amberica west


Listing of Past Listserv Discussions

May 1999:


Subject:   lizard skeleton
Date:   Fri, 21 May 1999 09:39:15 +0200
From:   Eugenio Ragazzi 
To:   amber@d20.co.edu

To Amber Discussion Group

I have seen the two pictures of supposed lizards in amber.
The specimen named  P1010018.jpg seems to me suspect to be a fake.
It is hard that a skeleton embedded in amber does not have any apparent
remnants of tissue from the original animal. Look for example at the paper
by  MacPhee and Grimaldi (Mammal bones in Dominican amber, Nature
380:480-490, 1996) that reports a Dominican amber piece containing bones of
an insectivore: the photos published in the article show bones but also part
of soft tissues of the animal. 
Amber-preserving properties should allow at least a partial display of
tissues; the new specimen shows a very clear and apparently intact skeleton;
in my opinion is hard to think how it could have entered the resin in that a
perfect state of conservation. Supposing that fluid resin could have flowed
on the skeleton and embedded it, at least part of soil or plants (on which
the bones originally had to lie) should have been included in amber. 

Eugenio Ragazzi


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Subject:  Raw amber sources
Date:  Fri, 21 May 1999 15:25:05 EST
 From:  "Peter W. Borders" 
Organization:   Business Division - TCC VB
To:   amber@d20.co.edu


Does anyone know of a source for raw, unfinished, amber? I would like 
to work on some myself.

Pete 

Peter W. Borders

Network Support Technician
Tidewater Community College
tcbordp@vbbusnw1.tc.cc.va.us


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Subject:  gecko
Date:  Tue, 25 May 1999 06:38:12 -0600
From:  Doug Lundberg 
Organization:   AAHS Networking
 To:   amber@d20.co.edu


Last night I kept on thinking about the gecko that was on the eBay auction.  Gary Platt made
a good comment: 

    "If correct - which I doubt, the guy or girl has made a killing!" 

On the otherhand, if I was the seller, I would shed many tears!  If real the specimen is worth
many thousands of dollars.  It sold for just under $500. 

Eugenio Ragazzi also made the following comment: 

    "A month ago I received an e-mail of a person who was wondering if I  knew 
    what materials synthetic amber is most commonly made from, especially 
    same preservation qualities as amber, and the same general appearance. I 
    imagine..... 
    I think that at present the market of "synthetic" amber is going well!" 

Doug 

"If it looks to good to be real, it probably is." 

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Subject: 
Re: gecko
Date: Tue, 25 May 1999 19:34:06 +0200
From: amber.art@t-online.de (Jens von Holt)
Reply-To: amberworld@gmx.net
 To:  lundberg@d20.co.edu
 CC:  amber@d20.co.edu



Hi Doug
If you can not see the difference if a piece in amber is real or not you should better quitt your business. 
1. gecko on e-bay: Composition , Background = real amber, topped with epoxy and gecko.This item was
offered 3 monthes ago . 
2. gecko from new sealand : look at the stomage, is it pregnant(?) This  happens if you put a fresh gecko in
kauri
gum, and let it get hard by putting it near a fire in the ground.Several speciemns were offered by unserious
dealers this year at the tucson show. 
Geckos,five centimeter long beetles etc. 
3. Gecko in madagascar copal: A real one, no doubt about, but this stuff is too young,(20-200 years) .Selling
copal as amber is like selling  coal as  diamant. 
4. Geckos from the domenican republic: A picture could not be better than the piece. 
2 real good specimens . 
With best regards 
Jens von Holt 
http://www.amberworld.com 

Doug Lundberg schrieb: 

   Last night I kept on thinking about the gecko that was on the eBay auction.  Gary Platt
  made a good comment: 

      "If correct - which I doubt, the guy or girl has made a killing!" 

  On the otherhand, if I was the seller, I would shed many tears!  If real the specimen is
  worth many thousands of dollars.  It sold for just under $500. 

  Eugenio Ragazzi also made the following comment: 

      "A month ago I received an e-mail of a person who was wondering if I  knew 
      what materials synthetic amber is most commonly made from, especially 
      same preservation qualities as amber, and the same general appearance. I 
      imagine..... 
      I think that at present the market of "synthetic" amber is going well!" 

  Doug 

  "If it looks to good to be real, it probably is."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Subject: RE: gecko
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 06:39:37 +0100
From: "Garry Platt" 
To: "Amber Discussion Group (E-mail)" 



Whilst I accept Jens von Holt's analysis of the recent e bay lizard may very well be
correct, i.e. real amber topped by epoxy, (I don't think there is much doubt the
lizard is fake) I would like to know, how just from the photographs published on e
bay this can be determined?

