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Is Your Amber Teething Necklace A Fake?

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Is your child's teething necklace a fake? Here are three simple tests you can do at home to find out.

Have you ever wondered which teething remedies work

. . . and which ones are just quackery? Baltic amber necklaces may seem silly, but actually the way they work is pretty simple. Amber resin contains succinic acid, a natural analgesic that is released when warm skin touches the beads.

Unfortunately baltic amber is pretty easy to counterfeit, so if you’ve found your baby’s amber necklace doesn’t work it may not be authentic. If your necklace is cool to the touch like glass, it’s counterfeit. However, if it’s warm or neutral it could be plastic, a young tree resin called copal, or another material. If you’re not sure the necklace you bought is authentic, try one of these simple tests:

Is your child's teething necklace a fake? Here are three simple tests you can do at home to find out.

How To Spot A Fake Amber Teething Necklace

The Heat Test

This tip comes from Dana Seilhan, who shared it on this thread. (Thanks Dana!) Basically, you want to touch a bead to something very hot to release it’s fragrance. As Dana put it, “If you smell pine resin, it’s amber. If you smell burning plastic… well. ” Of course, if it’s glass it may not smell like anything at all . . . what you’re looking for is the pine smell. 

After looking around on different jewelers websites and such, I found that most recommend this method:

Heat Test: Heat a needle point in a flame until it is very hot (after a long while with a long-handled kitchen lighter I finally got mine to glow a little), then touch the tip of the needle to a bead in a non-obvious area. If it smells like pine resin – aka a Christmas tree – it’s likely to be true baltic amber. Now, the smell is not necessarily particularly pleasant and could be confused with plastic for that reason. What you’re looking for is a pine odor within the overall fragrance – that’s the key. Please be aware that you will have a small hole and maybe a little discoloration where the pin was placed.

What if it doesn’t have much of a smell at all? If you’ve been using the necklace for awhile it’s possible that it is genuine amber that has lost potency. On the other hand if you do smell pine, there’s a possibility that it’s something other than amber. Copal is an immature tree resin that smells like amber but doesn’t have it’s properties. Fortunately, the next test can help you distinguish between amber and copal.

The Rubbing Test

“This is the simplest and safest test,” writes DragonFly amber. Wrap the necklace in a soft cloth and rub rub rub – if it’s true amber it will become electrostatically charged enough to pick up small pieces of paper. Copal will not take on an electrostatic charge and may become sticky. (source)

The Alcohol Test

Both copal and plastic will deteriorate when they come into contact with a solvent. (source)  “Plastics are quickly attacked by alcohol (95% ethyl alcohol), acetone (100%), and ether. A few drops of acetone (fingernail polish remover) or alcohol dripped over the surface of the piece will reveal if it holds up to the solvent. If the surface becomes tacky, it’s not amber. Amber will not feel tacky or dissolve under these solvents.” (source) Because my “natural” nail polish remover is acetone-free, I did not do this test. Perhaps the vodka I keep on hand for making vanilla and mint extract – I’m not sure. Also, glass will not be affected by the alcohol test, but it will fail the saltwater test.

The Saltwater Test

Amber is so light that it will float in salt water. To test your necklace, mix together a solution of 1 part salt to 2 parts water. (For example, you could use 1/3 cup salt to 2/3 cup water.) Dissolve the salt completely and drop your necklace in the mixture. Plastic and glass will sink, true baltic amber and some types of copal will float. If you’re not sure whether your necklace is amber or copal, try the rubbing test.

Is your child's teething necklace a fake? Here are three simple tests you can do at home to find out.

Where Can I Find Genuine Baltic Amber Necklaces?

I’ve misplaced several necklaces over the course of raising three babies. I would order another one and then later find the lost one, so I have a bit of a “stash” from several companies.

When you’re shopping around keep in mind that some say amber which is light in color contains the most succinic acid. Also, necklaces are not “supposed” to be worn at night, but obviously that’s when babies are usually most uncomfortable when teething. Many moms leave them on all the time (except bathtime) and just make sure that the necklace fits snugly so that it’s not likely to get caught on anything. Other moms wrap it around a wrist or ankle instead, though those areas tend not to generate quite as much warmth. Here’s what I personally look for in a necklace:

Safety knotted – The necklace is knotted between every bead to prevent beads from spilling everywhere should the string break

Tension release clasp – The necklace has a clasp that will break under pressure for safety reasons.

