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Jewelry, Gems, & Minerals/How to remove superglue from Baltic Amber


QUESTION: My significant other scored the back of my silver locket and superglued a baltic amber stone that kept falling out.  You can now see the scoring and the glue, making it look like it's fractured. It's a beautiful piece, how do I save it? Can I weaken the glue with acetone, or nail polish remover, or alcohol and then take it to a jeweler's to smoth the silver again?

ANSWER: Lillie, you have one good option: 1. Works well but you must exercise care if any prying is needed to lift the stone from the setting. That is simply a good long soak in acetone. The solvent will not   bother genuine amber. Plastics will likely be mush.  The problem is getting the solvent to contact enough of the cement to loosen or dissolve to free the amber.

I know all was well intentioned but super glue is likely the worse choice for any cement work with gems, pearls, etc.

If the amber is removed successfully, a jeweler should be able to remove the scores if not too remember, polishing a flat surface(it is flat?) is very difficult to do without leaving some slight dips and telltale signs of abrasive work.

Next time, clean the contact areas of the amber and silver with mild dish detergent, rinse, then wipe down with alcohol to remove any traces of oils which could interfere with long term security of the cement.  Use either a water clear two part epoxy cement or a light touch of UV curing cement for glass.

Amber is one of my favorites.  
God Bless and Peace.  Thomas.

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QUESTION: Hi there.attached is the picture of the locket. The stone is the beat part as it has small leaves trapped in the bottom of the Amber stone. I might try putting it in hot water before chemicals. I'm afraid to ruin it.


I understand your concern. You may use nail polish remover that contains acetone. The strength of the solvent may be slightly less in this form and that is ok. I would use a cotton swab to apply a little of the solvent just to be certain ans wipe it on an edge of the stone ans wipe off. There should be no stickiness to the amber.

Hot water will likely not affect the glue bond but it should be fine to give it a try. Certainly do not go as hot as boiling water. At slightly higher temps than that, amber may soften.

Keep in mind, amber will chip if prying at the stone is done. However, it is polished good as new with relative ease. A jeweler can do this with a very light touch with a white compound like Fabulustre.  Gentleness, slow buff and intermittent contact with buff are used to prevent streaking the amber and to produce a smooth, shiny surface. Techniques similar to polishing a plastic watch crystal will polish the gem.

Again, best wishes with your locket.  Thanks for the nice photo. This is a nice piece and I can see why you like it so much, even if I cannot see the full beauty of the amber in a photo.

God Bless.  Thomas.

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Have a question about jewelry repair or working with precious metal jewelry and gemstones? For many years up to December 31, 2010, I was a working professional bench jeweler, involved everyday with setting stones in mountings, designing and making jewelry, repairing and limited custom manufacture. If you work with jewelry as a hobby or as a profession, I might be able to help. I deal with the retail business, not mass production. Ask privately if you wish. See the box for that: It keeps your question between us. Please DO NOT ask MAKER'S MARKS, but metal quality marks are fine to ask. Please DO NOT ask diamond prices. See a gemologist for that.


I have extensive experience in design, service and making of jewelry. I deal mostly with precious metals and gemstones but work with many materials as needed and usable to create an artistic design. My experience also includes freelance photography and photographer of jewelry and similar items for a former employer and individuals. Design of custom items requires reading the desires of the client and being clear on what can be done within that framework...then fulfilling the transition of idea to reality. Effective communications is essential in a working designer/producer and customer relationship.

Education is English/Physics! Started in human resources, to advertising, to, what a road. I have had formal training in jewelry work and many shared experiences with top grade jewelers. We just never know were we will go or be. Follow your best, your dreams, with some discretion! Don't let the work tear up your body along the way as it has mine.

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