How to Buff Scratches in Baltic Amber

Amber image by Henryk Olszewski from

If you have ever seen a fossil or bug suspended in an orange stone, you have seen amber. Amber is not a stone at all; it is actually the fossilised sap from ancient trees, dating as far back as 50 million years ago.

Amber has been used as jewellery and decoration since ancient times, and these fossils can be found in a number of excavation sites, including the Baltic Sea. Amber is extremely soft, making it easily susceptible to scratching and burning. If you find small scratches in your amber pieces, you can gently buff them away to restore the piece to its true beauty.

Dampen a clean, soft rag with warm water; do not use hot water, as the hot water can damage the soft amber surface. Wipe away surface dust and other contaminants with this damp rag.

Dry the amber with a soft towel to remove all water; you can also allow it to air-dry, but do not place the amber in direct sunlight or near a heat source to dry, since this can damage the amber surface.

Apply a thin layer of plastic polishing compound to a leather chamois. Rub the compound into the scratched amber surface; reapply more compound as necessary. The compound will fill in the small scratches on the amber surface, while the leather chamois buffs the surface for a better shine.

Wipe extra rubbing compound off the amber surface with a clean, soft cloth. Apply a thin layer of olive oil to a clean area of the chamois (or a different chamois) and buff the oil into the amber surface; this will provide extra shine to the repaired area.

Buff away excess oil with a clean, soft rag. Allow the amber to dry completely from cleaning and polishing before storing.