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Copal 1970's beads

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Amber Jewelry38 of 1213 amber and sterling ringsMarquis Cabachon Amber Stone Set In Sterling Ring/ Marked .925/ Circa 20th Century
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    Posted 5 years ago

    (726 items)

    After my trip to Poland in 2015 a friend gave me these lovely beads her aunt had since the 1970's. Example of egg yolk opaque and translucent colors. She thought they were amber. Average size is about 1.25"x.75". They are only drilled .25" on each end - maybe because the beads would split?

    From my research I think these are hand-made natural resin beads called "copal". This is a process that has been used many years wherever amber is found. I tested w/the salt water and did online research, but had to realize not real amber. But, they are lovely, 40+ years old and natural. I am sure I can make some beautiful jewelry with them.

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    1. valentino97 valentino97, 5 years ago
      Thanks Rose and Bonnie for fast loves! Any comments are welcome.
    2. racer4four racer4four, 5 years ago
      Great story and info Val. I love the look of these beads, almost bakelite-ish.
    3. jscott0363 jscott0363, 5 years ago
      So interesting! Great story as well.
    4. rockbat, 5 years ago
      I thought copal amber came from South America, and is younger than Baltic Amber.
    5. rockbat, 5 years ago
      I have copal resin incense, kind of like Frankincense, when it burns.
    6. Ivonne Ivonne, 5 years ago
      This is so interesting what you said about copal.Something new for me.Thanks!
    7. valentino97 valentino97, 5 years ago
      Thanks olebodie, Karen, jscott, ivonne and rockbat for your comments! I have a link below if anyone is interested in more information. I didn't know about copal incense! Copal resins can be made in any country that also has real amber.
    8. valentino97 valentino97, 5 years ago
      Thanks everyone for the loves - even a imitation can get a lot of love because this is still a natural item and it's very beautiful. It's okay if you know what you are buying. While I was researching these 70's beads I came across discussions about the popular "amber" prayer beads, huge "amber" silver capped beads from Nepal that are actually the copal resin. And....that said, I am going to post 2 rings that I BELIEVE are real amber next.
    9. davyd286, 5 years ago
      Volga Amber is a misnomer for a kind of calcite - which is a rock and does not look like amber.
    10. fleafinder fleafinder, 5 years ago
      hi val,when you rub them do they give off a fragrance. It resembles the highly sought after chinese natural "mila" that gives iff a smell when you rub them
    11. valentino97 valentino97, 5 years ago
      olebodie - I heated a pin and yes it melted easily and yes fleafinder it gave off a fragrance like an incense. However when I rub the beads, I don't get that smell, only with the hot pin. Thank you both for giving me a few tips and tests. Also thanks Davy - I wasn't sure about Volga amber but after looking a little online can tell that my beads are a soft resin, not the beautiful Russian calcite beads.

      One other thing I would like to point out and hopefully you can help me with. In picture 2 (2nd bead from top) there is a big round indentation. Could this be where a dop tool held a bead, twirling it in resin? Not all the beads have this same round indent. The only thing they all have is the short 1/8" drills on both ends.

      Thank everyone for your interest.
    12. davyd286, 5 years ago
      No, val - that indentation can't be from a tool - the bead shape would not come out the same.
    13. valentino97 valentino97, 5 years ago
      Thanks davy - maybe it has something to do with the heating and cooling process. I'll just keep researching. Appreciate your expertise!

      Thanks everyone for loves! Rose, Bonnie, Aura, Share, Mike, Mani, Thomas, Kevin, Karen BB2, Scott, Nicefice, Judy, Phil, Caper, Ted, Gargoyle, Pops, Martika, Kyra, Courtenyantiques, Vintagelamp, Trey, Nevada, Ivonne, Rick, Newtimes and Elisabeth!
    14. davyd286, 5 years ago
      Val, have you tried the salt water test? It should be easy to do with loose beads.
    15. valentino97 valentino97, 5 years ago
      Hi davy - yes that was the first thing I did. I guess I should ask the giver where his aunt traveled to in the 70's and try to research more from there.
    16. honeybaby2017, 4 years ago
      They are very pretty - so voluptuous - and so cool that they smell!

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