ORGANIC: Natural Body Jewelry

Amber

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:: All prices listed are wholesale to shops :: Retail prices to individuals are twice those listed ::

*close up Baltic amber specimen*
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 pieces of 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:

:: BALTIC AMBER SADDLE SHAPED PLUGS  ::  BALTIC AMBER CYLINDER SHAPED PLUGS ::
:: MEXICAN AMBER PLUGS and LABRETS  ::  OLD BURMESE AMBER PLUGS ::
:: BALTIC AMBER SPECIMENS :: COPAL SPECIMENS ::

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. 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

Baltic amber saddles and cylinders are generally a scrumptious dark honey color, sometimes referred to as "cognac" colored. They are translucent, and most 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.

*Baltic amber saddles double flare ear plugs*

*new Baltic amber saddles flared ear plugs*

Note the different hues: amber plugs can vary quite a bit! 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 (succinite).
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.

Our current stock of Baltic amber saddles includes the following:

  • 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)
    • 5ga..............................$10-$12/pair
    • <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.

    *inch and half 1-1/2 Baltic amber plugs*

  • 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.
  • These sizes are currently OUT OF STOCK in PAIRS of 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............................$16-$20/pair
    • 0ga............................$23-$25/pair (<0ga singles left for $9/each; one is oval)
      We do have a pair of double flared clear yellow <0ga Mexican amber ($50/pair retail only - shown below)
    • 00ga.........................$25-$30/pair
    • 7/16"........................$40-$50/pair
    • 1/2"..........................$60-$65/pair (one single left)
    • 9/16"........................$75-$80/pair
    • 5/8"..........................$90-$100/pair
    • 3/4"...........................$110-$155/pair
    • 7/8"...........................$165-$215/pair (no retail mark-up)
    • 1"..............................$225-$275/pair (no retail mark-up)
    • 1-1/8".......................$285-$375/pair (no retail mark-up)

    *horn saddles with amber inlays over and under one inch plugs*
    *3 pairs horn plugs faceted amber inlay*

  • 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".

*Baltic amber cylinders plugs*

Our current stock of Baltic amber cylinders includes the following:

  • These sizes are currently available in cylinder shapes (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)
  • Regular amber
    • 7mm (+ or - 1ga).....................$8/pair (with tiny holes drilled lengthwise, aka beads)
    • 8mm (≤0ga)............................$12/pair
    • 9mm (>0ga but <00ga)...........$15/pair
    • 9mm (≤00ga)..........................$8/each piece (only three singles left!)
    • 12mm (btwn 7/16" and 1/2")..$20/pair
  • Pressed amber
    • 14mm (9/16").........................$30/pair
    • 18mm (btwn 11/16" and 3/4").$40/pair
    • 20mm (btwn 3/4" and 13/16").$40/pair

Silver spirals and Baltic amber drop earrings

*Baltic amber silver spirals drops earrings*

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 are $56/pair and $63/pair
and have SOLD, but similar pair are available.

*wholesale versus retail prices reminder*

Mexican amber

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!

Carved Mexican amber plugs and labrets
:: IN STOCK ::

*8 Mexican amber labrets*

NEW Mexican amber labrets!
Prices are per piece
9ga ($20-SOLD), 8ga ($25), ≥8ga ($25),
<5ga ($25-two pieces), 4ga ($25), ≥4ga ($25-two pieces available)
NOT SHOWN: 7/16" ($50)

*7 Mexican Chiapas amber labrets lip plugs*

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.

*7 Mexican Chiapas amber labrets lip plugs*
*7 Mexican Chiapas amber labrets lip plugs*
*7 Mexican Chiapas amber labrets lip plugs*

<4ga light yellow with subtle swirl, round with diamond shaped back ($25-SOLD),
>4ga but <3ga clear light yellow round ($25-SOLD),
>2ga clear medium yellow oval ($30-SOLD),
>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 1/2" and 9/16" 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)!!!

