What is Copal?

The Aztec word “copal” (Nahuatl: copalli) refers to all tree resins -old or young- that have been employed as amber incense over the centuries. Consequently, from this etymological point of view, it turns most ambers, also the ‘famous’ Baltic or the almost equal old Dominican amber, into Copal, because they are used for incense even today. LOL.

But for lack of a better word, in modern times “Copal” is used to refer to semi-fossilized amber resins or sub-fossil amber. Basically, “copal” is “young amber” and amber” is “old copal”.

Where is the age limit? There is much theory and commercial interest. Some set the limit at 20 million years, others earlier.

Fact is, we have no dates or specific geological information on Colombian copal or Colombian amber. Because of it’s color and hardness, some scientists believe it may be Pliocene or Pleistocene, probably about 2 to 3 million years old, in some regions even up to 16 million years old, but in others much, much younger (Santander) and may only count with some thousands, or some hundreds of years.

But opinions, theories and scientific researches and their methods vary. For example, Terrance M. Allen (Entomologist, Archeologist, Practicing Paleontologist, and Factotum Naturalist ) writes: “I believe, based on the fact that stellate oak (floral) hair (Family: Faqaceae, Genua: Quercus sp.) was discovered in Colombian copal/amber by this author (T.M. Allen, April 2010), and that stellate oak hair is used as an indicator fossil species found in Dominican Amber, Chiapas (Mexico) Amber, and Baltic Amber scientifically aged to be 20 million, 25 million, and 40 million years old respectively, that some Colombian copal / amber can be dated to be approximately 20 million years of age and can be termed to be true fossilized “Colombian Amber”. (Or too, maybe stellate oak hair is a more recent product of the flora kingdom than originally thought.) All debates aside, about whether “fossilized” tree or plant resins from different or designated localities around the world should be termed “amber” or “copal”, as long as it is qualified and recorded as to where the samples of prehistoric resins originate, the arthropod (and other faunal) and plant inclusions are all valuable scientific specimens and are direct evidence and indicators as the the history and evolution of life on Earth”. (T.M. Allen)  May 3, 2010. Revised November 30, 2010.


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Inclusions in Copal

Colombian amber was NOT the inspiration for the Hollywood movie “Jurassic Park”. The amber used was Dominican Amber.

 See: http://www.amberinclusions.com 

But, it is a fact that the most fossiliferous amber originates in Colombia, albeit it has become fairly widespread that all fossil resin from Colombia is called copal.

The amber versus copal distinction is lost on many geologists and paleontologists that are aware that scientific data is unavailable to determine the age of fossil resins from this region. The consensus age estimate seems to be Pleistocene (up to 2 million years old), but estimates range to the Lower Miocene (about 20 million years old).  

Dr. Robert E. WoodruffEmeritus Taxonomist, Florida State Collection of Arthropods writes: “Mankind (depending on the anthropologist’s definition thereof) has been on earth only 3-5 million years. Certainly the Olduvai specimens are fossils (both men & animals) and extremely valuable for study of human evolution. If we assume the Colombian amber is this recent, it still has extremely important value for those studying the fossils. Studies of biodiversity, biogeography, ecology, and evolution, all benefit from the scientific description of these amber fossils. 

Age is relative, the old man said, but old is not necessarily better. To call the Colombian material anything other than amber is a misnomer! Logically, we should just call everything “resin”, with qualifying adjectives of origin or geological formation. I doubt that this would be acceptable to most “amber” dealers!”

 Therefore, you might find spectacular types and concentrations of inclusions in copal for less money and we can offer you copal that is loaded with fascinating inclusions for only a fraction of what you would pay for equal specimen in “old” amber.

What kinds of inclusions can be found?

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Buy Copal

We always have available raw copal or rough copal (or raw amber or rough amber). We offer quite a few large specimens, a lot of medium size chunks and tons of smaller pieces. Therefore, besides specific specimens as single items, basically, we mainly wholesale. 

There are many uses for type of Colombian Copal i.e. jewelry and industrial uses and all kinds of purposes. We offer wholesale quantities of clean and of crystallized, of fossiliferous and of polished Colombian copal. Our Colombian warehouse has large inventories for immediate orders.

Through our reliable contacts to the mines, we provide constant supply and high quality and ship directly from Colombia. As a direct supplier we can save you money and help you maximize profit. We know country and people, we speak their and your language, we know your needs and the market. We are your contact for best quality Colombian copal.

We also offer what is called on the market ” Caribbean Amber ”  and ” Green Caribbean Amber “, also ” green amber “. There is natural green amber in the Caribbean, of course, in the Dominican Republic. And Ambarazul, LLC, our main company also sells it. But what we offer on this website is enhanced Colombian Copal, which also can be turned into beautiful beads and gems.

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