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Re: extraction of Insects In Amber



In a message dated 97-03-01 18:01:49 EST, you write:

<< Does anyone know of a way to remove an insect from amber without the 
     use of acids? >>

In most cases, insects in amber are really the mold of the exoskeleton with
some dessicated tissues inside. They're not likely to remain intact once
removed. So why would you want to do it in the first place?

I have found that some ambers are slightly soluble in organic solvents,
particularly mixtures of them. (In contrast some copals are very soluble in
solvents.) In one case a mixture of naptha, acetone and turpentine extracted
some color from amber and with time it softened the amber. I collected the
amber myself, so i know it's the real thing. Since ambers are different
chemically from one another I'd expect their solubilities to be different as
well. You'd have to experiment, or find a reference with the information, to
identify a solvent mixture right for your amber.

 I never tried it but it may be possible to remove most of the amber around
an insect mechanically and then remove the amber in an apparatus like a
Socclet Extractor (I hope I spelled Socclet corectly). A Socclet Extractor is
an apparatus that fits in the top of a boiling flask betweeen the flask and a
reflux condenser. It consists of a thimble-shaped screen or glass fiber
filter. Liquid is boiled in the flask and the vapor rises to the condenser
where it is cooled and condensed.  The condensed liquid is returned by
dribbling into the cup, where it dissolves some of the chemicals in the cup.
Then they drip through the filter into the bottom flask carrying with them
anything they dissolved. In the flask the cycle is repeated. The apparatus is
extremely useful where solubilities are very low.  

This is an old organic chemist's trick. Good luck.