I’ve purchased from this company and this company on Amazon. I’ve also bought some locally that were good. All have been authentic except the one that I purchased for myself – oops!

Have you ever used an amber teething necklace with your little one? How did it work for you?

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36 Responses to Is Your Amber Teething Necklace A Fake?

  1. Monica says:

    I think it’s in your teething remedies post where you link to an Inspired by Finn necklace. I remember you talking about the different colors they offered, and that’s where I bought my first necklace for my daughter based in your recommendation. Are theirs fake? It seemed to help my daughter, but I recently bought another one because she was having a HORRIBLE time with the 2 year molars. I’ve definitely noticed a difference this time.

    • Mia says:

      I had the same experience. Bought a necklace from Inspired by Finn when I read a post by Mommypotamus. Terrible experience with molars. I’d also like to know if Inspired by Finn is authentic

      • Heather says:

        Oh, I wish I still had my Inspired by Finn ones to test. They were the ones I lost, unfortunately. I do think they were authentic. but I wonder if maybe they lose potency over time as more and more succinic acid is released.

        • Monica says:

          Yes it definitely worked at first. Wouldn’t any necklace wear out over time?

        • Nicki Woller says:

          i just did a few tests on my 2 year old inspired by finn one that my 18 month old is wearing and it passed all of them! :) the only one that didnt seem to work really well was the rubbing test. it didnt pick up the small piece of paper but did cling to itself with a small charge. hope this helps!

        • Terri says:

          I was told that the necklaces seem to wear out but really they just need to be cleaned because the daily oils and pollution get to them and don’t react with the body anymore. They told me to clean it every so often but I don’t remembed what with. But also letting it sit in the sun would do the same thing and reactivate the resin. Hope that helps.

      • Danica says:

        I know Kate. She wouldn’t sell fake amber and is an awesome person.

    • Amanda @ Mommypotamus Support says:

      Monica, Heather wishes she still had her Inspired by Finn ones to test. They were the ones she lost, unfortunately. She does think they were authentic. But she wonders if maybe they lose potency over time as more and more succinic acid is released.

  2. Nava Mom says:

    Thanks for the post! Just in time, as I am leaving to buy an amber teething necklace in an hour or so!!! Good things to look for!

  3. Carol says:

    I loved the teething necklace for my son (now 3yrs old). He has a high tolerance for pain and the necklace made teething a non event. Seriously I didn’t know he was teething until I saw teeth. With my daughter (1yr old) teething hurts a lot more. The necklace does help quite a bit. In both exeriences the necklace takes about 2-3 days to “kick in” and defiantly takes the edge off of teething. The new one I bought for my daughter didn’t work at all so found my sons and it still worked. Wonder is the one I got my daughter was a fake. I did notice the difference between one necklace working and not the other. So I do believe that they are helpful with pain.

  4. Ashley says:

    Great article! I am a stay at home mom of 2 little boys and I make/sell authentic Baltic amber & hazelwood teething jewelry. I get my amber straight from the Baltic Sea coast in Lithuania. My hazelwood comes from Canada. Both are their places of origin. Please feel free to check out my Etsy shop for all you Baltic amber needs! I also make Baltic amber/hazelwood adult jewelry!

  5. Tanya says:

    Thanks for this post! I just started using an amber necklace by The Art of Cure. I definitely think it has been helping.

  6. Natasha says:

    It’s interesting to read the comments in regard to Inspired by Finn. I was recommend to try them for a teething necklace. I didn’t get mine until my daughter molars were just starting to come in. Unfortunately I would not be home for a month & couldn’t get it shipped to me. I was shopping at a local baby boutique and noticed they had some so I thought, “what the heck, why not”. I forget the name of the company that made them but the shop owners had a great response to them from other moms & had reordered from that company several times. What a difference it made!!!!!
    This past Feb I had to get another one as I had misplaced the original. Luckily I have Amazon Prime so I decided this time to order one from Inspired by Finn as it did come so recommended. Well, it didn’t work!!! I felt so bad for my daughter! I searched high and low for the original & finally found it. I put it back on her and voile- perfect! She is still getting teeth in & this time I make sure I do not lose it.

