It is said of amber that it requires thousands of years of time and much pressure to produce amber from tree resin.

This was also said of diamond as well, but we now produce artificial diamonds by the ton.

So the question is, could we not make artificial amber, or is this somehow not possible?

  • $\begingroup$ Not in any way an answer but somewhat relevant: twitter.com/MfNBerlin/status/512179995700371456 $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Sep 26 '14 at 6:29
  • $\begingroup$ More seriously, Poinar in Life in Amber discuss about artificially produced amber a little (p. 8-9). $\endgroup$
    – plannapus
    Sep 26 '14 at 6:34
  • $\begingroup$ related: earthscience.stackexchange.com/questions/2296/… $\endgroup$
    – Gimelist
    Dec 15 '14 at 5:23
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe its possible in the same way wood can be artificially petrified through the argon process? I know its not the same as mineralization..but I'm not a science guy and was randomly thinking about this today and randomly stumbled my way here/now. $\endgroup$ Jun 2 '21 at 19:40

Yes, and this has been done since at least the mid 19th century (Răducanu, 2006) initially it was done to keep up with the demand, but now is a source of scrutiny for valuation of samples (Pederson and Williams, 2011; Răducanu, 2006).

Imitations have been produced by heating the following (Răducanu, 2006):

  • Polymers, such as polyester and polystyrene
  • Casein
  • Glass
  • Celluloid
  • Other resins, such as phenolic resin
  • Copal - this is referred to as 'pre-amber tree resin', a natural intermediary substance between tree resin and amber.

Both Răducanu, 2006 and Pederson and Williams list several techniques as to how to tell them apart from authentic amber. Pederson and Williams, 2011, also detail that some artificial samples are so close to amber that spectroscopy techniques are required to tell them apart.


Pederson and Williams, 2011, Copal vs. amber, Organics

Răducanu, 2006, Actual Exigencies Concerning the Quality of Amber Pieces Commercialized in Romania, Universităţii Petrol – Gaze din Ploieşti


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