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Uncovering the Value of Amber: Inclusions Color and Origin

Amber: A Guide to Evaluating Specimens

Amber is a fossilized tree resin that has been highly valued throughout history for its beauty and healing properties. Today, it is a popular gemstone with a wide range of colors and variations that can affect its value.

In this article, we will explore how to evaluate amber specimens as well as their color and value.

Raw Amber Stones Value

One of the most important factors in determining the value of amber is the carat weight. The heavier the carat, the more expensive the stone.

However, other factors can also affect its value, such as inclusions or sea amber.

Inclusions refer to any foreign matter that has become trapped inside the amber, such as insects or plant matter.

These can increase the value of the specimen as they can give insight into the history of the piece. On the other hand, sea amber, which is amber that has been harvested from the ocean, can have imperfections that lower its value.

Workability and processing can also affect the value of amber. If the specimen is easy to work with, it can be carved more easily into intricate shapes, increasing its value.

Color Ranking & Value

The color of amber is also an important factor in determining its value. The most expensive and sought-after colors are black, red, and yellow, which have a higher demand due to their rarity.

Gold and white amber are also highly valued, with the former’s transparency making it especially desirable. The region of origin can also affect the value of the amber.

Baltic amber, for example, is highly prized due to its rich colors and history dating back to the Jurassic period. Ukrainian and Russian amber are also popular, while Dominican and Mexican amber are less expensive due to their lower transparency and less vibrant colors.

Formation & History

Amber is formed from petrified organic matter, typically from deciduous and coniferous trees that lived millions of years ago. Some people may be familiar with the concept of amber from the movie “Jurassic Park,” where ancient mosquitos were preserved in amber.

In addition to insects, other organic matter can also be found in amber, such as plant material or even animal DNA. Due to its age and unique formation, amber can provide a glimpse into ancient forests and ecosystems.

This historical significance can increase its value, particularly if the piece has distinct inclusions or is dated to a specific period. Amber Color & Value

There are many varieties of amber, each with their own unique colors and characteristics.

Baltic amber is the most widely known and recognized, with a range of colors including yellow, honey, and cognac. Russian amber is similar, with a rich orange-brown color and a waxy texture.

Cherry amber is a lesser-known variety that is reddish-brown in color with a cherry scent. White amber, also known as Royal or Prussian amber, is highly valued due to its high transparency and white color, which can range from opaque to translucent.

Blue amber is a rare variety with a translucent blue-green color, found primarily in the Dominican Republic. Finally, green amber, also known as bone amber, is a rare variety found primarily in Kaliningrad that is valued for its unique green color and texture.

Rarity and Demand

In addition to its color and transparency, rarity can also increase the value of amber. While Baltic amber is relatively easy to find, other varieties such as blue and green amber are much rarer and therefore more expensive.

Demand can also play a role in determining the value of amber. If there is a high demand for a particular color or variety, its value can increase significantly.


In conclusion, amber is a gemstone with a rich history and a wide range of colors and variations. When evaluating amber specimens, factors such as carat weight, inclusions, and workability can affect its value.

The color and region of origin are also important factors, with black, red, yellow, and white amber being the most highly valued. Finally, rare varieties such as blue and green amber can command a high price due to their rarity and demand.

Factors that Contribute to Amber Value

When evaluating amber specimens, there are several factors that determine its value, such as inclusions, fakes and treatments, and density and tests for authenticity. This article will provide an in-depth look at these contributing factors and how they impact the value of amber.


Amber is a unique stone that often contains inclusions, which are foreign substances that got trapped inside the resin as it solidified.

Inclusions can vary from plants and insects to fish bones and even air bubbles.

These inclusions can determine the value of the stone since they add aesthetic and scientific value. Fish bones and worms, for example, are inclusions that make the amber specimens more valuable.

Researchers often study them to discover their patterns and try to tell more about the environments and ecosystems of the past. Clarity and roundness are other factors that increase the value of amber.

Clear and well-formed specimens are more valuable because they exhibit the beauty and symmetry of natural patterns often found in Amber. In addition, Amber’s history can also affect its value, especially when it comes to the researched specimens.

An amber piece that has its history documented with a scientific study can command a high value among researchers.

Fakes and Treatments

One of the most concerning factors that can impact the value of amber is the possibility of fakes and treatments. Ambroid, for instance, is a material that looks like amber but is not genuine.

Identifying Ambroid can be challenging, but an expert jeweler can rapidly identify this material when observed up close. Another treatment is heat treatment, which is often used to enhance the clarity and color of amber.

This process is not always harmful, and some pieces even benefit from a heat treatment to remove any signs of deterioration or to exhibit previously unclear inclusions or patterns. However, it can be a double-edged sword when a specimen is treated heavily, making it unauthentic and less valuable.

Alterations are also a threat when it comes to amber value. An authentic amber piece that is altered or modified in any way to make it appear something its not may be worthless as the alteration negatively impacts its scientific and historic value.

Even if it is not altered, any processing or treatments on the piece should be disclosed and documented carefully to maintain the stone’s value.

Density and Tests for Authenticity

Density is a significant factor when determining the authenticity of amber, and it can vary according to the species and even the specific tree. Amber is lighter than most stones and has a density close to that of water.

One way to test for authenticity is to observe how the piece behaves when submerged in saltwater. Genuine amber floats, while other materials imitating amber will sink.

Another method is burning incense. Due to the unique composition of amber, when placed in heat, an amber piece gives off a distinct resinous smell.

The strong, sweet scent is one of the best indications of an authentic piece of amber. In contrast, other materials such as plastic imitations or Ambroid will give off a chemical or burning smell when they are exposed to heat.


In summary, the value of amber can vary significantly according to factors such as inclusions, fakes and treatments, and density and tests for the authenticity. The value can increase when inclusions have distinct patterns and create beautiful aesthetics.

Some fakes better mimic amber than others, but a skilled jeweler can spot the differences between genuine and imitated materials. Density and odor are also factors that can help in identifying real versus fake specimens.

By understanding these essential factors, buyers and sellers can more accurately determine the value of an amber piece and ensure that they are purchasing authentic, high-quality specimens. In conclusion, Amber is a unique gemstone that has a fascinating history and characteristics that contribute to its varying value.

Factors like inclusions, fakes and treatments, and density and tests for authenticity all contribute to its worth. It is essential to evaluate these factors carefully to ensure the authenticity of an amber specimen and to make an informed decision on its value and significance.

Check out the FAQs below for more information on key topics. FAQs:


How do inclusions affect the value of amber specimens?

Inclusions like fish bones and worms often add aesthetic and scientific value and make the amber pieces more valuable. 2.

What are some common fake materials that resemble amber? Ambroid is a common imitator of amber that can be challenging to spot.

3. What is heat treatment, and how can it impact the value of amber?

Heat treatment is a process to enhance the clarity and color of amber, sometimes making specimens more valuable. However, heavy treatment can damage stone authenticity and decrease its worth.

4. How can you determine the authenticity of an amber specimen?

Density is a significant factor, and amber pieces tend to float in saltwater or have a unique resinous smell when heated.

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