amberica west

Listing of Past Listserv Discussions

November 2003:



Subject: Diptera redefined with new specimen
Date: 11/1/03
From: Ron buckley

Hi, a new discovery in Burmite has redefined Diptera. A fly called a "Beetle Fly" (Celyphidae) has just
been discovered in Burmite. The importance is that up until today it was believed that only primative
flys existed in this time period, and no advanced fly like this has ever been found- only primative flys.
To my knowledge the beetle fly has never been found in Dominican amber, Baltic amber and not in
Burmite amber. Needless to say this is a very important scientific find. The Beetle Flys are found only
in subtropic climates like Indonesia, but not in South America. Thanks, Ron


Subject: Diptera redefined with new specimen
Date: 11/2/03
From: Phil Rea

Wow!! A Cyclorrhapha in Burmite. What an incredible find!!

Well done Ron, Jim & Co.. Keep the interesting stuff coming :)



Subject: Beetle fly (Celyphidae)
Date: 11/2/03
From: Ron buckley

Hi Here are three more pictures of the new beetl fly. Ron


Subject: Amber or resin deposits in the Kansas strata?
Date: 11/3/03

Doug, I sent this message yesterday, and it never came back to my mailbox. I think there's a glitch or
something. Anyway, could you see that it gets on the list serve?

Hi folks, I have a geologist in Kansas who does lots of public education work with kids. He wants to
educate them about amber and is wondering if there is a road cut or quarry somewhere in Kansas
that might reveal a resin deposit in situ. I know nothing about the strata in Kansas, so is there someone
out there who can help? C'mon Dorothy, we can put the Scarecrow on the right track. If not Kansas,
where is the closest deposit to the Wichita area?



Subject: Scorpian Discovery
Date: 11/9/03
From: Ron buckley

Hi, Yesterday Jorge Santiago-Blay Ph.D of The Smithsonian Institution, Victor Fet Ph.D of Marshall
University, and Scott Anderson of Tetra Tech met to analize the new scorpian find in Burmite. It proved
to be a much more new and exciting find then Jim Davis and I had originally thought. I will not go into
details as they will be publishing a very detailed paper with pictureson the new scorpian find. If it were
not for the efforts of Jim Davis of Leeward capital to reopen this long closed mine in Burma the many
new exciting and important discoveries we are making would have been lost to science. These new
discoveries are proving to help fill in the history of insect developement. I found working with Jorge,
Victor and Scott to be a real pleasure and rewarding. Jim and I will be working with these three gentlemen,
and other scientest in this field in the future by making additional specimens availble, when possible.
Jorge showed me a new way to shoot pictures which will greatly aid in my future photography of insects.
An example is the scorpian tail which I can now take pictures even of the hairs on its tail. It was a very
rewarding experience to meet and work with people of this caliber and dedication. Ron



Subject: additional
Date: 11/9/03
From: Ron buckley

Hi Iforgot a picture. Ron


Subject: additional
Date: 11/9/03

Ron, I suppose you are the one second from the right? Did you meet in DC?



Subject: Scorpion discovery
Date: 11/10/03
From: Grant Eliott


You will, of course, point us in the right direction when these esteemed gentlemen's paper is published.
An experience such as this must be very satisfying to you. It transcends whatever monetary value
this specimen may represent. Not many of us in our lifetimes will find something that is unique and
important to science, but the thrill of exploration, possible discovery, and ultimate knowledge is, I am
certain, what makes all of us tick. I will expect you and Jim Davis to keep these specimens coming.
Who knows what discoveries await-

Your Friend, GRANT


Subject: Scorpion discovery
Date: 11/10/03
From: Ron buckley

Dear Ron,
thank you very much again for your hospitality and the opportunity to work with this unqiue specimen
of scorpions. We are really excited to put together all our observations. As I said, our colleague Michael
Soleglad will join the team of authors doing important comparisons of the Burmese specimen (based on
our pictures and observations) and modern scorpions, including the closest relative, Chaerilus from Asia.
We hope to produce a good draft of the future paper sometime after New Year, and will be in touch with
you on scorpion front -- and I am sure Jorge has other amber interests to discuss!
Once again, great hanks to you and your wife,


Victor Fet
Department of Biological Sciences
Marshall University,
Huntington, WV 25755-2510 USA
phone (304) 696-3116, fax (304) 696-3243


Subject: shooting with glycerin
Date: 11/10/03
From: Ron buckley

Hi, I have received many emails about shooting with glycerin. Attached is a first attempt with glycerin
taking a picture of the hairs on the spike on the tail. I couldnt even see that they were there before. Ron


