AMBER is the prehistoric resin of trees. The resin has gone through a number of changes over millions of years probably Fossilized Pine Sap
COPAL is NOT TRUE FOSSIL AMBER but a much younger form of tree sap. Copal tree resin often from South America.
Both are plant resin but copal is old (in terms of hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of years old) whilst amber is truly ancient with a typical age of 10-30 million years.
The only essential difference between amber and copal is age and of course the metaphysical properties are quite different.
Copal should produce a resinous smell if rubbed hard on the heel of the hand; amber requires the 'hopt-point' test to release this vapour.
The 'when all else fails' test (applied with discretion) is a test of the effect of acetone on the specimen. This should soften copal , within 2-3 seconds but Amber is unaffected and the acetone should just evaporate off.
Another test is of sectility; try to scrape an edge with a scalpel. Amber will chip away whilst copal can be cut, producing a minute 'peel.
Wear gloves people safety first & please cut away from yourself... This is general advice only Amber is expensive so if in doubt decide what purpose you want it for.
Athseticaly the Golden ray the Amber & Copal display is beautiful is both cases the healing properties are significant
Also as a footnote We as with any retail outlet are relying on the suppliers to be selling whatever it is they are promoting. To test every piece is impossible so the above examples are more for larger rough specimens, or your own peace of mind.
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