Amber is one of the most unique gemstones of all – it’s not exactly a stone but an organic substance that forms over millions of years.
Amber’s beauty and unique characteristics make it highly sought after for jewelry. For those who want a unique engagement ring, amber makes an acceptable option (with some caveats).
Here’s a look at amber jewelry and engagement rings, and the pros and cons of this unique stone.
What is Amber?
Amber stone with inclusions by Amber By Torvela. Check Price Here.
While most other gemstones are made of minerals, amber is made of an organic substance – resin from mainly coniferous trees (e.g. pine trees) that has become fossilized over thousands of years. As tree resin tends to attract and trap insects and plant matter, amber gemstones have unique and beautiful inclusions that make them very attractive.
Amber is quite a special gemstone, with several unique traits:
- Electrostatic properties – If you rub amber for about 30-50 seconds, it’ll attract objects like hair. This is an indication of its authenticity.
- Can be burnt – Amber is extremely soft and can be burnt. When burnt, it will smoke and give off a smell of pine.
- Smell – Amber always gives off a smell of pine.
- Softness – Amber is very soft and malleable, so much so that if you dig your fingernail into amber it should leave a mark.
- Healing properties – Amber is believed to have healing properties and has always been used as a painkiller, although this view isn’t backed by science. Amber bracelets are used even today to stop teething pains in babies.
- Ancient – Amber has been used for jewelry since ancient times and can be traced back to over 13,000 years back.
- Density – Amber is so light it floats on salty water. Even large amber stones feel very light.
There are many types of amber varieties, that come in a range of colors. Amber is typically categorized according to where it comes from.
Baltic amber ring by Fifth Heaven. See it here.
The most popular and abundant variety is Baltic amber which comes from countries around Baltic Sea. This variety is considered the best and although the honey colored hue is the most popular, Baltic amber comes in shades of yellow to white.
Dominican amber ring by Gemstoc. See it here.
Dominican amber is a valuable variety of amber that comes from the Dominican Republic. It comes in many colors, including amber. It can even be found in blue shades, although this is very rare and quite valuable.
Amber Engagement Rings
Amber is much too soft to work as an engagement ring gemstone and experts recommend avoiding amber in jewelry for everyday use. It only ranks at 2 to 2.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it extremely soft and easily damaged.
However, if set carefully in a ring setting and looked after with care, an amber engagement ring can last a long time.
Amber in yellow gold by Elysee Jewellers. See it here.
Faceted amber in halo setting by Danelian Jewelry. See it here.
If you don’t plan on wearing your amber ring every day, then it can make for an acceptable choice. It’s perfectly fine for occasional wear. Also, some people who use their hands a lot for work prefer to wear their rings on a chain around their neck. In this case, amber would be suit fine.
Amber Engagement Ring Meaning
For some people, the meaning of a gemstone is very important when choosing one for their engagement ring. Amber, as a gemstone with a long history, is associated with a lot of meaning and symbolism.
It’s believed to be a stone that dispels negative energy and welcomes positivity and good feelings. It’s seen as a positive stone that brings healing to people with unresolved issues, stress and negative thoughts.
For a couple about to embark on a new journey, an amber engagement ring can be a symbol of positivity and unity, that takes away negative feelings and enhances joy and happiness. The ancient Greeks believed amber was crystalized sunshine. How romantic is this view for an engagement ring stone?
Picking the Perfect Piece of Amber
When choosing your amber gemstone, the factors to consider are type of inclusions, color and cut.
The beauty of amber lies in its many imperfections and unique inclusions. Where in other gemstones inclusions are generally undesirable, here inclusions give the amber its individuality. Amber with unique inclusions tend to be more expensive.
Amber comes in a wide range of colors, with yellow being the most popular, accounting for over 70%. Green amber, featuring green inclusions, is rare and valuable and makes for beautiful jewelry. Red amber, known as Cherry amber, is also rare and valuable, and comes in a range of reddish hues. Other colors include black and blue. Choose according to your preferences and budget.
In terms of cut, amber is typically cut into smooth cabochon shapes, to emphasize the inclusions and show them off. However, faceted amber also makes for some beautiful jewelry.
Caring for Amber Jewelry
Amber needs to be given gentle care and shouldn’t be exposed to harsh chemicals and abrasive surfaces. It’s not a hard gemstone and it also has a low resistance to chipping and breaking.
Amber is also easily damaged by chemicals and acids, which can affect its surface. Always wear your amber jewelry after applying makeup and lotions, to avoid these chemicals getting on the stone.
In addition to this, if amber is kept in very dry conditions, it can dry out and become brittle, resulting in small hairline fractures within the stone. Also, always store amber separately from other jewelry and items that can scratch it. It’s best to place it in a pouch or a fabric lined box.
Simply use a mild soap and a soft cloth or brush when cleaning amber. Avoid soaking the stone for too long and always wipe it with a lint-free cloth to remove any residue after cleaning. If you’re amber jewelry starts to look dull and lackluster, use some olive oil to polish it and it will regain its shine.
Is Amber Treated?
Green amber pendant by Baltic Beauty 925. See it here.
Most amber is often treated to improve the color and clarity of the stone. Common treatments include boiling amber in certain types of oil to remove bubble-like inclusions within the stone. As the oil seeps into the amber, it fills up these inclusions, making the stone appear clear.
Some sellers change the color of the amber by using various dyes and color treatments to make common yellow amber mimic the color of more expensive blue and red amber. These treatments are fine as long as the customer knows they have been done and doesn’t pay high prices for less valuable amber.