece of amber as a gift for their loved ones:
- Tip 1: Decide on a color scheme for the gift. That could be green-blue or honey-orange for example. This is important because amber comes in a variety of colors.
- Tip 2: Select the most luminous and translucent rings your money can buy. The best amber is 100% transparent
- Tip 3: Choose gold amber rings if you know that your friends use gold as their dominant metal. The same is applied to silver. This is a very common mistake when selecting amber jewelry. Most ladies have a dominant metal type. Those who prefer gold will not choose silver.
- Tip 4: Its good to forget about your personal taste for a moment and think of your receiver. You should ask yourself if your friend likes antique amber rings or prefers modern designs for instance? Is it a women’s or men’s amber ring? Does your friend like heavy tribal jewelry. You need to find out the answers to all those questions without having to ask. Think back to your previous times together.
Click here to see a selection of amber ring settings and their prices
How to Clean and Care for Your Amber Rings
Keep in mind that amber rings can and will lose their color and transparency if not properly cleaned and taken care of. Keeping those rings in a box is a good start however extra steps are necessary to ensure the color doesn’t fade. Follow the steps below:
- When you’re not wearing your rings wrap them in cloth followed by cellophane or plastic wrap.
- Don’t wear your rings day and night.
- Don’t shower, exercise or cook while you have your rings on.
- Don’t leave your amber rings exposed to sunlight as that can change their color.
- Avoid perfume, hairspray or body lotion from making contact with the ring surface.
- Wrap the amber with a warm piece of cloth after wearing it.
- If necessary wash the amber with soap at warm temperature then use a cloth for drying it.
- Polish spasmodically to bring out the luster and shine.
These tips can hopefully allow your ring to last as much as possible with minimal deterioration.
Now let’s say that you have already finalized the amber gift that you wish to purchase for your mother or father. The next question is where would I go to buy this piece? Most jewelry shops carry an assorted selection of amber jewelry. The problem is that these places have a broad spectrum and so the jewelry is generic in nature. This is not the sort of place you would consider for a precious gift. In his case, independent artists and artisans are your best bet. You can find those specialists online nowadays and they ship internationally as well. The choice is much wider than a local or even national amber market.
Overall amber rings are a powerful set of jewelry. They are very fragile and extra care must be taken to ensure that they maintain their color and glow. Choose the best amber you can find even if you have to travel to the Baltic region to get it. It’s worth every one of your dollars.
There are very few people, especially amongst the ladies, who are not familiar with some kind of amber and amber rings. But there are a lot of mistaken notions about where it comes from.
Determining the Quality of Amber Rings
Amber is a beautiful gemstone, favored among many for its unique color and the fact that it often has fascinating inclusions in the stone itself. Amber rings, as such are also highly sought after, especially those made from Baltic Amber, which is known to be the finest amber. Other popular amber includes Dominican Amber, Tibetan Amber, and Arabian Amber. Amber itself is not a true gemstone, in that it is not mined from the ground but is rather made from fossilized tree resin. This is why you will often fine inclusions of small insects or other items in the larger amber stones.
When determining the value of an amber ring several things are taken into consideration, including the color of the amber, the clarity, the cut and polish and the size of the stone. Opaque amber is not very expensive, the more clarity the amber has the better the quality of the stone. During the manufacturing of these rings, several things may happen to lessen the quality of the ring or to alternatively give the appearance that the stone is either older or of better quality than it actually is. For example, the older the amber the more expensive it usually is but unfortunately, it is not that easy to determine the true age of amber unless there are inclusions in it. If the fossil itself is very old then the age of the amber can be easily determined. Many manufacturers will heat the amber in order to make it appear older than it is, however when heating the amber tends to lose its original color thus it is fairly easy to spot one that has been treated in this manner.
You also need to be aware that there are many rings sold that are made with artificial or simulated amber, rather than with the real gemstone. These simulated stones are more often made from amberoid which is composed of small pieces of amber that have been melted together by heat or pressure, copal resin which is actually made from the sap of a tree, kauri gum made from resin from a New Zealand tree, dammar resin, celluloid and plastic.
Opaque pieces of amber are not as expensive as those that are more translucent. Thus when looking for a good quality amber ring it is important to examine the stone carefully, under light if possible, to determine its degree of opaqueness. If you do not have a light available to examine it a simple way to check out the quality is to hold it up to the sunlight as this should help you to determine how translucent the stone is.
