Baltic Amber Teething Necklace
Baltic amber is not a “stone” but a natural resin. As it warms with the body’s natural temperature, Baltic amber jewelry releases healing oils containing succinic acid which are absorbed into the skin and bloodstream.
Unlike the name may possibly make you think – Amber teething jewellery is not meant to be chewed, but worn next to the skin. As it warms with the body’s natural temperature, Baltic amber jewelry releases healing oils containing succinic acid which are absorbed into the skin and bloodstream. It is this release of succinic acid that provides the benifs we are after. With that said Amber is a totally natural product and would cause no harm to your child if they did chew on it. In the worst case if one bead was swallowed again this should cause no harm. This is one reason all our necklaces are double stranded and knotted between each bead for safety.
Why Baltic Amber
Baltic Amber has some of the highest concentrations of succinic acid found in nature, and this is what makes it so special. Succinic acid is a natural component of plant and animal tissues, and its presence in the human body is beneficial in many ways.
Commonly known as "teething jewelry" in Europe, Baltic amber has been a natural remedy for pain relief for hundreds of years.
Amber is also known to reduce inflammation of the throat, ear and stomach and to fight irritation, infections and respiratory disease as it dramatically improves the body’s immunity.
Natural Baltic amber jewelry is a completely non-invasive remedy for side effects associated with teething, such as lack of appetite, redness in the cheeks, swollen gums, diaper rashes, upset tummies, earache, fevers and colds. Baltic amber is also a natural analgesic that will calm your child and is recognized by allopathic medicine specialists as antispasmodic and anti-fever. Many adults report improvement of arthritis discomfort and carpal tunnel pain in their hands when wearing amber on the wrists. You can think of it as a natural Ibuprofen.
Baltic Amber is fossil resin, which is appreciated for its color, clarity and beauty. Although not mineralized, it is generally classified as a gemstone.
A common misconception is that Amber is made of tree sap, (verses the correct answer, resin). Sap is the fluid that circulates through a plant's vascular system, while resin is the semi-solid amorphous organic substance secreted in pockets and canals through epithelial cells of the tree.
Because it used to be soft and sticky, tree resin amber often contains insects and even small vertebrates, known in the jewelry world as ‘Inclusions’. Semi-fossilized resin or ‘sub-fossil’ amber is known as Copal (see more on Copal below).
Amber occurs in a range of different colors. As well as the usual yellowy-orange that is associated with the color "amber", amber itself can range from cloudy white, yellowish clear, to almost black. There is also red amber (sometimes known as "cherry amber"), green amber, pink amber and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after.
Baltic amber is distinguished from other amber from all around the world by the presence within it of high levels of succinic acid, hence Baltic amber is otherwise known as succinite.
Recent scientific research indicates that succinic acid has a very positive influence on the human body. It strengthens the entire body, improves immunity, energy-related processes and the balance of acids.
Succinic acid was analyzed (1886) by the pioneer of modern bacteriology, Nobel-prize winner Robert Koch, who confirmed its positive influence, discovering that there is no risk of the accumulation of surplus amounts of succinic acid in the human organism, even after the introduction of considerable amounts into the body.
In present-day times many effective medicines containing succinic acid have been manufactured and patented, most especially in the USA and Russia. Of particular value are pharmaceuticals that help prevent the aging of human cells. Of which, many use Succinic acid as an inhibitor as well as an antioxidant.
What Can Baltic Amber Help With?
-Pain Relief: Baltic amber contains analgesic properties and helps take the edge off of many types of discomfort associated with dental issues, headaches, joint pain, etc. It is a well known European method to help decrease the pain associated with teething.
-Strengthening the Body's Immune System: In many different and subtle ways, succinic acid helps boost the body's own natural healing ability and immune system.
-Restoring Energy: The human body naturally produces succinic acid. The salt of succinic acid (succinate) is one of the most active substances in the processes of cellular respiration and intercellular energy creation. Succinic acid restores oxygen and energy supply to depleted cells and helps the body return to a normal, functioning state.
-Maintaining Wellness: When the human body reacts to stress, the body’s cells begin to use oxygen more quickly. Oxygen plays a central role in the intercellular creation of energy, and a lack of oxygen can result in feeling lethargic.
How to Care for your Amber Jewelry
Because amber is soft and can be brittle, it’s important to be careful that it not come in contact with chemicals. Your amber should not be stored with other jewelry where it can rub against other pieces, especially metals. It is recommended that you place your amber in a soft pouch (flannel and velvet are ideal for this purpose) with a drawstring for closing.
Be sure to keep perfume or hairspray and similar chemicals away from your amber and never place your jewelry in commercial cleaning solutions. Remove your amber jewelry when bathing to keep shampoos and other products from coating the amber. Also remove when applying sunscreen.
To clean your amber, use a soft flannel cloth or an unused toothbrush dampened with clean lukewarm water. Dry in the sun.
Real or Fake?
In the middle of the nineteenth century scientists discovered ways to synthesize natural precious substances, including Baltic amber. Today the falsification of amber (especially amber with inclusions) is widespread. Obviously none of these fakes will provide the health benefits that our customers are seeking, so we only carry real Baltic amber imported directly from the Baltic region.
Here’s a rundown of the usual list of materials used for amber imitations, and how you can spot them! Following this list is a list of tests that you can perform at home to verify if your amber is real or fake.
