:: Wholesale prices (to shops) are listed :: Retail prices (to individuals) are double ::
Amber is a fossilized/polymerized resin, exuded from extinct trees related to modern day conifers (and some flowering tree species) over 20 million years ago.
It is primarily found in the Baltic regions, but also appears in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Burma, Italy, Romania, Borneo, New Zealand, the Middle East, Alaska, Canada, and even in the United States.
Clear, white, yellow, orange, red, brown, black, and even blue or green hues are all possible, while opacity can range from translucent, clear, or spotted, to milky or dark with inclusions.
There are many plastics and younger resins (copals) which can emulate amber. There are some tests that are available to distinguish between the materials; one simple test is friction: amber is an easy conductor of static electricity. Another can be done with a black light; genuine amber fluoresces an amazing green-blue under UV light.
Amber is a gorgeous material used from antiquity as body jewelry, in the form of pendants, amulets, and for ear piercings. Amber seems to capture sunlight and allow it through the body. Burmese hilltribe women such as the Kachin wear long, crayon shaped plugs called patlokan using the unique dark orange-red burmite amber found there. The Aztecs utilized amber for incense and body jewelry (earplugs and labrets). They even had a word for an amber ear plug: apozonalnacochtli (after apozonalli: amber; and nacochtli: ear pendant, ear plug).
Click these links to jump ahead to the various items found on this page:
Amber plugs are made in millimeters (and random sizes in the case of Mexican amber), so may not be exactly on the mark with Western measurements, however, gauge or inch sizes can be requested as we can easily translate into these measuring systems.
We do not recommend amber body jewelry 8ga or smaller as amber tends to be quite brittle, and may break at those sizes, especially if it has inclusions. We have tested it; it's true! We keep getting asked, so we'll be specific: we do not have, and do not plan to carry, any 8ga, 10ga, 12ga, 14ga, or smaller amber.
Amber plugs are priced partially on weight, partially on the amount of waste it takes to get a solid pair of large plugs. We have had requests for things such as amber spiral shapes. While they're already not a good idea due to the brittle nature of amber, they're double jinxed due to the fact that a very large piece of amber will need to be utilized: though you may be wanting a 0ga spiral, in reality a piece of amber the size of the entire overall dimensions will have to be carved, thus costing a small fortune. Hollow amber would need very thick walls to not be extremely fragile; additionally, we consider the creation of hollow amber plugs a tragic waste of the glory that is ancient amber, and thus do not carry them. We've also had requests for quite large amber plugs, and we can give estimates. Please note that the prices for amber go up in a logrithmic curve as the diameter (and thus weight and difficulty in finding workable raw material) increases.
Body jewelry made from amber should be kept from extreme heat, as it may soften, darken, burn, break down, fracture, or craze. Amber tends to burn rather than melt. Amber may break down or lose luster (become dull) when in contact with certain solvents. Please visit our care instructions page for more details.
Baltic amber (succinite) saddles and cylinders are generally a scrumptious dark honey color, sometimes referred to as "cognac" colored. They are translucent, and often have "sun spangle" (lily pad or disc shaped) inclusions, which we believe are formed by the traditional process of heat treating that - along with darkening the outside surfaces from quickened oxidation - creates these circular and flat radial fracture inclusions from tiny air bubbles. This appears to be a bit of a trade secret, as many prominent books on amber will state that this is a natural phenomena, and it is only through extensive research that this process has come to light.
Amber plugs can vary quite a bit in hue! Most are an orange to yellow 'cognac' color.
This just goes to show the range of color and inclusions that is typical in Baltic amber.
Amber is made in millimeters, so some exact gauge and inch conversions may be a bit off as noted. Larger Baltic amber saddles sell out rapidly, so call right away if you are interested!
We'll be happy to place you on a wait list if you're interested in sizes that are out of stock.
The inconsistent supply of rough Baltic amber makes it extremely difficult to obtain finished pieces.
Due to the rising cost of the raw materials, prices tend to increase over time.
We always do our best to keep costs as reasonable as possible.
Singles are occasionally available at half of the pair prices - feel free to ask.
