So, you've just bought a new piece of amber jewellery, either for yourself, or to give as a present to someone special; but how should you take care of it, clean and polish it, display it to best effect or store it away safely?

 

Although classified as a gemstone, amber isn't a stone or a mineral, it's actually the fossilised resin of trees that were living fifty million years ago in an area where the Baltic Sea is now; eighty percent of the world's amber being Baltic amber; the harvesting and processing of the amber, and the many associated small-scale enterprises support an industry that currently employs ten thousand people, in and around, the Polish port of Gdansk, known as the 'Amber City' because of its long history of producing amber jewellery and artefacts.

 

Caring for amber jewellery is fairly straightforward and mainly common sense really, and if a few simple guidelines are followed your jewellery will remain as attractive and enticing as the day you bought it; a cherished family heirloom to be handed down the generations.

 

Clean your jewellery using warm water, never too hot; using a soft flannel to gently wipe away dirt, smudges and fingerprints – never use soaps, detergents or proprietary cleaning fluids. Keep your precious amber shiny, maintaining the magical way in which it reflects and refracts natural light, by regular polishing, gently rubbing the gemstone with olive oil and then using a soft cloth to remove any excess oil.

 

Always try to store your amber jewellery in the box or case it arrived in, or a jewellery box with individual compartments, or a soft, padded pouch – in particular amber necklaces should ideally be carefully draped when not being worn to prevent entanglement. Be careful to make sure that your amber jewellery doesn't come into contact with other items of jewellery which might scratch or possibly even chip the amber, and for the same reason take care when placing it on abrasive surfaces, this is also why well-designed amber bracelets and necklaces have ample space between the individual pieces of amber, so look out for sufficient links on chains.  Always store away from sources of heat and direct sunlight and avoid any extremes of temperature, or rapid changes in temperature.

 

Be sure to always apply cosmetics, perfume, deodorants and hairspray before wearing your amber jewellery; many of these products contain chemicals which could possibly permanently tarnish the appearance of your jewellery, both the amber itself and any metal used to mount it – quite often Sterling silver.

 

Your amber jewellery is unique, every stone is different, with its own history, and amber itself is unique in being a fossilised resin, rather than a mineral like other gemstones; so by following these few simple tips, which don't require much effort in your part, your gift or cherished heirloom will continue to charm, and amaze, be the focal point of conversation and look absolutely marvellous whenever it's worn.