Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
NZ_Fossil_Collecta

Amber Or Copal?

Recommended Posts

NZ_Fossil_Collecta

i bought a piece of amber from a shop for $7 (NZ) and it was in a little tray with other pieces all called 'amber' and not specifically listed as having bugs in them. i tried the fingernail test and on one side it scratched a really tiny bit and on the other side barely at all. i think it was baltic becuase it was sold alongside gems. it has lots of insects inside and is irregular both outside and inside. is a little misty on one side, has an ant, some kind of fly larva, maybe a couple of midges, another fly. it was with other pieces with no inclusions. is it copal or amber?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
snolly50

Place a small drop of acetone on the polished surface, let evaporate. If the surface has now become sticky, it is copal or some other resin. True amber is impervious to acetone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rodney

This is a magnified picture of some type of inclusion in baltic amber, most chemicals I have don`t stand a chance to cut it.

Rodney,,

post-4121-0-81435500-1388028524_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
NZ_Fossil_Collecta

unfotunately, it is copal. i will post some photos so you guys may be able to figure out its age?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Taogan

The number of insects would indicate copal and the majority is said to come from Madagascar. No accurate way of telling age of copal or amber unless you know where it really comes from.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
painshill

Copal deposits are common in Colombia, Brazil, Kenya, Madagascar, Dominican Republic, French Guyana and - from Agathis or Kauri pine - in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji. Copal from these deposits is typically under 65,000 years old and usually much younger (in the hundreds of years). Some is very much more recent (especially for Kenya and Madagascar). Trade “rock & gem fair” samples of insectiferous Colombian material have been radiocarbon dated at less than 250 years old, Madagascan at less than 50 years old and Kenyan at 30 to 40 years old.

Although the majority of the inclusion-rich material sold at rock & gem fairs is Madagascan or Colombian, given that you bought yours in New Zealand, it may well be Australasian Kauri material. If it were - although that means it could in theory be tens of thousands of years old, there are still Kauri trees producing resin in Australia today. Even if it isn’t ever so rich in insects, it’s not too difficult to make your own inclusion-rich material from modern resin and then autoclave it to harden it up. There’s a lot of it about… and some companies in Poland have also been importing suspicious quantities of copal from South America in recent years for this kind of autoclave treatment (and passing it off as Baltic amber). Although it's harder after autoclaving, it still fails the acetone test.

Edited by painshill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Roadrunner

I find a lot of copal where I live. They shouldn't be advertising copal as amber. Amber has hardened into stone, and can't be scratched with a fingernail. Be sure to at least leave them feedback. :mellow:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×