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Bone guy

Surprise amber!

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Bone guy

So yesterday I went with my mom to the mountains to have some quality time and rock hound. One of the shops we visited allowed you to buy a bucket of sand filled with fossils and sift through it. We gave it a go, found some stingray barbs and a few echinoids. My favorite piece was a tiny piece of amber because it was my first amber acquisition. 

 

Well just this this evening I was going through my finds and I noticed a large rock I collected. It appeared black and was very lightweight so I thought it was some kind of charcoal. Then for some reason I decided to shine a light on the piece and the piece started to glow a beautiful orange color. At that moment I knew I had a piece of amber, and it was a piece that is significantly larger than the other one we found. 

 

You can see the piece is rough and it only gives off an 'amber' color when a light is shine through it. I used some 150 grit sandpaper to try polishing the piece but it really didn't help. I guess my question is: how does one polish amber? I'd love to give polishing this piece a go because I think there may be some inclusions. 

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Bone guy
9 hours ago, snolly50 said:

The challenge is; the piece has such an irregular surface, considerable sanding/material removal is required to get a smooth surface to polish. Sandpaper in increasingly fine grits is the way to accomplish this, followed by a polishing compound. One approach would be to "cut a window," shaping/polishing a single surface. This would enable a view of the interior and show off the lovely amber characteristic, but would not alter the entire appearance of the raw stone. Good luck, have fun.

I worked the piece with some 80 and 150 grit sandpaper and it looks much better. I did what you suggested and sanded down one surface to form a window.

 

What kind of polishing compound would be recommended? Id imagine if I used a compound with chemicals it may damage the piece.

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Walt

You may have to go finer still before polishing.

You might want to look at some of the youtube videos on the subject.... in this one, he uses toothpaste for the final polish.

 

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ynot
26 minutes ago, Bone guy said:

80 and 150 grit sandpaper and it looks much better.

Next should be 220 grit then 320, 400, 600, etc.

Use wet sanding, dry will cause excessive heat that can damage amber.

The larger the number on the sandpaper used,  the better polish You will get.

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snolly50
41 minutes ago, Bone guy said:

What kind of polishing compound would be recommended?

I used a product obtained years ago from Geological Enterprises in Oklahoma. It was a big bar of "clay-like" material. If I could put my hands on it, I would send you a chunk; but alas, I have no idea where it is in the snollymess. Geo. Enterprises lists a product "Amber Sheen" in their online sales catalog, but the one I pulled up is old. It may be worth contacting them. The stuff I have/had worked great applied with a small cloth wheel on a Dremel rotary tool.  Good luck, have fun.

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Ptychodus04

When I have worked amber in the past, I wet sanded as @ynot has suggested. After the 600 grit, I switched to a dry piece of denim. I set it flat on a table and worked the amber over it with random strokes and a medium pressure. Take this in short sessions to keep from building up heat and melting the amber. This will result in a nice shine on the piece.

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