Subject: thrill of discovery
Date: 11/10/03
From: Ron buckley

Hi Grant, you are absolutly right. I probably spend an average of thirty hours a week when I am not
working, to go through amber and shoot pictures. But I am just in at the very end. Jim Davis arranged
at great expense of time and effort to open up the mine. The amber is mined and then carried out by
elephant. A fellow by the name of Ko Ko goes through the amber to find the insects, then he and his
family polish and he gives a preliminary id. The amber goes up to Jim. He and his wife also find the
insects , polish them and give a preliminary id also. Then there is Ted a fantastic entomologist who
not only finds the insects with his son but also helps us with a good ID. So there has been a termendous
effort by a lot of people before it even comes to me. The thrill for me is two fold: 1).finding something
that looks strange or different then the norm. 2) the challege of trying to take a good picture fighting
my way through fractures, air bubbles, reddish amber and the calcite glow that is given off by Burmite.
In the end to find something like a mushroom, snakefly or a scorpian is just fantastic. To work with the
various scientest and see their eyes open up real big at a new discovery is a real thrill. I think a lot of
people dont realize that this amber represents where all of the insects were derived from and each
and every one of them to me is a halotype and very rare. I have been very lucky to be involved in this
adventure. Thanks, Ron

You will, of course, point us in the right direction when these esteemed gentlemen's paper is published.
An experience such as this must be very satisfying to you. It transcends whatever monetary value
this specimen may represent. Not many of us in our lifetimes will find something that is unique and
important to science, but the thrill of exploration, possible discovery, and ultimate knowledge is, I
am certain, what makes all of us tick. I will expect you and Jim Davis to keep these specimens coming.
Who knows what discoveries await-

Your Friend, GRANT


Subject: raw amber
Date: 11/13/03

Does anyone know of any wholesale suppliers of raw
Baltic amber? Thank you.


Subject: Texas Amber
Date: 11/13/03

Doug, could you pass this along? I seem to have problems with my messages coming through on the list
serve from time to time. Folks, I need to know if anyone has ever found amber in Texas, particularly the
Huntsville area. Any info about the strata underfoot there, any sedimentary rocks that would support
resin deposits, perhaps some lignite beds? Soon as I can gather some info, I may have some very
interesting news. I also need to find someone in the Huntsville area who might inspect a specimen, a very
large specimen, found there. We need to check it for flora and fauna. Any help would be appreciated!



Subject: chiapas amber
Date: 11/14/03
From: Glen Osborn

if you are interested here is a new web site that sells only Chiapas amber, there are also some good pics
of the area around Simojovel, Chiapas. glen osborne


Subject: Very interesting news on Texas ambe
Date: 11/10/03

Folks, I need some input and there may be an excellent research opportunity for the right person here.
The reason I was asking earler about amber in Texas, is because a fellow contacted us about a particularly
large specimen, 30 pounds+ that came to his attention. Seems a lady found it about 30 years ago sticking
up out of the ground on her family ranch in Huntsville. I'm sending along photos of the piece, and he is
forwarding a small piece to me for my eyeball appraisal. If this turns out to be what I think it is, then the
potential exists for a great discovery. I'm doing a little more research on the area and have contacted a
geologist in the are. I'm attaching the photos for your enjoyment, and perhaps one of you in the area would
agree to have a look at this piece personally. If so, then contact me and I'll put you in touch with the young
man who came to me with this very intriguing situation.


Here is the Zip File


Subject: Disappointing news about Texas amber
Date: 11/22/03
From: Ron buckley

Well folks, it happened again. Instead of being a bright new discovery of amber on American soil,
somehow we ended up with a very large chunk of plastic supposedly found sticking up out of the
ground on a ranch in Huntsville, Texas 30 years ago. My theory is that the guy at the gallery who
contacted me is being taken for a major ride and someone wanted him or someone else to lay down
a large chunk of money for a piece of plastic. Or, it could be an honest mistake. Perhaps she lived
near a river, it washed as cargo off a boat or barge, got caught up in flood plain sediments and she
stumbled onto it. Who knows. Anyway, I'm disappointed for them, and for myself. If anyone else
would like to have a look at this piece he sent me, I'd be happy to pass it along.

My reasons for thinking it is plastic are these: just in the initial feel of the piece, alarm bells rang
in my head. If you've held enough amber in your hand, then hold a piece of plastic and you'll know
what I mean. And it didn't smell right when burned. Amber has a sweet, piney smell that is pleasant.
Plastic or fake resins have an acrid, strong chemical smell, like this piece did. Under the scope, all
the breakage angles were too sharp. Amber has natural flow planes, swirls, easy flowing qualities
to it - this had none of that. I guess I could still be wrong, but I don't think so. Anyone else want to
back up my conclusion or maybe prove me wrong?