MATERIALS USED FOR AMBER IMITATIONS:
Copal, which was mentioned above, is often sold as Baltic amber. Perhaps with enough time would have become true amber, but Copal isn’t truly fossilized. Copal is ‘young tree resin’ (1 thousand to 1 million years old) whereas true amber would be closer to 40 million years old. Natural inclusions are possible in Copal, but usually they are falsified. Insects are inserted in them that are too big and too good-looking. Copal melts at a rather low temperature (lower than 150 C ), and tends to melt rather than burn. However it still will diffuses the "sweet" smell of burning resins, just like real amber.
Glass is pretty easy to distinguish, it’s more solid, cold to the touch, etc. It can’t be scratched by metal and fireproof, whereas real amber can be scratched and will burn if exposed to flame.
This material is commonly used to product artificial amber beads. These amber beads tend to have very exact shapes (i.e. oval, faceted), the color is very similar to real amber (dark red, cloudy yellow). However after heating it doesn’t diffuse the smell of pine-tree resins, which is the key characteristic of Baltic amber.
Celluloid (cellulose nitrate) is usually yellow and cloudy. Optically it is difficult to distinguish it from amber. Celluloid is more solid and not so combustible. After heating, it diffuses the smell of burnt plastic.
This is a plastic made from milk. The beads have a cloudy, turbid yellow color. It is a little bit heavier than amber. After heating, it diffuses the smell of burnt plastic.
Modern plastic (polyester, polystyrene) are used to produce artificial amber and inclusions that look very real. However like in Copal, falsified inclusions are too big (more than 10 mm) and clearly seen, inserted in the very center of the plastic. After heating, it diffuses the smell of burnt plastic.
When small remnants of amber are fused together using high pressure or major heat source, the result is called “pressed” amber. While pressed amber is cheap and relatively available, it will not perform the same way original, natural amber does. Because the original pieces of amber have been compressed, the singular power of each piece is compromised. It is inexpensive to buy but if you’re interested in the the healing aspects of Baltic amber, you will not experience them with the pressed product. Pressed Amber will look more like plastic, perfectly round, no air bubbles or imperfections. However it will burn and smell like real amber, so you have to rely largely on a visual inspection to tell pressed amber from the naturally formed beads.
Tests to Ascertain Real Amber
The first thing you’ll want to look out for is plastic, pressed, and glass amber that is obviously ‘too perfect’. Amber beads can be polished to near-perfect rounds, but if all of the beads on your string are totally picture-perfect, something is probably wrong. Real amber has air bubbles, and if clear enough to let light pass, you’ll see imperfections within the bead.
The Salt Water Test
Aside from looking at your amber, the next least damaging test you can perform is to mix up some salt water (dissolve one part sale in two parts water) and throw the necklace in. Real Baltic amber floats, fakes don’t.
The Smell Test
If you’ve read through the above lists of imitations it should be obvious by now that the smell test is the most definitive way to tell real amber from the fake stuff. Natural Baltic amber has that specific pine resin smell which apparently is difficult to obtain when producing falsifications.
To perform the smell test you have to either burn a bead (hold with tweezers into a candle flame) or, if you don’t want to destroy your jewelry, stick a hot needle into a spot that’s less noticeable. Carefully smell the smoke, if it smells a bit like Christmas, you’re good. If it smells like burnt plastic, that’s bad.
We found the needle test really hard to do (try holding a hot needle with tweezers!) so if you have a loose bead available and need a definitive answer, burning a bead is the best way to go. You’ll note that that real amber will ‘flake’ and burn in stages, whereas plastic will melt. If you keep it in the flame long enough the bead may even shatter, so be careful that little eyes are not too close to your ‘science experiment’ (yes testing your amber with your children counts as homeschooling).
In theory it is also possible to heat the amber by rubbing it between your palms (to produce the pine resin smell) but difficult if the amber is polished, which usually it is.
The Acetone Test
This test checks of the solubility of the amber in acetone, you can use alcohol (isopropanol or ethanol) or even nail polish remover. Put a drop on the amber and let it evaporate some. Copal will dissolve so it’ll be sticky and fingerprints can be made in the surface. Another way is to dip the string of beads into some nail polish remover and in some cases you’ll see the color run right off of imitations. This test won’t hurt your amber if it’s real.
The Scratch Test
Real Baltic amber has a hardness of 5 - 6 on the Moh’s scale so it should be easily scratched. As mentioned above, glass won’t scratch. This WILL hurt your amber (if it’s real) so attempt to scratch in a unnoticeable area.
The Polarized Light Test
Place the amber between two sheets of polarized glass, then rotate one of the pieces. You should be able to see a display of rainbow colors in either amber or copal. Plastic will appear unchanged.
The Ultraviolet Light Test
Real Baltic amber will fluoresce under UV light while copal and plastics won’t. Bring your amber to your next tanning session!
The Static Test
Rub your amber vigorously with a soft cloth. Real amber will develop a static charge allowing it to pick up small bits of paper, whereas copal won’t.
IR-spectroscopy is the most effective scientific method for identifying fossil resins. Baltic amber can be characterized by IR-spectrum segment called "Baltic amber shoulder". If you have a spectroscopy machine at home, you’re all set.