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Glass and hard resins also cannot be scratched with a fingernail at all. Scratching test When scratched with a knife or sharp needle, amber forms small splinters and minuscule chips, while synthetic plastics do not splinter. It is best to make a scratch it in a concealed place, for example inside the bead hole. Hot pin test This is a commonly advised test for amber.
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Softer materials such as plastics or copal melt under the hot needle more easily.
Plastics emit acrid or” chemical” smell and may leave a black mark where the needle was inserted. Melting Point Heating the specimen (or a small fraction of it) can indicate if it is real amber.
Colored glass and certain types of hardened resins, such as copal, kaori gum and celluloid were the most common amber imitations.
In the recent times, with the development of plastics and synthetic resins, counterfeit or tempered amber became even more difficult to recognize.The flotation test can be done only on unmounted pieces of amber, without any metal.