Frequently Asked Questions
Questions: >>>Are you selling green Amber or Copal?
>>>What mines does the green Amber come from?
>>>Can those mines be visited by the public?
>>>Is the export of rough amber from the Domincan Republic permitted?
>>>Do you only wholesale?
>>>How do I become a Wholesale Customer?
>>>How do you ship?
>>>How do I pay?
>>>Can I return the goods if they are faulty?
>>>What are products marked as Custom Order Items?
>>>How do I know that the amber is real and not unnatural or even fake?
>>>What is the purpose of the item descriptions in the catalog?
>>>Is a large piece of rough green amber exactly the same color all the way?
>>>Why are items made with Dominican green amber more expensive?
>>>How do I take care of my amber ?
>>>What payment options do I have ?
Answers: Are you selling green amber or copal?
Although it is not the original meaning of the Aztec word, in modern times "Copal" is used to refer to semi-fossilized resins or sub-fossil amber. So, basically "copal" is "young amber" and "amber" is "old copal".
In order to respect the commonly accepted rules, we want to reserve the word "amber" for 'really' ancient tree resins and "copal" for more recent ones. If you are ordering amber (old amber), we sell you amber. If you order Copal from us, we sell Copal (young amber). We don't mix, we don't enhance. We offer Copal from Colombia, and Copal from the Dominican Republic, which usually is older than the Colombian Copal.
From what mines does your green amber come?
The green amber we sell comes mainly from the central mountain range near Santiago, from the mines of Palo Quemado, La Bucara, Los Cacaos, La Toca, as well as Palo Alto. On occasion we do also get amber from other mines, if the quality reaches our standard. If you want amber from specific mines, please let us know and we will do our best to provide this.
Can those mines be visited by the public?
Dominican amber mines are commonly not open to the public. In most cases, the access and even the way to the mines is very dangerous. There is no security or insurance and no guide can be provided.
In most cases, the land where the mines are located is privately owned. The miners themselves have no authorization to sell directly to the public without the consent of the owners of the land. If they are caught doing so, they might face prosecution by law or even imprisonment or at least being expelled from the mine. For the above reasons, we do not offer tours to the mines.
Is the export of rough or raw amber from the Domincan Republic permitted?
The export of amber is not permitted unless it had been partially worked by native artisans. The purpose of these restrictions is to protect the national amber industry and their artisans. You will want to buy from reputable providers who are aware and respect the requirements as provided by the law.
We also recommend the use of official transport operators that handle your goods in a responsible way. Travelers, who are caught smuggling might get their goods confiscated and/or be liable to pay a penalty.
Do you only wholesale?
We do wholesale and retail. All prices shown on our catalog are retail prices.
How do I become a Wholesale Customer?
To apply for a wholsale account, please register giving us information about your business activities and company details (i.e. valid resale number, VAT number or equivalent identification as a wholesale customer). You will receive an Activation Key to log into your account and receive our generous wolesale discounts.
A wholesale customer is a customer who buys merchandise to resell to others, such as a crafts person or artist. On our online shop for example, beads and cabochons as well as rough amber are often purchased to make jewelry which is sold at local craft fairs and retail stores.
Those interested in making large amounts of jewelry will need larger amounts of supplies, and therefore we also offer price-breaks on bulk purchasing.
How do you ship?
We ship on a FOB (Free On Board) basis. The customer is responsible for the freight after it has been turned over to the shipping agency. Please have in mind that we ship from the Dominican Republic and freight rates are rather high since shipped by courier. We prefer to use UPS, in order to make sure you get what you order in the conditions it was meant to be, but we also use other carriers of your preference. There are minimum freight rates and in case of single pieces or smaller quantities and you will have to decide whether it is worthwhile for you.
How do I pay?
We accept pre-payment by telegraphic transfer, PayPal and major credit cards through PayPal. Please read the corresponding information on our catalog.
Can I return the goods if they are faulty?
Should you, in spite of our sincere efforts, receive a faulty product, we will find a way to either refund you the payment or send you satisfying goods. Please do not send anything back to us without previous agreement. Dominican custom officers are not easy to please and we might have difficulties to receive what you send to us without very high expenses on tax and/or similar costs. We will not reimburse you if you have sent back anything without our explicit consent. To the contrary, we might have to charge additional costs. On the other hand, we try our best to keep you satisfied with our service.