Subject: Response from gallery on Texas amber
Date: 11/22/03

Folks, the jury may not be out on this one yet. My opinion is that it's plastic, and nothing would please
me more in this case than to be proven wrong. Here is what the gallery owner had to say when I gave
him my conclusion. Anyone else interested can contact him at

Hello Tammi,

Thanks for the review on the piece I sent to you. I really appreciate your candid opinion.

How well am I acquaintd with the seller...Not very well. She found me through the appraisal business
I have in the Houston area.

The tests you have run...So far we are split on the deductions from testing. One source I rely on here
in the Houston area for verification of gems other than amber initially said it looked to be plastic. Later
he agreed he was not very familiar with amber and requested his findings be verified further, hence
my dialog with you. I have recently had a GIA grad look at the specimen and after doing several tests
{including the burn test} she determined the specimem to be authentic. She looked at the specimen
using a UV lamp under long and short wave and also measured the refraction using a Dichroscope.
She said the UV lamp test shows the specimen "floureses in the usual grayish blue under the long wave
and a weaker dusty grey/blue under the short wave as natural amber should." She said the dichroscope
reading shows the specimen to be "singly refractive" as amber should do.

The GIA grad suggested to confirm her findings we need to have the specimen looked at using a
"gas spectrometer" and/or "radiocarbon C-14" dating equipment. An archeologist was in attendance
with the GIA grad while she did her review and he agrees with the authenticity of the specimen as well.

Question...With the findings of your burn test withstanding, how could a "plastic" or "resin" specimen
hold up to the acetone test???. I have seen plastics used fairly often in the jewelry I appraise and have
yet to run across a plastic that can withstand the rigors of acetone testing without at the very least
some degree of disintegration. Some "resins" manfactured in the Orient and in Mexico that I have seen
used in costume jewelry will indeed hold in place under rigorous acetone tests but even they will
breakdown somewhat, leaving a sticky or tacky feel to the touch. The pieces I have tested fromm the
large specimen show none of that. Initially I thought the perhaps the specimen could be some sort
of volcanic glass which would reveal the same results as the amber under the acetone test but then
I realized the specimen would weigh much, much more if it were indeed volcanic glass. Again, I am
led back to the specimen being amber. The presence of a most distinctive tree bark imprint on one
side of the specimen coupled with the fact the specimen follows the conchoidal fracture pattern, the
background of the owner, the imense size of the specimen, the fact it would not make any sense at
all for some one to create a "fake" specimen {especially this size} due the inevitable scrutiny a specimen
this size would generate {once the artists decided to sell the fake}...all lead me to believe in it's
authenticity. It just doesn't add up that it would be fake.

But....One never knows!!! I am highly guarded, very suspicious and quite keen on the truth. I am
not easily swayed due to possible monitary gain as I am already quite well off financially and not
"in need". I seek the truth and have a pretty good feel for honesty when I see it. This discovery is
certianly one of those situations that "makes you go hhmmm"!

The owner and I do have an appointment with the museum of natural history this Tuesday the
25th and will get yet another analysis. I will let you know what they think as soon as the museum
experts complete thier tests.

Again, thank you Tammi for the analysis from your camp and I will take your results under advisement.

All the best,

Greg Reynolds, Eagle Dancer Gallery


Subject: Re: Response from gallery on Texas amber
Date: 11/23/03
From: Phil Rea

Well Tammi,

In my opinion, an Acetone test will prove nothing, because there are many plastics that are highly
resistant to chemicals. Were it Copal, then it would have reacted with the Acetone, so that's probably
ruled that out.

I agree with you that the burn test should not have produced an acrid smell, and as one who has
handled a fair amount of Amber over the years, I would tend to side with you on this. I know what
burning Amber smells like, and I also know what it smells like when you polish it with abrasives.
It is a sweet resinous smell with no trace of acridity. Plastic just smells plain bad.

I guess a gas spectrometer will tell us either way, but I am not sure how much help Radiocarbon
dating will be, as it only has a range of 50,000 years if I remember correctly. I suppose it would
tell us if it is modern, but a gas spectrometer would identify it as plastic anyway, and if that's the
case it's not going to be older than 1860 or so, unless it's a major new discovery or we have
another Roswell!

Thanks for keeping us informed Tammi.