always wanted a bit of this

Discussion in 'Member News and Views' started by novicetimekeeper, Aug 17, 2019.

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  1. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

    Jul 26, 2015
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    A hazard of looking at clock auctions all the time is that you buy things.

    I just bought this. I always wanted a bit with an insect. I don't know if this is real but it looks promising!

    677e6394-8397-44af-9ec5-aaa5011ba03c.jpg
     
    Rick Hufnagel, musicguy and PatH like this.
  2. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    Wonderful piece! Is it amber?
     
  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Yes it is amber, I know it can be faked but I'm not sure if it is faked with inclusions like this. It seems to have the odd bubble, a bit of vegetation and a fly. Those are encouraging I think. Completely out of my area, just saw it when looking for clocks.
     
  4. MartyR

    MartyR Moderator
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    I'm a big amber fan :) .... and I do believe you have a mosquito in there! I would be amazed if that isn't amber - I agree with you that I also think they don't fake inclusions, because they must be VERY difficult to do in plastic :rolleyes:

    SeveraI years ago, I was buying a pocket watch from a dealer friend of mine when my eye fell upon a bracelet lying on his desk. I asked him what he wanted for it, and he said that he had just found that in a job lot he bought at auction, and I could have it for £15. Wy wife loves it and still wears it.

    The second bead down from the clasp on the left has a tiny insect in it which you can't see in the photo.



    20 1 Amber bracelet.jpg
     
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  5. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I think you can just see it! That seems like a very good deal, a nice clear honey amber bracelet of matching cabochons.

    I've always been fascinated by the idea of insects trapped in amber since I was a child, never actually seen one.

    Judging by the size of the piece relative to the insect I think I have a reasonable deal if it is real and I feel it is.

    I'll take more pics when I get it. I'm really looking forward to it.
     
  6. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    Amber trapped insects are pretty common. It doesn't mean necessarily that they are old. Yours looks pretty good, but shouldn't be extremely costly.
     
  7. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Is it not a fossil then? It was £20 on the hammer.
     
  8. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    Nice find!

    "Fossils are formed in a number of different ways, but most are formed when a plant
    or animal dies in a watery environment and is buried in mud and silt. ... Fossils can
    form in unusual ways. Small bugs or insects can become trapped in tree sap.
    Eventually the sap hardens and forms the semiprecious material called amber, Amber is
    fossilized tree resin, THE OLDEST AMBER IS 320 MILLION YEARS OLD.
    The oldest animals found trapped in amber date from the Triassic, around 90 million
    years later. Despite being 230 million years old, these mites preserved in the amber
    are strikingly similar to today's gall mites." from wikipedia


    Rob
     
  9. shutterbug

    shutterbug Moderator
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    I guess it would have to be examined by a pro to determine if it's actually amber. It probably is, though. I have several smaller pieces with trapped insects.
     
  10. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I've been reading up about various tests. Density is one, though it has a metal mount so that won't help with that. There are a couple of destructive tests which are not great, and a triboelectric one but I don't see how that differentiates it from another insulator. (Electron is from the Greek for Amber) The biggest risk seems to be that it is copal which is still tree resin but before it is fossilised.
     
  11. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    The density test seems to be the safest one to the amber.

    I did watch this video.....





    Rob
     
  12. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    That would be an enormous piece of amber and I think I could pick that up as a fake fairly quickly.

    The density tests people suggest involve floating/sinking in salt water. The metal mount doesn't make the salt a great idea, I can probably get a pretty close idea by weight it at work and doing the displacement in water. I'll have to look at the mount when it comes and see if I can get a good estimate with that there.
     
  13. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Well it arrived today and I'm going with real. Feels warm to the touch, holds a charge easily, has small bubbles, faults and other inclusions.

    Just can't see this being a fake and I don't think it is copal either.

    IMG_3612.JPG IMG_3613.JPG IMG_3614.JPG IMG_3615.JPG IMG_3616.JPG IMG_3617.JPG IMG_3618.JPG IMG_3619.JPG
     
  14. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    Did you try the UV test? It seems to be the least destructive:

    UV Test – If you place the gem in question under a UV light, you will instantly be able to tell what you have. If the stone has no color change at all under the light, you have copal. If the stone changes to a pale shade of blue under the UV light, you have amber.

    Uhralt
     
  15. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I tried the UV, it went a greenish colour. Did not fluoresce, which apparently happens with blue amber. Do they say what wavelength of UV?
     
  16. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    It's the same colour you get with some wood finishes, I assume it is the resin.
     
  17. FDelGreco

    FDelGreco Registered User
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    Your next test for authenticity is to extract DNA from the bug and inject it into a frog to see if you can hatch a dinosaur (a.k.a. Jurassic Park) <grin>

    Frank
     
  18. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Sadly the fossilisation process damages the DNA to the point that isn't going to work. I can't decide what sort of insect that is, I can only make out the head and thorax, can't work out the abdomen. Looks more like a sort of fly to me.

    I'll take it to work but it will be of more interest in Physics for its electrostatic properties than in biology for its DNA I think. (And I'm not letting them cut it open!)
     
  19. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Amber, especially with fossilized inclusions, typically insects, are sought after and so are quite prone to being faked. One article I found spoke of the market being flooded with fakes. The fakes include the use plastics, glass, copal, using a hot needle to insert insects and apparently using bits of natural amber. On line, one can find much about that and potential methods of verification.

    Here's one link of many potentials:

    Meet The Experts - The Birmingham Assay Office - Assay Office

    Enjoy it for what it is! Apparently absolute verification requires some destruction of a part of the sample. Is it really worth it?

    Amber was used to decorate an entire room in the Catherine Palace near St. Petersburg. See this:

    The History and Reconstruction of the Amber Room | Gems & Gemology

    The wall panels of the room were looted and carted off by German troops during WW II as they did with a lot of art work. It's whereabouts remains one of the great missing art mysteries (along with that surrounding paintings, including a Rembrandt masterpiece, still missing from the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum here in Boston). It was recreated by the Soviets. It took about 1/4 of a century to reproduce. The above link shows one of the few pix of the original room.

    RM
     
  20. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I've done a few of those tests, it has no taste, it readily holds a charge, and one of the first things you notice when you pic it up is how warm it is to the touch. I have access to the chemicals at work and will try that in September when back at work. It has a density far lower than glass, the mount it very small so I can easily work out the density when at work. The UV effect was a yellowy green, but that's just my little LED UV torch. I have high power UV lamps at work that are a shorter wavelength.
     
  21. bangster

    bangster Moderator
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    Explain fossilized, plis. What happens to the resin to make it be fossilized instead of just very old?

    By the way, that's a very cool piece.
     
  22. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    Thanks, I'm very pleased with it.

    I found these links

    What is amber?

    Amber

    How amber captures the history of life | Cosmos

    So as far as I can see we start with the resin, and it as resin that any inclusions arrive. The resin initially polymerises to copal. Under a combination of temperature and pressure the copal loses its volatiles and changes to a more stable form which is amber. This process takes millions of years.
     
  23. Uhralt

    Uhralt Registered User
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    No, they didn't. But they said that with copal there is no color change at all. Fluorescence is not mentioned, so maybe that is special to the blue amber.

    Uhralt
     
  24. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User

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    I read that amber can show yellow or blue, I think my greenish tinge is a place in between so I think that's ok. I will try it with a shorter wavelength when I get to work. I only have LEDs here, at work I have a mercury discharge lamp (without the white phosphor coating so I get mostly UV and a bit of visible/IR from the hot cathode)
     

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