When we list singles only, we really mean it! No two pieces look anything close to pairs; they will be very different in lengths, color, or inclusions. In some cases we only have exactly one piece left.
:: Brand new batch of Baltic amber plugs! ::
These Baltic amber saddles are generally a translucent scrumptious dark honey color, often referred to as "cognac" colored. This batch all have interesting inclusions: there are a good amount of pieces with darker black specks and areas of dark organic debris more typically seen in Mexican amber. The bigger the pieces, the more spectacular! Some of the inclusions are clustered and remind me of galaxies. I'm really pleased with the quality of this amber and the variations of inclusions seen. There are even a few bugs!
This batch does not generally have larger "sun spangle" inclusions (lily pad or disc shaped/circular and flat radial fractures that sometimes have radial spokes). There are lots of smaller fracture inclusions - just not the larger round sun spangles that are usually seen and dominate in finished Baltic amber pieces.
This batch is not completely dialed in yet, so is available for discounted prices:
below our lowest wholesale estimate of what they'll be when our more refined summer shipment arrives!
Quite a good deal, especially if you get the grab bag we're offering for a pair of each size
(5 pairs for $100 including shipping).
Please note the images of this new batch are photos, not scans, so are not posted at exact life size.
The short summary is this:
These have been made in even millimeter sizes.
Flares range from 1.5mm to 2.5mm larger than the wearing surfaces
(with most being between 1.5mm to 2mm larger than the wearing surfaces).
For reference, 1/16", a more typical flare size, is 1.59mm.
4mm ($5/pair) very short 6mm ($15/pair) short 8mm ($25/pair) a little short 9.5 to 10mm ($30/pair)
11.5 to 12mm ($40/pair)
Grab bag: one random pair of each size (5 pairs total) for $100 total,
including shipping within the US!
It's like getting the three largest sizes, with the two smallest sizes thrown in for free!
Yes, you can order other items and still get the shipping for free (size and weight restrictions apply).
Shipping via this deal (normally $7) is your choice of:
Priority Mail (which automatically includes $50 worth of insurance),
or 1st class mail (with $100 worth of insurance added).
Add $5 for 1st class mail shipping to Canada (not trackable nor insured; options are available to upgrade).
Please get in touch for prices with shipping to other countries.
Those not selecting the grab bag option (prices for individual pairs as shown; shipping is additional) can have the hue and inclusion choices described over the phone and cherry picked accordingly. We have several pieces with interesting inclusions, including bugs!
Those with insect or particularly nice botanical inclusions will be sold at twice the usual prices.
The long edition (please read thoroughly!) is this:
4mm (10/64") (≤6ga) measured with just the tips of the dial calipers.
BUT measure ≤5ga in the gauge wheel, and
up to 4.8mm (12/64") (>5ga but <4ga, closer to >5ga) using the flat area of the dial calipers.
- Flares at 5.5 to 6mm (14/64" to 14.5/64") (>4ga but ≤3ga); this means the flares are proportionally large
- Lengths at 7mm (between 1/4" and 5/16"). Notes: most have small central circular marks on a least one end/face (click here and here to view images); some have flares that are not perfectly round (a little lumpy); some flares are a bit off-center; some ends/faces are not parallel; very short lengths (which makes them weigh less and thus influences the price to be much cheaper; these short lengths might also be favored for those with thinner lobes or in more narrow piercings).
6mm (14.5/64") (>3ga but <2ga) measured with just the tips of the dial calipers.
BUT measure <2ga at the gauge wheel, and
6.5mm (≥16/64" aka ≥1/4") (≤2ga) using the flat area of the dial calipers.
- Flares at 8mm (5/16" aka 20/64") (<0ga).
- Lengths at 8.5 to 9mm (between 5/16" and 3/8"). Notes: short lengths (which makes them weigh less and thus influences the price to be cheaper); a few have circular indents on their faces/ends as described above.
8mm (20/64") (<0ga) measured with just the tips of the dial calipers.
BUT measure 0ga in a gauge wheel, and
>8.5mm (≤22/64") (>0ga) using the flat area of the dial calipers.
- Flares at ≥9.5 to 10mm (≥3/8") (>00ga).
