Red Baltic amber - a few words about modification

24 June 2019 /  

Juicy red Baltic ambers have not been impressed with their clarity and saturated color for a long time. Some people think of rubies, others like pomegranates - one thing is certain: jewelry with cherry amber looks extremely elegant. But why are they red? You will find the answer later in the article!

The richness of colorful varieties and degrees of transparency of natural succinite make each of the nuggets different and unique - mysterious amber with inclusions, "dappled" contaminated with organic matter, or mosaic with images resembling landscapes enchanted inside.

However, in Poland there is still a myth that amber is not a stone for young people, that jewelry with "Baltic Gold" cannot be fashionable and modern. Fortunately, outstanding Polish amber artists refute this myth with their unique modernist projects. 

In turn, manufacturers - to interest amber in a wider clientele - make nuggets more attractive by changing their color or degree of transparency. Modifications are a response to the needs of the jewelry market. It is worth noting that they do not reduce the value of amber, they only make it more attractive to recipients. Nuggets are visually prettier - clearer, with glitters or in intense colors not seen in nature.

The most popular color versions of amber resulting from the modification are red and cherry. The change in the color of succinite caused by human interference leads to the formation of amber called "dyed". 

The modification allowing obtaining the red color of amber takes place in an autoclave - in an environment of high temperature (up to 250 ° C) and pressure (25-40 atmospheres) and in the company of oxygen and mixed proportions of inert gases (nitrogen, noble gases), which are process inhibitors. The color change occurs due to the conditions in the autoclave on the surface of natural amber. If the modified nugget was previously pressed (reconstructed), then the color change occurs in the entire volume of amber [1].

Amber beauty treatments sometimes change its properties to a small extent (e.g. rubbed off after rubbing or luminescence), however, it is still Baltic amber [2].

The leading producer of red amber jewelry is the Gdańsk company Progres run by Mr. Janusz Pawlik, whose collections are available in Galeria Boruni on ul. Grodzka 60 and in the Amber Museum on ul. St. John 2.

Sources:

  1. Wagner-Wysiecka, E, 2018. Mid-infrared spectroscopy for characterization of Baltic amber (succinite, Spectrochimica Acta
  2. Kosmowska-Ceranowicz, B., 2012. Amber in Poland and in the world. first edition edited by Warsaw: University of Warsaw Publishing House.

Author: Karolina Drąg

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