One of the earliest known gems, amber’s bright sunshine hues delight and enthrall. Amber often symbolizes life, due to the insects and other organic remains frequently found within it. Made of hardened tree resin, this material usually shows yellow to orange or brown colors. In rare deposits, it can even fluoresce blue. Whether you’re looking for a string of beads or a faceted statement piece on your next amber buying trip, understanding this gem’s quality factors will help.

Amber Buying and the Four Cs

The IGS amber value listing has price guidelines for cabochons with or without insects as well as rare faceted pieces.

Color

Most amber is yellow to orange or brown. Deep yellow colors command higher prices.

Natural cherry red pieces are very rare and sell at a premium. However, most red amber undergoes heat treatment to achieve this color.

Green Amber

While heat treatments can produce deep green hues, some yellow-green amber occurs naturally. Since this material contains large amounts of soil and other organics, its sobriquet of “earth amber” is certainly fitting.

Blue Amber

With a unique surface fluorescence, blue amber makes a delightful gem. Arising from only one extinct tree species, this rare…