Color Types for Amber and Copal
A brief description of the types for Amber and copal used at Agl Thai Laboratory Gemology.
Amber is fossilized tree resin, the names for amber, Latin electrum and Ancient Greek (ēlektron), are connected to a term (ēlektōr) meaning "beaming Sun".
Amber occurs in a range of different colors. As well as the usual yellow-orange-brown that is associated with the color"amber",amber itself can range from a whitish color through a pale lemon yellow, to brown and almost black. Other uncommon colors include red amber (sometimes known as "cherry amber"), green amber, and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after.
Figure 1. These photos show four types of heated Baltic amber found in the market. Clockwise from top left: a 21.34 g golden amber, a 42.80 g red amber, a 23.21 g
To simulate the heat-treated varieties available in the Chinese market, the authors chose raw Baltic amber specimens from Kaliningrad, Russia, and performed a series of heating experiments at an anonymous processing facility. We succeeded in producing a full range of heated amber varieties, including golden, red, “flower,” and “beeswax” (figure 1). These experiments yielded useful information about procedures, conditions, and influencing factors for heat treatment. The gemological parameters and inclusion characteristics may provide valuable references for the identification of heat-treated amber.