- Lengths at ≥9.5mm (≥3/8"). Notes: mild flat transition area on the wearing surfaces next to the flares; a little short in length; these are the closest to exact even gauge size in this batch.
9.5 to 10mm: (9.5mm) (≥3/8" aka 24/64") (>00ga) measured with just the tips of the dial calipers.
BUT measure ≥10mm (26/64") (between 00ga and 7/16") using the flat area of the dial calipers.
- Flares at 12mm (30/64" to 30.5/64") (between 7/16" and 1/2").
- Lengths at ≥11.6mm (29/64" to 30/64") (between 7/16" and 1/2" but a bit closer to 7/16"). Notes: flat transition area on the wearing surfaces next to the flares.
11.5 to 12mm: (29/64" aka >7/16") measured with just the tips of the dial calipers.
BUT measure ≥12mm (31/64" aka <1/2") using the flat area of the dial calipers.
- Flares at 14mm (35/64" aka <9/16").
- Lengths at 12.5 to 13mm (±1/2"). Notes: flat transition area on the wearing surfaces next to the flares.
WAIT LIST for next batch of Baltic amber plugs
Regardless if you are getting any of these pieces, now is the time to get on our wait list for our next shipment. We do not anticipate receiving more Baltic amber plugs until about the beginning of Summer. Prices will definitely be more expensive then, however, the sizing, lengths, and ratios will be improved. Getting on the wait list is the best way to guarantee you will get the sizes and quantities you need, not to mention the first pick. Please have a look at our estimated prices below for Baltic amber, and let us know the amount of pairs in each size you'd like. We will likely get up to 5/8" - any sizes larger than that MUST be requested and committed to, or it is extremely unlikely that we will be unable to fulfill these requests.
:: Older batch of Baltic amber plugs ::
We still have these pieces from our older batch of Baltic amber saddles:
These sizes are currently available in PAIRS of saddle shapes (plugs with two flares)
Please call ASAP. Order soon before they run out again, as supply is very limited!!!
6ga............................$8/pair (all our remaining 6ga are discounted from $10-$12/pair due to quality issues or slight flaws, such as minor indentations (divets), texture on the faces, not quite round flares, or >6ga with flares a bit larger than normal, at around 3ga) (also see the 4mm in our new batch above)
5ga............................$10-$12/pair (also see the 4mm in our new batch above)
<4ga or 4ga...............$12-$15/pair (just less than 4ga or 4ga, with quality issues, or singles, or...)
<4ga..........................$25/pair (ask us about the few pairs we have with neat inclusions!)
1-1/2"........................$305/pair (shown below; note this is priced at an old rate, and no retail mark-up!)
New prices would be more than double! Thus these plugs are currently quite well-priced given their size.
These sizes are currently available in SINGLE saddle shapes (plugs with two flares)
We have several singles in 7ga, 6ga, 5ga, <4ga, 4ga, >4ga, <0ga, and 1/2".
Prices for singles are half the pair price unless listed otherwise.
These are definitely singles. Two cannot be matched up to make a pair. They do not look alike.
:: Out of stock sizes of Baltic amber plugs ::
These sizes are currently OUT OF STOCK in PAIRS of Baltic amber saddle shapes
The best bet to get a pair in these sizes is to call us and ask to be placed on our waitlist...
When we get in more pieces in the larger sizes, they will most likely all be immediately reserved for people on our waitlists before they could ever make it onto this page, so if you are serious, and plan to stay at one size for awhile, please let us know! All prices listed are estimates only.
2ga...........................$25-$30/pair (but please see the 6mm in our new batch above)
0ga...........................$30-$35/pair (but please see the 8mm in our new batch above)
We have a pair of double flared clear yellow <0ga Mexican amber ($50/pair retail only - shown below)
00ga.........................$35-$40/pair (but please see the 10mm in our new batch above)
7/16"........................$40-$50/pair (but please see the 10mm and 12mm in our new batch above)
1/2"..........................$60-$70/pair (one single left) (but please see the 12mm in our new batch above)
7/8"..........................$175-$215/pair (no retail mark-up)
1".............................$235-$275/pair (no retail mark-up)
1-1/8".......................$295-$375/pair (no retail mark-up)
:: Baltic amber cylinders ::
Our current stock of Baltic amber cylinders includes the following sizes:
Available in cylinder shapes only (plugs with no flares)...