  7. […] You can also get them from The Nappy Shoppe if you don’t have a place locally.  Check out this post to make sure they’re aren’t […]

  8. Jessica says:

    Does anyone know if BornSavage sells real or fake baltic amber teething beads?

  9. Angi says:

    Thanks for the post Heather! I am pretty sure the necklace I purchased is real, but I am going to do a test as soon as my baby wakes from his nap. I am in the camp of putting the necklace around his ankle at night, but it’s mostly just because his neck is SO fat that it “eats” the necklace, and pulls it tight against his neck in the front. I do know that the necklaces lose their effectiveness over time, so around the two year old molar time, it makes sense that a new necklace would work better.

  10. melanie says:

    Im so disapointed :-( i ordered 2 inspired by finn for help my migraine …. i didnt receved Yep but is à chance that they are not real !!!! somebody have it and know if they are ???

  11. Brooke says:

    Does anyone know if Spark of Amber is fake? I bought some from them, one for myself even, and I don’t notice any pain reduction in my lower back. I never smell anything when its on me. Does the heat source need to be really hot or will you smell pine from your body heat being on it?

  12. Carie says:

    I just can’t find any research that says these work.

    • CK says:

      There isn’t any. I bet there are just as many fake necklaces that ‘work’ as there are real ones. In my opinion.

      They are potentially dangerous to a baby, why test fate?

  13. dianthe says:

    all of my babies have worn amber necklaces from Inspired By Finn – 3rd baby is wearing one now – i swear by them and IBF is the only place i’ve ever purchased from

  14. Em says:

    Heather, your sweet boy is so cute. Perfect model for the amber necklace!

  15. Dee Dee says:

    What age is your child when you put this necklace on? The info said not for children under 3 years of age.

    • CK says:

      There are many warnings about these necklaces. They are a strangulation and choking hazard. You should never put anything around a baby’s neck!

  16. Michelle says:

    Great article, thanks for posting! I make and sell Amber & Hazelwood necklaces and always do the salt and burn test with all my batches I receive from Lithuania. I think I’ll start doing the static one too for now on! My company is AmberBelle Beads ( if anyone is interested, not sure if that is too spammy for this feel free to delete if so!

  17. Alicia says:

    I’ve been using one on my 15mo old, and what I’ve noticed is nightime wakeups and more chewing on thumbs where his molars are coming in, when he does not wear it. I’m ok with it being on at night since it has the safety clasp, but the thing with my son is for the last 3 weeks or so, every single time he’s in bed, he rips it off! He does it for fun and throws it behind his crib. I’ve sent my 3yo or 5yo under the crib many times to fetch it out…

    So I wish it was shorter to be more like a choker length so he can’t grab it.

  18. Amanda says:

    Have you tested hazelaid?

  19. courtney says:

    Awesome post, I always try the salt test and the hot pin test when I get a new batch of amber in :) it’s scary how many fake beads there are out there. I make amber and hazelwood combo necklaces, and idea on how people can test the amber on a combination necklaces without damaging the wood? Obviously the salt water test won’t work because of the weight of the wood and the heat test may burn the wood bead next to it. Any ideas?

    For anyone looking for a hazelwood and amber combo my company name is Pixie and Me Diapers, based in Canada :)

  20. casandra says:

    I have 6 kids and would NEVER put anything around the neck. Js

  21. jessica says:

    What kind of necklace is best, honey, raw, etc?

  22. Chelle says:

    You mention you purchased from two companies, but they both link to what seems to be Art of Cure on amazon?… Is this a mistake?… I just got one from Art of Cure and am pretty sure it’s fake! (Not saying anything about your recommendation… I realize that companies, especially those that do not mine themselves, could be sold fakes or sell fakes sometimes… sad.) But just thought to ask and also let you know!

  23. nicole says:

    I bought 2 from and they are both real :)

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