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Colombian Copal - Colombian Amber

Where is the age limit?


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

We have no dates or specific geological information on Colombian copal. 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 hundreds of years. Besides the age difference, the basic fact is that copal is softer than what is commonly known as "real amber" since it has not gone through a timely extended stage of polymerization.

Nevertheless, even if we assume that Colombian Copal is only 2 to 3 million years old or younger, it still is extremely important to study biodiversity, biogeography, ecology and other related subjects based on its inclusions. Others are aware of its use for jewelry or industrial purposes.

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.

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Colombian Amber/Copal Collection

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In 1891, H. Beck developed a method of hardening natural resins. (British Patent No. 9747). In 1911, F . Spiller developed a method of processing copal into an amber-like material. (German Patent 247734). Today, by means of thermal treatment in an autoclave copal can gradually be hardened. It becomes comparable to amber in terms of hardness and processing viability, while the gemstones made of it are deceptively similar to amber. Hardened copal can also be dyed and sparkles can be introduced. When amber (copal) products are treated, they can assume the colours of honey amber, geen, golden or cognac. There are companies that brought on the market what they call "Caribbean Amber". It probably is Colombian Copal treated in one way or another. Like in the case of enhanced Baltic amber, we think this is fine, as long as the customer is made aware of it. Most of the Colombian amber / copal is found in the department of Santander. Santander is located in the central northern part of Colombia, east of the Magdalena River, in the north of the Eastern Mountain Range of the Colombian Andes. Its capital city is Bucaramanga. Santander was inhabited by Amerindian ethnic groups. Yes it is soft H1.5. Just using several grits of wet sandpaper, finest wet emery nail board and dry polishing cloth. I let the finished amber (copal) alone on the table until a few minutes without touching so the polished surface will hardened again. 'Baby oil' can be smear on its to prevent crazing and retain polished surface from frequent touching. I usually don't use any treatment on the surface because I want the natural feeling of the resin. We do not know whether copal was used as incense as it was the case with the Amerindian tribes of Mexico, but it seems to be a reasonable assumption. We are your contact for best quality Colombian amber/copal.