Both pairs and singles are available in most sizes!
Possibly pressed amber
4mm (≤6ga).......................$6/pair (possibly pressed amber; cosmetic light scratches on ends)
For a blown-up image of what these marks look like, please press here.
5mm (<4ga).......................$10/pair (possibly pressed amber; cosmetic light scratches on ends)
7mm (>2ga but <1ga)........$12/pair (possibly pressed amber)
7mm (+ or - 1ga)................$8/pair (with tiny holes drilled lengthwise, aka beads - bulk / quantity discounts are available for this size and style only!)
9mm (>0ga but <00ga)......$15/pair
9mm (≤00ga).....................$8/each piece (only three singles left!)
12mm (btwn 7/16" and 1/2")..$20/pair
18mm (btwn 11/16" and 3/4").$40/pair
20mm (btwn 3/4" and 13/16").$40/pair
:: Horn saddles with Baltic amber inlays ::
Horn saddles (double flared plugs) with amber or pressed amber inlays (described here):
We often have pairs in stock, usually ranging from around 3/4" up to around 1-1/4".
Silver spirals and Baltic amber drop earrings
Four pairs of amber drops with silver spirals. All around 18ga.
The silver spirals can be changed out depending on which style you prefer.
The amber easily slides off so the silver spirals can be worn on their own.
We even have 'normal' thin silver hooks if that might be of interest!
Prices range from $30-$50/pair, depending on weight and spiral chosen.
The third pair over have SOLD (which were the heaviest, and $60/pair with largest spirals).
Please note that this photo is not posted at life size.
Earrings made from thin silver spirals (around 18ga) and Baltic amber drops.
The amber easily slides off so the silver spirals can be worn on their own.
The price varies by weight. As shown, these were $56/pair and $63/pair
and have SOLD, but similar pairs are available above.
Mexican amber comes from Chiapas, and is generally a lighter yellow to orange, with wide variations of inclusions. Some pieces are transparent, while others are spotted, streaked, or mottled, or with botanical debris (dark specks of dirt or moss-like inclusions). Some specimens are so filled with inclusions that they are opaque and almost completely black. Amber fluoresces in a black light, and Mexican amber in particular gives off an amazingly bright blue-green color.
Hand carved Mexican amber saddle shaped plugs, labrets, and septum shapes are occasionally available. Please scroll down to see currently available pairs, as well as sold plugs which are posted to show the range and style of what is possible. This includes double flared saddles and single flared conch plugs with fancy carvings, such as flower and shell shapes, as well as Aztec style labrets (most with oval backing discs). Since Mexican amber is more rare than Baltic amber, and jewelry carved from it is rather hard to get, it may be some time before we have more. Please check back here, ask to be placed on our wait list, or visit the new page for updates!
Mexican amber labrets and plugs
:: IN STOCK ::
Mexican amber labrets!
Prices are per piece:
≥8ga ($25), <5ga ($25-two pieces), 4ga ($25), ≥4ga ($25-two pieces available)
Shown on it's own: 7/16" ($50).
More Mexican amber labrets! Many have bubbles, swirl flow patterns, and dark spots of organic debris.
Note that 'round' and 'oval' refers to the cross-section of the shaft itself, not the backing disc.
Front view photo shown above in sunlight with woodgrain background (not at life size);
front, side, and back view images are scanned and posted below at life size as we normally do them.
>0ga at the base and ≤00ga at the front (what we call a reverse taper) round and striped ($50),
between 00ga and 7/16" at the base and <7/16" at the front,
oval, with crazy swirl patterns, and at least one bug ($60),
between 7/16" and 1/2" very oval, browns and yellows, crazy swirl patterns, and three (!) bugs ($80),
and a huge <11/16" one with a slight reverse taper and gorgeous stripes ($75)!!!
Two views shown of a single short Mexican amber taper.
Around 5ga at the biggest part and just over 5/8" in length.
I made this long ago and forgot to post it until now! $10.