In the research paper written and published by Grimaldi et al on 'Fakes' I found
nothing which indicated what the visual tell tale signs for amber topped by epoxy
were and how they could be spotted from just a visual inspection of photographs, and
poor photographs at that.

In short what are the indicators Jens that this is amber topped by epoxy? I would
like to have this information just so I can make this kind of determination for
myself. I understand how to make this distinction when I have physical access to the
material, but not just from a visual inspection.

I thought the advice to Doug Lundberg was rather harsh, i.e. quit his business. I
have bought several superb pieces from Mr Lundberg and he has also been kind enough
to send me several pieces gratis because of their link to my particular interests in
amber- don't pack up trading quite yet Doug. 

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Subject: RE: gecko
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 08:03:21 -0400
From: "Silverstein, Mitchell" 
"Amber Discussion Group (E-mail)" 



Hello to all,
 
I certainly agree with Garry.  The note by Jens von Holt was harsh.  Within
a small community, such as amber collectors, a bit of speculatory fun is
certainly acceptable especially when it refers to such a rare occurrence.
We all have many more doubts about the authenticity of that peice than
certainty. 
 
Good fakes can be interesting.  This could be a good fake since it made it
so far in the market.  Obviously a good fake would be hard to tell from just
photos.  It would be interesting to hear how the epoxy theory was formed by
these photos.  It may be reconstituted amber.  
 
Not to change the topic too much- Check out this ebay offering.  
http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem

&item=108531502 I've seen several similar peices in the market place.
Although this is only a bee and not a gecko it's probably not too old.  I've
been to a gallery selling these as 12myo Columbian amber.  Here's a
question: This peice has a "spangle" which is formed when amber (usually
baltic) is heated.  Could an insect remain as well preserved through this
process?  Was the spangle formed when this 'egg' was casted and the insect
inserted.  Is there a sure way to tell if the amber around the gecko has
been reconstituted?
 
I am off to a short vacation.  Hoping to check out a gem dealer I know with
rough Doninican amber where half of my small collection was derived.  If
there is a resopnse to this email I will not receive it until next Tuesday.
I hope I don't miss out on valuable information.
 
Regards and a good holiday for those in the States...
 
Mitch
 
 
Mitchell Silverstein
Director, Laboratory Operations and Facilities
msilverstein@cadus.com 
www.cadus.com  
 


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Subject: Re: gecko
   Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 15:54:23 +0200
   From: amber.art@t-online.de (Jens von Holt)
Reply-To: amberworld@gmx.net
To: "Silverstein, Mitchell" 
"Amber Discussion Group (E-mail)" ,
Doug Lundberg 



Hi Doug
you may excuse my harsh comment, soryy for this.

How can I tell by seeing a photo that it is a fake ?
1. Color of the gecko, no color like this is ever reported
2. picture three: light reflection top = violett , amber will not reflect light
in this color,
left side: there is a line , looks like the border between the amber layers,
this line is not a natural one .
3.and may be theposition of the gecko= just fitīs in.
The only possibility to make a piece like that is to cut a dark stone with a lot
of bark inside grind it and polish it, top the item on it an fill it up with
eopoxy , than repolish it.
Some of these pieces are occuring periodicly on the amber market and as I knew
there are some companies producing items like this for the tourist market,
werever amber is on sale.
After checking out several hundred thousands of amber inclusions during the
years :if you can explain me only the color of the gecko I will refuse my point
of view.

Another e-mail I got from this list indicated that columbian copal is 12mio
years ???
Please read the report from the smithonian institute about columbian copal  and
let me know whenever the first extinct insect family will be reported.

With best regards
Jens von Holt
http://www.amberworld.com

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Subject: RE: gecko
 Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 09:55:10 -0400
From: "Silverstein, Mitchell" 
To: "'amberworld@gmx.net'" ,
"Silverstein, Mitchell" 
"Amber Discussion Group (E-mail)" ,
Doug Lundberg 




Just for clarification- I had mentioned that a gallery I've been to was
selling what I thought was fake egg shaped amber with very colorful and
whole insect inclusions that I considered fake.  They claimed that it was 12
myo amber from Columbia which just supported my theory that it was not
authentic...

I agree that the gecko was in too good shape to be an actual inclusion...


