Updated as of October 2018:
So what's the deal with these cute amber necklaces you see the cool kids wearing around town? Well although these necklaces (and bracelets) are quite beautiful, they actually have a significant purpose for the child.
Genuine Baltic Amber necklaces are most known as "teething necklaces" because of their popularity with diminishing the symptoms of teething in a child. The fact is, they are useful for that and so much more! After making and selling these in our shop for nearly four years, here's a collection of frequently asked questions I get from customers:
Is it safe?
Probably the most frequently asked question, as it should be. Please rest assured that I would NEVER sell you a product that I thought was unsafe. Your sweet baby is a miracle and I would do nothing to jeopardize that. That is why I recommend parents/ guardians read ALL of our safety instructions prior to purchase and always supervise their child while they are wearing these beaded necklaces.
First and foremost, the amber beads are strung on a strong, silk cord and knotted between each bead by hand. The necklace is secured at each end with a plastic screw clasp. If in the unlikely event the jewelry does break, only one bead should fall off. Of course, any loose beads need to be picked up immediately. If a child should get their hands on a loose amber bead, they are small, 4-6mm, and do not pose a choking hazard if swallowed. In fact, amber is ground up and used in medicinal mixtures! If you suspect your child has ingested a bead, please contact your pediatrician or local Emergency Room immediately so they can perform a thorough physical examination on your child. It is better to be safe!
Secondly, the length of all my child size amber necklaces are approximately 12 to 12.5" end to end. This allows for the necklace to be worn up to age 4-6 depending on your child's size.
And I will say it once again… The child amber necklaces are meant to be worn under adult supervision at all times.
How does it work? What’s the science behind it?
About 45 million years ago, trees near the bed the bed of the Baltic Sea began to exude large amounts of resin as the climate grew warmer. Over time this resin hardened into the fossilized amber. Scientists have tested this resulting amber and have determined the resin was stabilized through oxidation. What is special about GENUINE BALTIC AMBER is that it contains various amount of Succinic acid (anywhere from 3-8%). This acid is a scientifically examined compound that has been used for centuries and as well in contemporary medical practices. In Baltic amber, the highest content of the acid is generally found in the cortex (that’s the outer layer) and is released through the pores.
Scientific research has proved that Succinic acid has a very positive effect on humans. Along with its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, “… [Succinic acid] also has been shown to be a good "natural" antibiotic because of its relative acidic or caustic nature… Succinate supplements have been shown to help reduce the effects of hangovers by activating the degradation of acetaldehyde - a toxic byproduct of alcohol metabolism - into CO2 and H2O through aerobic metabolism. Succinic acid has been shown to stimulate neural system recovery and bolster the immune system. Claims have also been made that it boosts awareness, concentration, and reflexes.” Wait… reduce the effects of hangovers??? And to preemptively answer your next question, Yes we do have adult sizes
Do they work?
I know it sounds crazy because it seems impossible, but I can personally testify that the beads do work. My son has worn his necklace since he was about 4 months old and it has made our lives so much easier. We have even experimented and left the beads off him, and by noon we are scrambling to get the necklace on! Time and time again, I get praise from customers saying that the amber has helped their baby so much.
Like many natural remedies, what may work for one baby, may not work for the next. From the hundreds of necklaces I've sold to date, I have not had one complaint. Additionally, we have seen a variation in the time it takes for the beads to have their effect on the child, with some as early as a few hours and others taking up to a few weeks. We ask that you please just give it time. I know it is hard when your child is screaming and drooling all over everything and you haven’t slept in days. There may also be other contributing factors that are additive and may prevent your child from benefiting fully from the amber.
Will the amber beads cure my child’s teething pain 100%?
The amber beads’ resin (succinic acid) will serve as an analgesic and help alleviate the symptoms of teething (including pain, drooling, restlessness, irritability), however will not “cure” anything. Teeth erupting is something that happens to every child; the beads just serve the purpose of helping to alleviate some of the symptoms.
Does my child chew on the amber beads?
No. The beads should never be chewed on by the child. In fact, they work best when worn up directly against the skin. I suggest putting the beads on your child and then covering with an article of clothing. Once the beads heat and match your child’s natural body temperature, they shouldn’t even notice them! Again, adult supervision is required and strongly encouraged at all times the child is wearing the beads.
Can the amber beads be worn during sleep?
Due to the fact that the necklaces are worn around the neck, I ask that all parents/ guardians remove the necklace from the child's neck prior to nap times, overnight sleeps, and if the child will be out of adult’s supervision.