These photos are not posted at life size.
Clear yellow Mexican amber mild saddles.
≤0ga Mexican amber saddles. $50/pair retail.
This is a retail price, NOT wholesale like the rest of our offerings.
Please note that is an exception to our pricing rules; wholesale is NOT available for these.
We only usually get a few pairs a year; they are hard to obtain.
>7/16" ($50-SOLD), 1/2" ($60-SOLD),
5/8" shorter concave Baltic pressed amber ($100-SOLD),
and last but not least: 3/4" ($150 - still available)!!!
Mexican amber plugs
:: SOLD ::
All of the Mexican amber saddles shown in this section have SOLD;
however, we keep them posted here to show examples of the variations this type of amber can have.
We only rarely get more, but feel free to ask to be placed on a waitlist!
Mexican amber plugs in 6ga ($25), 4ga ($25), 2ga ($30), 0ga ($35), and 00ga ($40).
Prices are per pair. All these pairs have now SOLD.
≤0ga ($35-SOLD), 0ga ($35-SOLD),
00ga very dark ($40-SOLD), ≥00ga ($40-SOLD).
Baltic amber specimens
Natural Baltic amber drop shapes. $10/each.
These resemble the ancient poetic term for amber: 'Freya's tears.'
The first two rows have neat walnut or brain-like patterns, the others are more smooth.
Although these are not being sold by weight, for reference,
they range from 0.9 to 4.1grams (.035 to .145 ounces)/each.
Please click on this image to view one with the sold ones marked.
In the 1st row, the first has SOLD (note not yet marked on sold image).
In the 2nd row, the first and third have SOLD.
In the 3rd row, the 1st, 4th, 5th, and 6th over have SOLD.
In the 4th row, the sixth, seventh, and ninth (last) ones have SOLD.
These Baltic amber specimens have bugs!
They are in little plastic cases with magnifying tops, as shown.
The left one has a long-legged fly (Order Diptera, Family Dolichopodidae), and is $10.
The amber harkens from the Eocene and is approximately 54 million years old! More images of it are below.
The large middle one SOLD for $20, and the right specimen has also sold.
Note the white patch shown is a type of putty to stick the specimen to the box so it won't rattle around.
Here are two more images of the same amber specimen shown on the left side above.
Please click the second image to view a close-up of it's insect inclusion.
None of these images are posted at life size.
Large specimens of Baltic amber. They range in overall shapes and sizes, and
average $2/gram (with a $25 minimum). Most have lots of bubbles and inclusions.
As shown in this first image, they include:
23 grams (spider plus two flying insects) - $46 sold,
11.1 grams (one tiny bug) - $25 SOLD, and
6.1 grams (two mosquitoes?!? plus others)-SOLD.
Please click on this scan for a close-up view of the first piece.
Other raw or polished amber specimens are often available -
sometimes in Mexican or Domincan amber, too!
Polished raw copal specimens, most with bugs and other inclusions, are available for $1/gram, rounded up to the nearest whole dollar (for example, if a piece weighs 26.4 grams, the price is $27).
Great for displays!!! This is an inexpensive option and a great way to see some preserved insect specimens while avoiding the much higher cost of amber.
Copal is within the continuum of fossil tree resins: it starts as resin; several thousand years later it is considered copal; twenty million or more years later it is considered amber. The word is derived from the Nahuatl (Aztec) word copalli, meaning 'incense.' It is softer and more brittle than amber, is soluble in acetone, alcohol, or ether (a drop applied to the surface makes the copal become soft or sticky), and has a lower melting point than amber, tending to actually melt rather than burn.
Close-ups are shown above of copal specimens with insects and hollowed out twig-like inclusions.
Please click on these thumbnails to view larger images. These photos are not to scale.
These close-ups show details of some of the pieces shown in the overall image below.
Top left: Row 4C - 93.4grams
Top right: Row 3B - 35.5grams
Bottom left: Row 2C - 31.8grams
Bottom right: Row 4A - 53.9grams
Please click this thumbnail to view one posted at life size.
Both smaller and much larger pieces are available. In the order shown, we have:
1.4grams (1A - tiny piece, little flow line and tiny bits of debris)
Please note this will only be sold along with any other piece of copal due to its small size/light weight.
