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Monica

Baltic amber with little "dent"

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Monica

Hi there!

 

A few months ago I received a piece of Baltic amber with an insect inclusion.  When I brought it in to school to show my students, it fell and got a little "dent" in it.  The dent is nowhere near the insect inclusion, but I was wondering if there were any easy way for someone like me to safely buff that spot so the entire piece can look pristine again - what do you think?

 

Thanks in advance for your advice!

 

Monica

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goatinformationist

Or you can use a heat gun to warm it enough to massage out the dent, maybe.  Best of luck.

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ynot

Sand with a wet sandpaper. Start with 400 or 600 grit and go finer from there. Finish polish with carnauba wax.

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caldigger

You dented my bug?!!!

 

I have a rough piece with a spider in it. Maybe I'll give it a go at doing a polish and see if I can keep from mucking it up.

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Monica
7 hours ago, caldigger said:

You dented my bug?!!!

 

I have a rough piece with a spider in it. Maybe I'll give it a go at doing a polish and see if I can keep from mucking it up.

 

I did indeed :(

(although, technically, the bug is safe - the dent is about halfway down the piece and the bug is at the very top - but I still don't like seeing the dent there (darned students!))

 

So, do you think I should try what Tony has suggested, or just leave it as-is and wait to see if you end up successfully polishing yours before I attempt to do mine? ;)

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caldigger

I think it may be quite a while before I get into that project. I have other things needing to prep beforehand.

Any chance on a picture of this "dent" to give viewers an idea of what needs to be done?

 

P.S. I did a talk to a classroom of 2nd graders with about 100 different fossils for them to "just look at!" ( in my day, that meant hands behind the back). I ended up almost having a panic attack when in their eyes looking at something meant picking it up and tossing it back on the table.

Nothing was severely damaged, but there were more than a few very delicate items being grabbed and tossed about.

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Monica
3 hours ago, caldigger said:

I think it may be quite a while before I get into that project. I have other things needing to prep beforehand.

Any chance on a picture of this "dent" to give viewers an idea of what needs to be done?

 

P.S. I did a talk to a classroom of 2nd graders with about 100 different fossils for them to "just look at!" ( in my day, that meant hands behind the back). I ended up almost having a panic attack when in their eyes looking at something meant picking it up and tossing it back on the table.

Nothing was severely damaged, but there were more than a few very delicate items being grabbed and tossed about.

 

Hey Doren!

 

Here are a couple of pictures:

 

The side with the main dent (circled in yellow);

DSCN3277.thumb.JPG.4c5104333c81d250865d329df3f47a79.JPG

 

The other side - I've noticed a couple of more shallow dents (circled in yellow) along the same plane as the main dent.  The imperfection bordered in green was there to begin with (I compared these pictures to the pictures I took when I first received the specimen) - it's not a dent.  The red arrow is pointing to the insect inclusion.

DSCN3279.thumb.JPG.9bc5f4d3aa6dc7b334e876568b2f5ed9.JPG

 

Looking at the specimen more closely, I'm leaning towards not doing anything to it - I think it looks okay, even with the "dents" because they are nowhere near the insect inclusion.  What do you think?  What would you do?

 

Thanks for your advice!

 

Monica

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Walt
3 minutes ago, Monica said:

Looking at the specimen more closely, I'm leaning towards not doing anything to it - I think it looks okay, even with the "dents" because they are nowhere near the insect inclusion.  What do you think?  What would you do?

My 2 cents says to not do anything to it.  Just another bump in its long journey.  (and a nice story for Viola's grandkids :) )

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caldigger

Not sure I would even call that a dent.

The piece was probably not completely sanded down to a smooth surface when they polished it, thus leaving a few lower areas in the original piece.

I wouldn't touch it either.

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Bobby Rico

I also don’t think that this affects the look of this piece very much at all. I would leave too, Bobby 

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ynot

I would not do anything to it. It looks like the  "dent" is on a crack and sanding on it may cause seperation, You could end up with 2 big pieces and some small pieces.

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Monica

Thanks for all of you opinions and advice - I think I'm just going to leave it as-is and keep it safe from further incidents by housing it in a floating display case (I ordered some from China a while back and they just arrived last week).

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digit

I wonder if wiping it down with some mineral oil might minimize the visibility of that ding? If the oil was able to penetrate some of the flaky cracks it might infill and reduce the light scattering masking the nick. As a disclaimer, I've never tried this with amber and I don't even own any--just thinking about materials and how oil might be used to mitigate this tiny wart.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Walt

Ynot would probably know what can be used, if you ever decide it needs to be stabilized.  Repairing cracks in Amber jewelry is pretty common.  And if he doesn't, just google "repairing cracks in amber jewelry"

Also, we used to put our Opal in water so it wouldn't dry out and become brittle.  Don't know if that would apply/help with amber or not.

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ynot
15 minutes ago, Walt said:

Ynot would probably know what can be used, if you ever decide it needs to be stabilized.  Repairing cracks in Amber jewelry is pretty common.  And if he doesn't, just google "repairing cracks in amber jewelry"

Also, we used to put our Opal in water so it wouldn't dry out and become brittle.  Don't know if that would apply/help with amber or not.

:shrug:Never tried to stabilize amber cracks.

 

Most opal will craze (crack) when it dries because of the amount of water in the makeup. That is why opal is often stored in water or oil. This does not apply to amber.

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Sagebrush Steve
19 hours ago, ynot said:

:shrug:Never tried to stabilize amber cracks.

 

Most opal will craze (crack) when it dries because of the amount of water in the makeup. That is why opal is often stored in water or oil. This does not apply to amber.

Yes, when I was in college my mother owned a custom jewelry store, and she would often have me cut and polish stones.  Opal was always the most difficult stone to work with because if you let it get too hot when you were polishing it the internal moisture would evaporate and much of the color would go away.  I ruined more than one stone that way.  Glad I don’t do that kind of work any more.

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Walt
11 minutes ago, Sagebrush Steve said:

Yes, when I was in college my mother owned a custom jewelry store, and she would often have me cut and polish stones.  Opal was always the most difficult stone to work with because if you let it get too hot when you were polishing it the internal moisture would evaporate and much of the color would go away.  I ruined more than one stone that way.  Glad I don’t do that kind of work any more.

I have some opalized twigs and such from Virgin Valley, NV....we have to keep them in water. :)  Wasn't sure about Amber, but now I know!

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