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Tree resin is not amber until it has not completed the process known as amberization. Then the substance gets fully polymerized and its volatiles are lost. There is no definition when fossil tree resin becomes amber based on age, hardness, color or other characteristics. Besides a geological process, amberization also involves microbiological activity that changes its chemical formula. Perhaps the most suitable definition for amber currently is: "fossil tree resin that has achieved a stable state through loss of volatile constituents and chemical change after burial in the ground."
The true amber has been obtained its specific characteristics. Tree resin that did not fully complete the process of amberization is called copal. Copal is a "young" tree resin and much differs from amber by its chemical formula and, of course,  characteristics. Currently, there is no any method to treat it in the way it becomes amber.



Enlarged pattern of mechanically polished Baltic Amber of butterscotch color. (R.V. Byenes)

Amber comes in over 200 shades of colors, variety of transparencies, and different shapes: no one piece is alike. Micro drops and micro icicles (often called "amber in amber") are very interesting to view.

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