Cultured Amber?

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disinformatique

Preferred Member
What exactly is it? I know its "lab-grown" but how exactly is it "grown" and can it be labelled as authentic amber?
Would like to hear your views and information about the process. would really appreciate if our veteran pipe collectors and restorers throw some light on the subject matter.
Cheers,

Chris :puffpipe:

 

jonasclark

Senior Member
Aug 4, 2013
451
0
Seattle
All I know about is the old "amberoid" which was powdered amber mixed with binding agents. I've read that Andreas Bauer used "cultured amber" but I've never seen it described.

 

mikethompson

Preferred Member
Jun 26, 2016
3,968
82
I've never heard of cultured amber before, but I guess if you can grow a hamburger in a Petri dish, you can grow anything.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,801
109
Lots to discuss here and cultured or what the Danes call cultural Amber is used for stems. The classic carver to employ the material is Manduela. Also, Poul Ilsted was a master at using it. High end Danish collectors go nuts for pipes with Cultural Amber. This year in Chicago Manduela offered one of Ilsted’s unsmoked pipes for the auction. It was a beauty.
http://pipesmagazine.com/blog/pipe-reviews-pipe-makers/talking-pipes-with-artisans-from-neatpipes-the-party-20/
Also, google Manduela and amber stems for a start. That is The Best starting point. I’ll try and post more later when I have time.

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,801
109
Here is a good example. One of my favorite pipes by Henri.



 

seldom

Preferred Member
Mar 11, 2018
713
61
Germany
Andreas Bauer Meerschaum pipe cases are labeled "cultured amber" on the outside. As far as I can tell from the one I have this indicates plastic of some sort.

 

dmcmtk

Preferred Member
Aug 23, 2013
2,895
17
My example, a W.O. Larsen Pearl grade.



My best information is that this pipe was made by Jess Chonowitsch.
:)

 

ron123

Member
Jan 28, 2015
193
3
"Artificial Amber – This is a man-made plastic polymer which is crafted to look like amber." from https://www.corazonlatino.com/blogs/news/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-real-and-fake-amber

 

georged

Preferred Member
Mar 7, 2013
2,598
5
"Cultured Amber" is just some marketer's term for acrylic plastic that's tinted an amber color.
Steve Norse stocks and sells tons of it:
https://vermontfreehand.com/stems/acrylic-stems/

 

jpmcwjr

Preferred Member
May 12, 2015
13,529
132
Monterey Peninsula
From the inter webs:
A fossil tree resin.
In order to qualify as "amber", it is NOT sufficient for a tree resin merely to harden by losing its volatiles, the molecules have to polymerize, which can take millions of years (or at least 100,000 years). After polymerization, amber becomes significantly less soluble in common organic solvents, and so will not become sticky if wetted with alcohol, acetone or gasoline. Much of the material marketed as "amber" (especially that from Colombia and Madagascar) is far too young to be considered amber and is in reality just dried tree resin.
Maybe the plastic stuff is better than the almost amber from S. America.

 

dmcmtk

Preferred Member
Aug 23, 2013
2,895
17
I really had to go looking! An email reply (Jan '17) from Teddy Knudsen when I inquired about the pipe shown above, Q: "My other questions are about this stem material. I've heard it called "cultured amber" Is it acrylic, or a natural resin? Was it expensive, or in short supply? Difficult to work with...?"
A: "The cultured amber is a kind of acrylic, there was two different color. At this time is was a little more expensive than ebonit for handmade stems. It was a nice material to work with, but you could only bent the stem a little."
I was able to delete a few hundred old emails!
:)

 

npod

Preferred Member
Jun 11, 2017
2,801
109
Chris, I asked Nikolaj from the Danish Pipe Shop to provide a better answer. Here is his reply. Great explanation!
Hi
It's a good question. When we mention rare cultural amber its from a Danish production. It was a lady called Henni Olrik that made it and it has resin in it. The recipe died with her and Manduela bought the whole stock.

This material was very used by the Larsen makers, Manduela, Ilsted, Tao, Vigen etc.
Amber is a big thing here and we have quite a lot natural amber. However stems made entirely of amber is mainly antique and honestly not very nice to hold in the mouth - its like glass:)
Kind regards Nik

 

disinformatique

Preferred Member
@jpm @dmc Interesting information, real amber does need a lot of time to be called amber. When it comes to acrylic, there are lots of options now to choose from. I guess all plastic and rubber goes brittle with age. Some early and some quite late.
@Npod Thanks Neal, that's an eye opening block of info. It's sad when people dont share their trade secrets and take it to the grave. Lol so Manduela is sitting on the entire pile of Henni Olrik stock. Reminded me of the Hobbit !! :rofl:
@Sable the older we get the thinner our public filter becomes, lmao, title really sounds like a decent 80s porno.
Cheers,

Chris :puffpipe:

 

cosmicfolklore

Preferred Member
Aug 9, 2013
17,929
117
I had started typing and then reread everyone's comments. Georged hit the nail on the head. It is marketing... like lab-grown rubies, Chatham emeralds, etc... the name both separates them from the real thing, and somewhat deceives the market at the same time.
Amber is like turquoise in that there are tons of different trade names like this that serve to "sell" the fake stuff. Real turquoise, like amber is very rare. Whenever I see old amber stemmed meers, I am always amazed that it seems nothing like real amber. Not, that they are all fake. I just haven't seen any that seem real to me. And, a bent amber stem... WTF?