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PROPERTIES OF AMBER

Upon rubbing a piece of amber on a wool or silk textile, it becomes electrified and will attract finely torn shreds of paper like a magnet.

It is no wonder Ancient Greeks called amber "electron".

When a piece of amber is rubbed between the palms the characteristic aroma of pine resin can be smelt.

Amber's comparative weight ranges from 1.05 to 1.096 g/cm3.

Amber sinks in fresh water and floats in salt water.

According to the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, amber rates 2-2.5.

Amber is easy to file, polish, drill and carve.

A motif of choice can be carved into the surface using an ordinary needle.

Yet it is also a fragile material, as a piece dropped on the floor is likely to shatter.

Amber does not dissolve completely in any solution.

The following data on fossil solubility in various solutions has been gathered from literature: 20-25% in ethanol, 20% in penthanol, 18-23% in ether, 17-25% in turpentine, around 20% in chloroform.

Experiment results show that amber is not an inert material and contact with certain solvents - such as chloroform or ethanol - will cause not just partial but total disintegration of the structure of amber.

Amber crackles when it burns and emits a bright flame and black smoke.

Once extinguished, the aroma of pine resin, reminiscent of incense, can be sensed for a long time in the room.

Amber softens at a temperature of 140- 150 degrees Celsius, and melts at 315-350 degrees.

(Source: Lithuanian Art Museum, pgm.lt)