The Scoop on Raw Amber

Updated: Nov 6, 2021

Raw Unpolished Amber in it's natural state

Today we’re going to debunk some amber myths and set the facts straight about “raw” amber! We are asked all the time, “Are the beads you use raw amber?” Guess what? There is NO such thing as raw amber beads! For amber to be truly raw, it has to be in its natural, untouched state. This means, no shaping, polishing, or enhancing of any kind. Even just drilling the hole through a bead creates heat with the drill bit. So no, absolutely no amber beads are EVER truly raw! This is why you will always see us mention raw in quotes, because we believe education about this little know commodity in the natural healing world is key!

Also to be considered, is that the amber doesn’t wash up on the shore in perfectly round bead shape. Of course not! It must be shaped into nugget, baroque, round, beans… you name it. The process of shaping the beads also creates heat, further proving that amber beads cannot be truly “raw”.

"Okay Funky Birdie, I know I’ve seen amber jewelry that looks rougher and less smooth. If “raw” amber isn’t a thing, what’s up with this type of jewelry?" Well, we are glad you asked! While these types of beads are not raw amber, they are indeed unpolished. Once the beads are drilled and shaped, some amber bead makers stop there. These are unpolished amber beads. Other beads get smoothed down with a finer grit to create a shiny surface on the bead which reveals the vibrant colors of the amber within. These are polished amber beads. So when we are talking about amber, you have the choice between polished and unpolished amber beads to choose between.

"Why is “raw” such a big deal anyway?" There are those in the amber community out there that purport that “raw” is stronger or more powerful for pain relief than polished amber. The belief was that the heat created from polishing the beads effects the succinic acid (the pain relieving compound) within the amber. But like I talked about earlier, we already know that both polished and unpolished amber have been exposed to heat as the beads are created...and we KNOW they still work just as well! "What is important to know when you need the strongest pain relief from your amber?" The key to the best pain relief results from your amber is that you need to be sure you are using genuine Baltic amber. Amber comes from all over the world, but it’s only Baltic amber that contains up to 11% succinic acid, making it truly therapeutic in terms of pain relief. This is why we at Funky Birdie Amber import all of our beads personally, and use only verified authentic suppliers. We test each batch to be certain it’s genuine amber. We never use copals, plastics, pressed, or reconstituted amber. These beads, while pretty, are NOT therapeutic for pain relief. So, to recap: When you are choosing the finish of your amber jewelry-polished or unpolished - it's completely up to you! Choose the look you love. If you love the brighter, truer colors and shiny finish, polished is for you. If you prefer a softer, more rustic look, unpolished may be your jam! Or if you can’t decide? GET ONE OF EACH!

We're excited to announce that soon we've added unpolished Baltic amber beads to our countless jewelry options! Want your jewelry with unpolished/"raw" amber? Simply put a note in your order, or send us a message!

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