For this reason we are very careful to send you what you have ordered in the quality you have ordered being aware of the delicate situation. We want to do our utmost to gain your trust and have you as a happy long-time customer.
What are products marked as Custom Order Items?
Since all of our amber is natural and original, we never have standard and 100 % uniform items. No piece of amber that is found in the mines is exactly like the other. Sometimes we have similar items as you see in the catalog on stock, but most Custom Order Items will have to be made specifially for you.
When you order, please let us know how you expect your product to be and what details are important to you. We are very interested to satisfy our customers as much as it is possible within the limits nature gives us.
How I know that the amber is real and not unnatural or even fake?
A renowned scientist, Prof. Dr. Mark R. Mayer answers: 'First of all, beware of pieces that are too uniform or too perfect. Amberization involves processes that result in imperfection in pieces, imperfections that often give amber its personality. So, bubbles, plant debris, clouds, inner layers, cracks and fissures, insect parts, opacities, swirls and stress lines are present to some degree in most pieces and can help verify authenticity. Beware, for example, of a necklace of perfectly matched, transparent beads -- that would be most unlikely.
Insect inclusions that appear flawless or perfectly placed are also suspect, since most insects and animals entombed in amber show signs of struggle and attempts to flee before dying.
Free pieces of amber (obviously not mounted jewelry!!) are buoyant and will float in a saturated salt solution (15.4 grams of salt dissolved in 100 ml of water), similar to its behavior in sea water. But beware -- although some synthetics will sink in the salt water test, by no means all will.'
How do I take care of my amber?
Amber is a natural resin. It is no mineral and no cold "stone". It is biological... almost still alive. It is very special. Therefore it should be treated as such, with care and love.
Do not expose amber to extreme or widely fluctuating temperatures, as the amber may crack. Exposure to chemicals (cosmetics, perfume, and hairspray) can ruin the finish of your amber permanently.
Store amber away from sources of heat and out of direct sunlight. Store your amber jewelry in a soft cloth, away from other pieces of jewelry which may scratch or chip it.
For cleaning, use warm (but never hot) water and a soft flannel cloth to gently wipe dirt and smudges from amber settings. Never use soaps, detergents, or ultrasonic cleaners. To polish it, rub the amber gently with olive oil and use a soft cloth to remove excess oil.
What is the purpose of the item descriptions in the catalog? Are they legally binding?
The item and color descriptions you find in our catalog are subjective, a personal perception and are not legally binding. They are annotations that do not describe quality, but only the impression the item gives us. They are limited to what can be seen without technical or optical aid.
For instance, translucent amber commonly lets the light shine through, but has inclusions. Transparent amber is clear up to a certain percentage as loosely indicated. Opaque amber does not let the light shine through or only to a certain degree. Opaque and translucent amber is usually stronger in color, while transparent amber only shows a light hue of color. Natural transparent amber, because of being very rare is the most expensive, but not necessarily the most beautiful. It much depends on the chosen purpose of each piece and the taste of the observer.
Is a large piece of rough green amber exactly the same color all the way through?
It never can be guaranteed that a piece of rough amber, more over a large piece of amber, has the same color all the way through. If we want similar colors, we have to produce many beads and then separate them and sort them according to the colors. Therefore, buying one specimen of lets say 100 gram usually will not give you a set of 33 beads of one color. In addition, you will have to calculate with a loss of up to 2/3 of the original rough weight. If your beads should be clean, you might even have to cut out the inclusions, if there are any in the rough amber you use. So the loss will be even greater.
Why are items made with Dominican green amber more expensive than items made with amber from other countries ?
All our amber is 100% natural. We do not use reconstitution, physical or chemical methods to "enhance" it, clear it or change its color. It is natural amber, just as it comes from the mines. Therefore, differences in shades and inclusions are a proof of genuineness and authenticity. All items are handmade in the old, slow way. Compared with other countries, there is no amber "industry" in the Dominican Republic.
In contrast, the cheap amber items like beads and cabochons that are used for low-cost applications usually are made from artificially cleared (autoclave) and colored (heated and treated) amber or even from pressed waste material. Some well known manufacturers in European countries and Far East are specialized in these methods without the public being aware of it. Dominican amber is is not abundant and only on the market in its natural form.
It all boils down to the question: what do you want and/or how much are you willing to pay for it.
What payment options do I have?
Payments can be made by
1. PayPal or credit card at our Payment Service Page
2. Money Order through MoneyGram
3. Bank Transfer: Banking instructions on order confirmation.