8.2grams (1B - insect and flecks)
9.5grams (1C - lines of bubbles, some cloudy parts)
9.8grams (1D - lots of tiny bubbles which makes it look effervescent and one insect)
12.5grams (1E - mostly clear with twig-like impression off to the side)
25.8grams (1F - bubbles of many sizes and bugs)
26.0grams (2A - at least 7 insects, bubbles, one side with an indent left unpolished - overall shape almost like the letter c)
26.4grams (2B - bugs, wing + other parts, organic debris, swirls/flow lines, some less translucent areas)
31.8grams (2C - close-up shown; with really nice twig-like inclusions)
32.5grams (3A - 2 bugs with escaping bubble, lots of neat tiny flecks/bubbles? in layers/rows)
35.5grams (3B - close-up shown; at least 6 insects, other interesting debris, twig-like hollowed out inclusion, piece is mostly transparent with some cloudy flow lines)
38.6grams (3C - cluster of at least 6 bugs near pointed end, lots of flecks, natural indent, some surface crazing)
53.9grams (4A - close-up shown - 3 insects, twigs?, bubbles, one surface left unpolished shows neat texture and patterns that are magnified by the rest of the copal)
58.0grams (4B - dense piece with insect and other dark inclusions, some opaque/cloudy areas showing flow)
93.4grams (4C - close-up shown; 3 insects near surface, some surface crazing, one unpolished side creates neat textures magnified by the rest of the copal)
As many have asked, here are some answers about availability of various types of amber products:
Colors: We do not have green amber plugs...
Incidentally, most of the green Baltic amber that is available as finished jewelry is an effect created by painting the back of an amber cabochon black, which gives the amber a greenish tint. It's a trick of refraction! Green amber does occur naturally, though rarely, in both Mexican and Baltic amber, as does many other shades such as opaque white, yellow, and black, red, green, and blue amber. We do not have plugs made out of these colors of amber, and do not anticipate being able to carry them in the future. Red, green, and blue rough amber is very expensive and it is extremely difficult to get large enough pieces without fractures to make carvings such as plugs or other body piercing jewelry, even in the small sizes. Most examples of these colors are sold as specimen pieces to collectors.
Insects: We do not normally get any plugs with bugs in them.
When found by our suppliers, these pieces are polished and sold to museums and collectors as specimens (see some of our examples in amber and copal above!).
We do not carry earplugs with insects artificially inserted in them.
Shapes: We do not carry amber spirals, CBR's, or anything with dramatic curves like c-shaped claws. Amber is just too brittle in small sizes, and these shapes would compromise it's structural soundness.
We do not carry hollow amber: thin walls are too brittle, and it's a complete waste of amber.
Consider also that to create, let's say, a spiral shape that is 1-1/4" in overall diameter (in whatever gauge), the piece of amber required would have to be as big as a chunk that could make a 1-1/4" plug.
In other words, ridiculously expensive, as amber is priced on both weight and on waste.
Beads/balls: We do not carry amber beads for CBR's or amber barbell ends with threads set in them.
Other types of amber:
Examples of Burmese amber plugs (Burmite, from Burma aka Myanmar)
have been moved over to our sold ethnic jewelry page.
Other types of amber jewelry (non-piercing):
We DO have some amber pendants and necklaces such as those found on the Twilight page, and
bracelets which can be found on the bracelets page. Both are often first showcased on the new page.
We tend to carry pieces combined with silver featuring Nordic or Celtic designs.
Jet: We also carry some examples of jet jewelry.
Jet (aka lignite) is a type of highly mineralized wood, largely made up of carbon which imparts a rich black color. Indeed, this is the material that started the phrase 'jet black.' Amber deposits have been found in jet, leading some to believe that in these examples, the jet was formed from the wood of the actual tree that produced the amber. Neat! It's pretty hard to classify... it's no longer wood, yet it has not quite petrified to be thus deemed stone (the cells have not been completely replaced by minerals). It is most closely related to coal, and yet it is often intimately associated with amber, sometimes even being called black amber.
A beautiful enigma!