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


Subject: RE: gecko
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 11:35:49 -0700
From: amberid@inreach.com
To: amber@d20.co.edu


Hi all,

The gecko in amber does not look like a gecko, but the photo was so poor it
would be difficult to tell. It looked fake to me as with the specific
gravity specified, it could not be Baltic, and did not look like Dominican
or Mayan. Of course it could have been from someplace else. I have looked
at and photographed as many vertebrates in amber, real and fake as any one.
The test I do when I can not preform hot needle or acetone tests, I look at
the piece in long and short wave ultraviolet light, and most fakes, being
of a different material, really stand out. Most of the fakes I have seen
are from Mexico, with quite a few European fakes made from New Zealand
Kauri Gum. The latter is easy to tell. With a good lens the fakes tend to
have a perfect polish. Real amber and copal have distinctive craze
patterns, and one can tell Baltic from say Dominican by the craze density,
ie, the craze pattern. Most of the lizards I have seen in copal / resin are
from South America, Colombia are made to order, being that recent, but real
ones exist, including bird bones, and are not even pre-historic. I have
seen a few from the copal out of Madagascar, and most of that material is
less than 200 years old, and dissolves in pure ethanol. 

Pat Craig  amberid@inreach.com

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Subject: RE: gecko
Date: Wed, 26 May 1999 16:12:06 EST
From: "Peter W. Borders" 
 To: "Amber Discussion Group (E-mail)" 

> Hello to all,
>  
> I certainly agree with Garry.  The note by Jens von Holt was harsh.  Within
> a small community, such as amber collectors, a bit of speculatory fun is
> certainly acceptable especially when it refers to such a rare occurrence.
> We all have many more doubts about the authenticity of that peice than
> certainty. 
>  
> Good fakes can be interesting.  This could be a good fake since it made it
> so far in the market.  Obviously a good fake would be hard to tell from just
> photos.  It would be interesting to hear how the epoxy theory was formed by
> these photos.  It may be reconstituted amber.  
>  
> Not to change the topic too much- Check out this ebay offering.  
> http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem
> 
> &item=108531502 I've seen several similar peices in the market place.
> Although this is only a bee and not a gecko it's probably not too old.  I've
> been to a gallery selling these as 12myo Columbian amber.  Here's a
> question: This peice has a "spangle" which is formed when amber (usually
> baltic) is heated.  Could an insect remain as well preserved through this
> process?  Was the spangle formed when this 'egg' was casted and the insect
> inserted.  Is there a sure way to tell if the amber around the gecko has
> been reconstituted?
>  
> I am off to a short vacation.  Hoping to check out a gem dealer I know with
> rough Doninican amber where half of my small collection was derived.  If
> there is a resopnse to this email I will not receive it until next Tuesday.
> I hope I don't miss out on valuable information.
>  
> Regards and a good holiday for those in the States...
>  
> Mitch

Wouldn't the polarized light test show if the amber had been 
reconstituted? I am just starting out but it seems that that would be 
the surest test.

Pete

Peter W. Borders

Network Support Technician
Tidewater Community College
tcbordp@vbbusnw1.tc.cc.va.us


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Subject:  Gecko solution?
Date:  Thu, 27 May 1999 19:06:47 +0900
From:  "Peter C.Werp" 
To:  tcbordp@vbbusnw1.tc.cc.va.us
CC:  "Amber Discussion Group (E-mail)" 


Everyone, 
Why not ask to see an image of specimens under UV (black light) in a dark setting. Only natural amber will
glow; I know I've done this many times, and if it doesn't glow, e.g., resin, plastic, etc. it's surely
fake. Correct me if I'm wrong, please. 
Regards, 
Peter and Ruta 

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Subject:  Re: Gecko solution?
Date:  Thu, 27 May 1999 12:07:39 +0200
 From:  Eugenio Ragazzi 
To:  amber@d20.co.edu


To Amber Discussion List

Re: UV fluorescence.
Sometimes real amber does not have UV fluorescence. If amber was melted,
often it will not glow; or if amber was left in a place too hot, many
volatile components are gone and again fluorescence disappears. Also
unpolished amber has a crust that often hinders fluorescence.

Eugenio Ragazzi

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Subject: amber oil ? for the list:)
Date: Fri, 28 May 1999 13:56:00 -0700
From: "PlanetEarth" 
 To: , 


Hi all:)

I'm a recent member to the list here. Been lurking for awhile.
This may be off topic...am not sure if allowed to ask, but I have been
wondering if any
of my fellow listmembers happens to know where I could buy (wholesale too)
 *Amber Oil crude OR Amber Oil refined*?
I am an aromatologist....develope scent etc and am in need of a supplier of
these oils.

I appreciate any offer of help anyone could give........thanks a
bunch...Cheri:)

**So Let's Do It Naturally** (OR as NATURALLY as we can muster ! :)

Cheri L. Smith
Global Sales/Marketing
PLaNeT:EaRTH Herbal CaRe tm
http://www.planetearthherbal.com/Wholesale/oils_prices.html