On this page you’ll find all sorts of information about Baltic amber, how it works (theoretically), how to care for your amber, common forms of imitation amber, how to identify them, and how to test your amber to confirm its authenticity (see our updated test section below). If you get through this whole page and still have unanswered questions, please contact us!
Please note that all products & claims regarding properties & effects have not been evaluated by the FDA or Health Canada. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information supplied is for general reference & educational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice.
In-short, all amber is fossilized tree resin. Baltic amber in particular, mined from near the Baltic Sea, additionally contains a substance called succinic acid. (Much more additional information is available further down.)
Historically it is believe that when worn on the skin, body heat causes Baltic amber to release an oil containing succinic acid, which if absorbed into the skin, might act like a natural Ibuprofen, blocking pain and reducing inflammation. Succinic acid is an alkalinizing acid (like lemon juice) so it wouldn't add to your body's acidity, and may actually slightly lower it.
Many of our customer have found Baltic amber to be helpful with pain and inflammation issues, particularly teething pain but also such issues as headaches and pain in general.
Each piece is handcrafted by Lithuanian artisans, known locally as 'Masters', who carefully polish and round the shape of each Baltic amber bead so it rests gently against the skin. This ensures maximum skin contact and comfort. The string in each of our amber necklaces and bracelets is knotted by hand in between each and every bead, so should the necklace break the rest of the beads will not scatter. In the unlikely event that a bead should be ingested, amber is a non-toxic substance and is not harmful. The necklace fastens with a plastic amber colored clasp that opens and closes easily, and functions as the safety-release mechanism, depending on the type of clasp, of which we have two options, Pop and Twist:
Pop Clasps - Will pop open if tugged on, so the safety mechanism is reusable, but they also come open much easier and this can sometimes lead to lost necklaces.
Twist Clasps - Won't open if tugged, so are less likely to be lost, but with enough force will break open where the string meets the clasp, as a safety release.
Every natural Baltic Amber necklace is unique because each of the amber beads are unique. The size, color, shape, and weight of each stone, as well as the length of the piece, will vary slightly. We work with our supplier to develop consistent styles of color and shape, however as Baltic amber is a natural raw material that must be mined, the end product will fluctuate along with the natural flux in the Baltic Amber market.
Amber is breakable, so you want to avoid it dropping on hard surfaces, and should not be stored with other jewelry where it can rub against other pieces, especially metals.
It's also easily coated by oils and soaps, which will reduce it's effectiveness. Keep perfume, hairspray, and soaps like shampoo and conditioner away from your amber, and never place your jewelry in commercial cleaning solutions. Remove your amber jewelry when bathing. Also remove when applying sunscreen or any other kind of lotion.
To clean your amber, use a soft flannel cloth or an unused toothbrush dampened with clean lukewarm water. Dry in the sun or with a clean tissue or towel.
Baltic Amber is fossil of resin. Although not a mineral, it is generally classified as a gemstone. A common misconception is that Amber is made of tree sap. Sap is the fluid that circulates through a plant's vascular system, while resin is the semi-solid amorphous organic substance secreted in pockets and canals through epithelial cells of the tree.
Because it used to be soft and sticky, tree resin amber can sometimes contain insects and even small vertebrates, known in the jewelry world as ‘Inclusions’. Semi-fossilized resin or ‘sub-fossil’ amber is known as Copal (see more on Copal below).
Amber occurs in a range of different colors. As well as the usual yellowy-orange that is associated with the color "amber", amber itself can range from cloudy white, yellowish clear, to almost black.
There is also red amber (sometimes known as "cherry amber"), green amber, pink amber and even blue amber, which is rare and highly sought after.
No we don't have any blue amber, thanks for asking. :)
Baltic amber is distinguished from other amber from all around the world by the presence within it of high levels of succinic acid, hence Baltic amber is otherwise known as succinite.
There is an enormous amount of fear out there around the idea of accidentally purchasing fake amber. We regularly get questions about this. So first, a few facts about our own Baltic amber jewelry:
1. We get all of our Baltic amber direct from Lithuania.
2. We have a long and trusted relationship with our supplier there.
3. We test every shipment using using UV and spot-test using the saltwater method.
4. We have become very accustomed to the appearance, weight, texture, and smell of the real thing, and would know immediately if something was wrong with our shipment.
Secondly, we suspect that much of the fears around this issue are unfounded. There IS a giant fake amber market out there, but it's dealing primarily with large pieces of amber, much, much larger than what you would typically find in a teething necklace.
