How it works:
- Situation: amber is a resin of tree sap that has been fossilized over 2.5-4 millions of years and amber memorabiliais popular as a souvenir.
- Set-up: however, most souvenir shops will overcharge you for it with some even selling imitations made of plastic or copal (incomplete fossilization).
Places to beware:
- Moscow: Old Arbat (StaryArbat)
What to do:
- Reputable stores:
- Head to a reputable jewelry shop, souvenir shop or departmental stores.
- E.g. Moscow: Arbat 8, GUM; St. Petersburg: Eketerina’s palace, Passageand Gostinydvor, NevskyProspekt.
- Differentiate real from fake:
- Heating: a real piece will smell like burning wood, not burning plastic. It will not melt too.
- Floating: a real piece floats in dense fluids like sugary/salty water but sinks in fresh water. A fake sinks in both.
- Imperfections: a real piece should have some.
- Alcohol/acetone drop (e.g.from a fingernail polish remover): no effect on a real piece while a fake will be discolored.
- UV banknotes detector: a real piece will emit a fluorescent bluish glow while a fake will not or will only emit a whitish/yellowish glow.