If you are comfortable enough, the bracelets (or a necklace, double-wrapped) can be worn around your child’s ankle and covered with a sock so the child is unable to reach it. That way, your child can benefit from the beads during their sleep time.
When should my child start wearing Baltic Amber?
This is really up to the parent! My daugher wore Baltic Amber starting at two weeks (around her ankle) due to a medical procedure she had done that I knew would cause her pain. Luckily for us, we didn't have to give her any analgesics to help her through the recovery. Once baby is starting to hold their head up better, we recommend they should start wearing the necklace, whether or not they may be showing signs of teething. We have two reasons for this; 1. It will help them get used to wearing the necklace, and 2. They will already be wearing the necklace once the symptoms start, which could be subtle at first, then quickly get more painful. Once again, no matter when baby starts wearing Baltic Amber, ensure it is taken off from around the neck prior to nap and overnight sleep times.
What are the first signs the amber beads are working?
The most obvious first signs are the reduction of drooling and red cheeks, often associated with teething. This is accomplished as the succinic acid stimulates the thyroid gland (this little thing is partly responsible for maintaining bodily secretions). Since the succinite is also a natural anti-inflammatory, it helps reduce those rosy red cheeks. Then, of course, the most important benefit starts to show: the natural pain reliever found in succinic acid helps soothe your child’s tortured gums, relaxes their nervous system, and boosts their immune system.
Is there any difference in effectiveness between the colors?
Out of all the questions I have from customers, this seems to be the most debated. I’ve done pretty extensive research on this subject matter alone and cannot verify 100% one way or the other that the “lighter” the amber color, the more succinic acid it contains. I have had some people swear by it and some people simply say it is untrue. I have sold a wide variety of colors from green-gold and dark cherry to buttermilk, and my “lighter” color buyers have not sworn one way or the other. I did my own (completely non-scientific) experiment to see if I could notice anything. My son wears his dark green-gold on a regular basis but I did go ahead and use a light honey on him and I couldn’t tell a difference.
But seriously, side note... sometimes parenting isn’t an exact science. Being a parent is all about going with your gut and doing what you think is best for your little one. Of course, I recommend researching thoroughly, and even discussing with your pediatrician if you desire. It’s hard to take all this research in. What I do know is that wearing the beads properly (and under adult supervision) will not harm your child.
How did the "color" rumors get started?
I can only hypothesize based on what I've heard from suppliers and other amber sellers, but it's pretty simple. Supply and demand. The lighter, and alternatively darker, color amber beads are more difficult to obtain due to scarcity, thus you might find that these colors tend to be more expensive. Because they are more expensive, usually, people tend to think it's due to their natural potency. To relieve any confusion, I've priced all my baltic amber the same across the color spectrum.
How do I maintain my amber?
The amber beads are, for the most part, self-maintaining. Remember, the healing oils are released out of the cortex through the pores, so I do recommend that you remove the necklace when it will be exposed to any harsh chemicals. Water itself will not harm the necklace, however, chlorine, soaps, detergents, and lotions can clog the pores preventing the succinic acid from being released. I also recommend a monthly “sweating” of the pores. It’s super simple: just leave the necklace out in direct sunlight for one hour. I hang mine from my rearview mirror while out running errands. Again, you can do this whenever you feel it might be necessary. The sunlight will not harm the amber. As far as hygienic cleaning, just wipe it down with a damp (water only) cloth and let air dry.
If the necklace requires cleaning, you can rinse in warm water and lay flat to dry. If a deeper cleaning is required, soak in warm salt water, rinse thoroughly, and lay flat to dry. Do not wash in the dishwasher, washing machine, or submerge in soapy water.
How long do the amber beads last?
With proper care, the amber can last years, even after your little one is done teething. I have already discussed why it is most commonly used - teething – but let’s quickly review the other positive effects which will be helpful for various ailments baby might experience over the years:
- Anti-inflammatory (growing pains, arthritic changes)
- Nervous system calming
- Immune system booster
It is also rumored that the amber helps with allergies, although it is not as thoroughly documented. Parents have raved that it has helped with seasonal allergies and even eczema in their toddlers! It doesn’t hurt to try, right?
Again, all the benefits above include relief for adults as well, so we also have adult-sized necklaces and bracelets. I personally use mine for allergies, anxiety, and joint pains.
I hope this blog post has answered all your questions.
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Stay healthy and happy,