I have had many great opportunities to write about the purchases from Tucson Gem Shows, and each had something unique and special that sets them apart. This week is no different in highlighting Colombian Copal. JTV President and CEO Tim Matthews purchased an entire booth of Copal this year in Tucson and it is certainly the largest buy of Copal in JTV history.
Copal, sometimes called “baby amber” due to its appearance, comes from the Aztec word “copalli”. Copal played a pivotal role in the culture of many Mesoamerican Indian tribes. It was commonly used as incense and played an integral role in religious and ritualistic practices. Copal shares its chemistry and appearance with Amber. It is also considered an organic gem. While it’s hard to distinguish the two by age, we just assume Copal has more back talk since it is younger. I’m kidding of course. Copal is a much softer material than Amber and can usually be distinguished with acetone, making the younger resin tacky and sticky.
Time stops once Copal has begins to harden. Anything trapped in the tree resins path is going to be stuck there for a long time to come and preserved in its last moment. Termites are a common inclusion as well as bark from trees and many variations of flying insects. Some pieces in Tim’s buy had trapped water and inclusions that appeared to be eggs. These inclusions normally indicate that there were once eggs, but we cannot be sure of it.
Bubble Strand Inclusions
With time travel not yet in the realm of possibility, Copal is a safer way to view and own a piece of the past. A piece like the one shown above (SKU: CP105) and a loupe will allow you to explore all kinds of insects and interesting natural inclusions. If you decide to try and extract DNA and open some weird park, please do not mention me…. You can find our entire selection of Copal, with and without insects at JTV.com.