to different countries according to the local demand. Among them are beads and ear ornaments for the negroes of western and eastern Africa; red cylindrical beads for Japan; green round beads ("mandarin chains") and rings for China: sacred amulets for Morocco; a royal ornament for Korea, etc.
In the general exhibit modern artistic wares in amber are contributed by several firms.
August Richter, in Hamburg, sends a considerable collection of jewelry in real amber. Aside from the great manufacturing centers, this firm has arisen to be one of the largest of its kind, entirely through the energy of its head and without any extraneous aid whatever. Everything necessary to the complete fitting out of the many articles manufactured, from sheet metals and wires in different metals and alloys to the cards on which the finished articles are sewed, is produced in the factory. In a magnificent mechanical work room this firm makes all the machinery for the manufacture of their articles. Among these are especially noteworthy the complicated machines for the automatic production of buttons. In the last working year collar buttons alone to the value of 1,700,000 marks were manufactured by this firm. Latterly the establishment has been noted for the production of modern jewelry after the designs of celebrated artists, such as Bruno Kruse, Hans Dietrich, Leipheimer, Professor Kleeman, H. Baum, and others, and it offers an abundance of "motives" in necklaces, girdle buckles, chatelaines, etc.
Ambroid. In spite of the manifold uses of amber, a great proportion of the middle sorts, too expensive for varnish, would have been practically lost for want of a use to put them to but for the invention of a method whereby small pieces may be pressed together by hydraulic power. Amber is insoluble in water and can not be melted by heat; but at a temperature between 170° and 190° C, it softens without disintegration to about the consistence of india rubber.
While in this state small pieces of amber are pressed together in the following manner: After being thoroughly cleansed and carefully freed by hand from the weathered crusts, they are placed on a very strong, deep, steel tray which is closed with a pot-like perforated cover. At a temperature of 200° C., these two vessels (the tray and its cover) are pressed together so that the amber in its softened state is forced up through the holes of the cover, where in cooling it solidifies into a mass. In this way, by hydraulic pressure, amber is obtained in the form of flat pieces which can be turned, bored, and polished like natural amber. It is harder than the natural material, but inferior to it in brilliancy.
The many difficulties which present themselves in preparing amber for pressing and the waste which takes place render pressed amber (ambroid) quite expensive, but the high price is counterbalanced by the increase in adaptability and the decrease of waste in turning. Pressed amber is therefore excellent for all cheap bulk articles, especially those used by smokers, in which the use of wood, horn, bone, celluloid, etc., is avoided forhygienicreasons, and a permanent good appearance is not required; but it is not adapted to fine manufactures. All pressed cloudy amber having the color of "bastard" undergoes a change in a very short time after use, which is apparent not only on the surface, but through the whole mass. The evenly distributed cloudiness seen at first becomes after a few months bony white, producing an uneven and disagreeable appearance. The clear sorts retain their original quality, but can not be compared to the natural amber in beauty and luster. The real amber will therefore always be preferred, except for those uses in which beauty and genuineness may be sacrificed to mere economy without too much loss.
It frequently occurs that dishonest dealers endeavor to sell pressed amber for the genuine, and it is therefore well to learn the distinguishing features. The natural