We're always getting emails and messages asking if our Baltic amber is 'Raw'.
Here is what real 'Raw' baltic amber looks like:
(That's a shot from when we visited our Baltic amber workshop in Lithuania. You can check out the rest of the pictures from our visit tapping here.)
Raw Baltic amber isn't something you could safely wear or put on your child. It has too many hard and (potentially sharp) edges. As a result, no one makes or sells actually 'Raw' Baltic amber teething jewelry (in the correct sense of the word).
However that's not what most people mean when they say 'Raw' amber. What they really mean to ask is if the Baltic amber is 'Semi-Polish' (as opposed to being 'Full-Polish').
Let's take a moment to look at each of these:
What Is Semi-Polish Baltic Amber?
Semi-Polish Baltic amber is amber that has only gone through one polishing step, usually in a machine that looks like this (also from our trip):
The end result is a bead that has a smokey look, sort of like frosted glass:
Some people really like this look, but more traditionally there is a desire for the amber to be full-polish.
What is Full-Polish Baltic Amber?
Full-Polish Baltic amber goes through an additional by-hand polishing step:
(Don't worry. our workshop doesn't use child-labor! That's one of our daughters trying it out. And yes, no safety goggles...oops!)
The end result is a bead that is more clear, and glassy looking:
You can usually see into and through the bead (which also allows you to see anything trapped* inside).
*No, we have never found any cool bugs trapped in our amber. :)
Why is Semi-Polish (or 'Raw') Baltic Amber better?
It appears that polishing the Baltic amber reduces its effectiveness in terms of the (theoretical) pain & inflammation fighting effects. So any color of amber that is semi-polished is going to be slightly more powerful than its full-polish counterpart.
Here's a rundown of the naming we use for each bead pairing:
SEMI-POLISH / FULL-POLISH
Super Butter / Milk & Butter
Lemondrop / Lemon
Cinnamon / Honey
Nutmeg / Dark Cognac
Coffee / Dark Cherry
Asteroid / Dark Green
And now you know all of our Baltic amber naming secrets! :)