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Electrification of amber

30 March 2020

Electrification occurs when electrons in one object have a slightly different energy than in others. Therefore, when they come into contact, some of the electrons go to the material in which the energy was lower. This situation only happens at the contact point. Then, electrons do not return to their previous places, because their energy would have to increase.

With the help of electrification, you can check the authenticity of amber. For centuries, ancient Greek philosophers have known that any piece of amber is very easy to electrify and magnetizes small light bodies. In the 6th century BC, Thales of Miletus noted that rubbing of amber attracts tiny items. In the seventeenth century, English physicist William Gilbert observed that other bodies, such as glass have similar features like succinite.

By rubbing amber, for example with a woolen cloth or fur, you can trigger the ability to attract small objects such as hair or paper. It is worth noting that the term electricity itself originates from the Greek electron, which means amber. During the process of rubbing, moving negative charges, or electrons, pass from the fabric to amber. Next, its electric field attracts small objects, pushing electrons out of them.

Two electrified pieces of amber repel each other mutually. However, if the electrified body is attracted by the electrified amber, it will be electrified negatively.

It should also be taken into account that it is not always possible to carry out these tests of the authenticity of amber. The best solution is to buy certified amber, which will be proof of its realness.