*5ga 4ga 3ga 2ga Mexican amber saddles*
*5ga 4ga 3ga 2ga Mexican amber saddles*

NEW Mexican amber double flared plugs in a wide range of hues!
≤5ga ($20), ±5ga ($20),
≥4ga ($25), >4ga ($25),
2ga ($30), ≥2ga ($30-SOLD),

*0ga 00ga Mexican amber plugs ENDS*
*0ga 00ga Mexican amber plugs SIDES*

≤0ga ($35), 0ga ($35),
00ga very dark ($40), ≥00ga ($40-SOLD),

*bigger Mexican amber plugs ENDS*
*bigger Mexican amber plugs SIDES*

>7/16" ($50-SOLD), 1/2" ($60-SOLD),
5/8" shorter concave Baltic pressed amber ($100),
and 3/4" ($150)!!!

*0ga zero gauge clear yellow Mexican amber saddles plugs*

Clear yellow Mexican amber mild saddles.
<0ga Mexican amber saddles. This pair plus another not shown. $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.

*0ga Mexican amber yin-yang*

A pair of 0ga yellow Mexican amber one-flares with yin-yangs carved onto the fronts. $60/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.


Not shown: 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.

Carved Mexican amber plugs
:: SOLD ::

*Mexican amber plugs*

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 6ga 00ga*

Mexican amber plugs in 6ga ($25), 4ga ($25), 2ga ($30), 0ga ($35), and 00ga ($40).
Prices are per pair. These pairs have now SOLD.

*wholesale versus retail prices reminder*

Old Burmese amber plugs

Old Burmese amber (Burmite) plugs include patlokan in traditional shapes similar to giant crayons.
These are usually attributed to the Hkakhu tribe of Burma. Shorter examples with flat ends are shown below.

*Assam Burmite burmese amber ear plugs*

Old Burmese amber plugs, collected from Assam.
Rare examples of authentic tribal body jewelry made from amber.
Between 1/2" and 9/16". $80/pair.

*wholesale versus retail prices reminder*

Baltic amber specimens

*Freya's tears natural amber drop shapes*

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.

*Baltic amber specimens*

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!

*Baltic amber specimens*

Tiny amber pieces with insect inclusions, in small magnifying boxes. $8/each.
Please click on the image above to view one posted at approximately 4X life-size to show detail.
A neat little bug is found inside each one!

*Baltic amber specimens bugs insects magnify magnified*

These Baltic amber specimens have bugs! They are in little plastic cases with magnifying tops, as shown.
The small ones are $10/each (the right one has a long-legged fly), while the large one has SOLD for $20.
Note the white patch shown is a type of putty to stick the specimen to the box so it won't rattle around.

Copal specimens

Polished raw copal specimens, most with bugs and other inclusions, are available for $1/gram.
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.

*copal specimens with bugs insects* *copal specimens with bugs insects*
*copal specimens with bugs insects* *copal specimens with bugs insects*

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 with twig-like inclusions: Row 2C - 31.8grams
Bottom right: Row 4A - 53.9grams

*Columbian copal specimens with bug bugs insect insects inclusions*

Both smaller and much larger pieces are available as shown.
Please click this thumbnail to view one posted at life size.
In the order shown, we have:
Row 1: 1.4grams, 8.2grams, 9.5grams, 9.8grams, 12.5grams, 25.8grams.
Row 2: 26.0grams, 26.4grams, 31.8grams (close-up shown; with twig-like inclusions),
Row 3: 32.5grams, 35.5grams (close-up shown), 38.6grams,
Row 4: 53.9grams (close-up shown), 58grams, and 93.4grams (close-up shown).

*wholesale versus retail prices reminder*

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 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!



:: All prices listed are wholesale to shops :: Retail prices to individuals are twice those listed ::

Home | Download Catalog | Newly Acquired Jewelry |
Amber | Bamboo | Horn and Bone | Stone | Hardwood | New Silver and Bronze | Ethnic Jewelry |
Labrets and Septums | Bracelets | Other Goodies | Twilight | Photo Gallery | Links and Books |
Ordering Information | Size | Care Instructions | Material Information | About Us | Contact Organic

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:: Website created by Erica Skadsen on 1 July 1997 ::
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*red dayak flower*