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Copal can be thought of as 'baby amber.' Like its much older counterpart, it is a hardened resin that originated as tree sap. Copal is similar in both appearance and chemistry to amber. Opinions vary from source to source as to when copal becomes amber, but the general consensus is that organic resin younger than 10 million years old is copal, while anything older is amber. As amber can be as old as 360 million years old, copal is substantially younger.

Copal Polished
Copal Classification
Common Name Copal
Species Organic
Copal Optical Properties
Transparency Transparent - Translucent
Refractive Index 1.540-1.540
Polariscope Reaction Singly Refractive (SR) With ADR
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert to strong bluish white more than amber
LWUV: Inert to weak bluish white
Pleochroism None
Copal Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 2
Specific Gravity 1.030-1.100 Typical:1.060
Toughness Poor
Inclusions Copal might show surface crazing. Sometimes contains insects, plant matter, hollow tubes, or air bubbles.
Luster Vitreous, Resinous
Stability Poor
Fracture Conchoidal, Uneven
Cleavage None
Copal Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Formula amorphous organic material fossilized resin
Crystal System NA
Chemistry Classification Organic

Copal Colors

  • Brown Copal Brown
  • Yellow Copal Yellow
  • Red Copal Red
  • Orange Copal Orange
  • Multi-color Copal Multi-color
  • Green Copal Green

Countries of Origin

Colombia; Unknown; Poland; Madagascar; Lithuania

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Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.