With its shiny luster and deep orange-red color, amber is easily mistaken for a precious stone or gem. Amber is actually hardened resin, which is much like tree sap. Many pieces of amber carry fossilized insects and other remains, and the beautiful resin is commonplace in jewelry. Amber is a sensitive stone, however, and is easily scratched or damaged if not properly cared for. Restoring your amber jewelry to its original beauty requires careful polishing.
Things You'll Need
Dampen a soft white rag or cloth in warm water. Don’t soak the rag or use hot water; too much water or water that’s too hot can damage amber. Gently wipe the amber surface to remove dirt, dust, and oil.
Dry the amber jewelry with a soft towel, or allow it to air-dry completely before continuing. Do not place amber in direct sunlight or near a heat source to dry, as the heat can damage the amber.
Dampen a leather chamois with a thin layer of plastic polishing compound, and gently stroke the amber with the chamois. Use only undyed leather, as dyed leather can transfer unwanted color to the jewelry. The compound will help to buff away small scratches or chips in the amber’s surface. Apply more compound as necessary, until all of the amber is covered.
Buff away excess compound with a clean section of the chamois or with a clean, soft rag. Apply a few drops of olive oil to a clean section of the chamois and rub it into the amber. This helps restore shine to the amber.
Wipe away excess oil with a damp, soft cloth. Dry it gently with a clean towel before storing or wearing.
If your amber jewelry contains other materials, such as a silver band, clean and polish those areas separately with material-specific cleaner. Protect the amber when using cleaners for other materials, as the amber will be easily damaged by chemicals.
References and ResourcesEmporia State University World of Amber: Care of Amber
International Lapidary Association: Lapidary Digest
Amber Artisans: Amber Teething Necklaces and Bracelets