Amber can be found in a range of different colors. The most common, and the one usually referred to as amber is the usual yellowish brown colored stone. However, you can also find red or cherry amber, green amber and the extremely rare blue amber. As these colors are more uncommon, green amber rings or those made with red or blue amber are usually quite a bit more expensive than those made with the more common amber stone. As with regular brown amber, the quality of the stone is determined by its clarity, thus the stone in a green amber ring should also be translucent, not opaque.
Rings set with an amber gem are usually set in Sterling Silver. Again, the actual quality of the silver or metal used to design the ring will also play a part in determining the overall quality of the ring. Rings made from metals other than silver, aside from gold, should not be as costly as those set in genuine silver. The reason silver is chosen among other metals is that the silver brings out the beauty and the color of the amber stone much more than if it were set in gold, for example. It also helps to keep the overall price of the silver amber ring down, more in keeping with the actual value of the gemstone itself. It is possible to purchase a gold amber ring, however, these usually look more stunning if they are set with a blue or green stone, rather than the regular amber colored gem. Usually, the price of the gold ring is determined more by the gold than by the stone set in the ring, unless it is set with the very rare blue amber. Perhaps the most popular and most sought after rings are Baltic amber rings. These are made from superior amber and as such usually cost more than rings made with amber stones from other locations.
It is fairly easy to determine the quality of amber rings, once you know what to look for. In summary, you should judge the quality of the amber by its color, opaqueness, size and whether or not there are any inclusions in the stone itself.
Where Does Amber Come From?
Here’s a brief explanation:
Two of the most important and commercial amber formations are found in northern Europe especially in the region of the Baltic (boasting about 80% of the world’s reserves), the North Sea, parts of Russia, and all the way to the Urals. The next most famous amber comes from the Dominican Republic.
Let’s take a closer look at these two regions and the kinds of amber they offer:
Baltic amber is in the sand, also called blue earth, and many people collect it from the seashore. Dominican amber is in rocks and mountainous sandstone and must be mined through bell pitting, although they also have underwater amber that deep-sea divers must gather. Some Dominican amber is about 15 million years old and therefore rests in sandy clay and beds of gravel. Both Baltic and Dominican amber contain fossils.
There is amber also in Nigeria, Madagascar, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Borneo, Chiapas Mexico, a little in the US, Switzerland, Austria, France, on the east coast of England, the south of Sweden, southern Finland, in Denmark, northern Germany, Latvia, Ukraine, and Poland has also become quite famous for it.
Many jewelers sell skillfully set silver amber rings and necklaces in the huge market in Cracow. (oooh, I love that market in the middle of the town square. It’s great in the summertime.)
But if you’re looking for the most transparent and fluorescent (or glowing) amber you will find it comes from the Dominican, as does the blue type, which is painstakingly retrieved from the mountain mines near Santiago.
*Another little piece of trivia:
Blue and yellow amber emit different aromas when being cut, polished or burned.
Green Amber Jewelry is Black and Green Amber the real thing?
Not really. Black amber is in fact oltu stone (mostly from Turkey) formed from lignite and resin that has fossilized (somewhat like amber but not exactly), which remains soft in the ground yet becomes hard when in contact with air. It is dark in color, black mostly, but may appear grayish-green when exposed to any amount of heat. This “amber” is widely used to make famous green earring and necklaces, and in the east, exquisite prayer beads.
Since there are means to create imitation green amber, here are three little tests for you to know if it’s real oltu/jet stone or not:
- Take a pin, heat it and then press it into the stone. If it goes in it’s not real.
- Scrape the stone a little with a knife. If there’s a brown residue it’s real.
- Blow on the stone. If there’s a trace of mist it’s real.
How to Start Your Collection of Amber Jewelry.
If you’re lucky (like I am) and are married to a Polish man (like I am) and have a mother-in-law (like mine) who for years was the director of an exclusive Baltic amber jewelry dealership, and have been showered with exquisite pieces of silver earrings, rings and necklaces, from yellow to red and even a few pieces of the coveted blue amber, then you won’t need my advice.
If you’re starting from zero, I hope this site will offer you some good advice on where to shop for this beautiful product online, how to select the best settings of high-quality amber and some simple tips on using either silver or gold amber earrings to accent your existing wardrobe.
Come back often to see what’s new in the jewelry that only took 345 million years to make!