Fake amber products are more often going to be priced in the $100-$100,000 range, and have things like rare inclusions, bugs trapped in the amber, etc., like this one:
Which led to this:
So overall we suspect that the fear that sweeps through the amber teething necklace community every few years is largely unnecessary.
Q: What do you recommend between a Baltic amber necklace and a bracelet?
A: Unlike hazelwood (which seams to work about the same no matter where you wear it) Baltic amber seems to be the most helpful if you can get it as close to the source of the pain as possible. So the choice of amber comes down to the symptom that you’re looking to treat. Headaches, teething or jaw/neck/upper back pain? Try a necklace. Wrist pain, arthritis, carpel tunnel? Try a bracelet. Have abdominal cramps or lower back pain? String two necklaces together to wear around your waist. And if you’ve got pain in other places, get creative in bringing the amber to where your pain is!
Q: Do I ever have to replace Baltic amber? How long does it last?
A: In theory Baltic amber, if cared for, could last forever. However it is also EXTREMELY old and brittle, and eventually beads will break. Also over time the surface of the beads tend to get coated with soap scum and other substances that inhibit their ability to release succinic acid into your skin. So if you clean your amber and are careful with it, it should last for years. If you suspect it’s no longer working and you’ve already tried cleaning it, it may be time for a new one.
Q: I was careful but my amber jewelry lost a bead almost right away, is this a defect?
A: Yes. The process of drilling the beads can leave cracks that are invisible and only come apart after a few days of regular use. If this has happened to you, our apologies! Please visit our returns & exchange page for more information on how to exchange it.
Q: Are the child necklaces safe?
A: Yes, the necklaces have been specially designed with your child’s safety in mind. If a necklace were to get caught on something the clasps are designed to either pop or break open (depending on the style of clasp you have) when a certain amount of force is applied. Additionally, each amber bead is knotted onto the string, so if it came apart, no more than one bead would come loose. If swallowed, they are small enough that they do not pose a choking hazard, and are non-toxic.
*If you are using the necklace to help with teething pain and are loosing more sleep thinking about your child wearing a necklace to bed, one option is to wrap the necklace around your child’s ankle at night. It should still be nearly as effective and you’ll have more peace of mind.
Q: What size necklace should I choose for my child’s neck?
A: The necklace must be a comfortable length for your child. You should be able to slip your two fingers between the necklace and your child’s neck. The necklace should not be long enough for your child to bring it to his/her mouth since it is not meant to be chewed on!
Q: Can we wear Baltic amber in the shower or the bath?
A: No. Baltic amber is very susceptible to soaps and other products that might leave behind a residue. Avoid wearing it when using shampoo, hair spray, lotions, sunscreen, etc.
NOTE - We've had a customer report an skin reaction issue with leaving Baltic amber on during an extended hot bath. Normally amber is removed due to the soaps involved, but if you are giving your child a bath (or taking one yourself) without soaps or chemicals, we'd recommend removing the amber just the same. We're not sure but the hot water may have caused the amber to become tacky or soft, to which a skin reaction occurred. Please exercise caution with exposing your amber to high heat or with wearing amber after it has been exposed to high head (left in a hot car, etc.).
Q: I’ve heard that the lighter Baltic amber colors are more powerful than the darker colors?
A: Yes our own experience and that of our customers seems to support this. Additionally the semi-polished colors seem to be stronger than their full-polish counterparts. While the following scale is entirely made up, it gives you some idea of the range we’re talking about. Note that all Baltic amber colors work well for things like teething pain, just that some are that much more powerful and if you are dealing with chronic levels of pain, you’re going to want to get one of the stronger colors. Here are some arbitrary numbers to give you an idea of the range of effectiveness (scale of 1-10):
11 Super Butter <- Goes up to 11!
10 Milk & Butter
9 Nutmeg & Lemondrop
9 Milk & Honey
8 Multicolored (semi-polish)
8 Milk & Cognac
7 Lemon & Cherry
7 Multicolored (bean & round)
7 Rainbow (bean & round)
6 Dark Cherry
6 Dark Green
Q: My necklace seems to be shorter than advertised?
A: It’s possible that a step got skipped with your necklace. We order everything a hint short and then stretch them to length to get the kinks out and so it rests evenly on the skin. Here's what you should do: Carefully pull on the necklace with a few inches secured in each palm (don’t pull on the clasps!). It should feel like pulling taffy and the knots should tighten as you pull. If it does not stretch easily but instead already feels really taut, discontinue pulling as you risk breaking the jewelry. Note that this is a permanent adjustment to the length of your necklace so be careful not to stretch it to be longer than you would like!
Ready to Order? Visit on of our Baltic amber collections:
STILL have unanswered questions? Please write us!