Copal

Copal is a fossilized organic resin. This amorphous yellow to brownish material is often confused with amber, but amber is much older than copal. A test using acetone can separate amber and copal - copal will react immediately while amber will take longer to be affected.

Copal with insects.jpg

Copal with Few Termites.


Gemological information for Copal
Color The color of copal varies from pale yellow to orange to a deep brown
Crystal Structure Amorphous
Refractive Index ca. 1.54 (-.010)
Durability Can be melted by a hot torch
Hardness 2
Similar stones reconstructed amber
Treatments Oiling, heat treatments, reconstruction (same as amber)
Country of origin Africa, New Zealand & South America
Copal care
Ultrasonic cleaning Not safe
Steam cleaning Not safe
Warm soapy water Not safe - cool water only - no brushes
Chemical attack Keep away from chemicals
Light sensitivity Will darken as it ages
Heat sensitivity Burns readily