Amber Grading

Grading and Pricing Guides for the Amber Gallery

The "SBI" amber grade has three parts: Size, Beauty and Inclusions.
      
   We needed a simple system to "grade" our amber collection at the Amber Gallery, and so developed a simple grading system we call the "SBI" grade, based on the Size, Beauty and Inclusions for each amber piece.  Just like any grading system, whether it be precious diamonds or rare metals, the system used for grading the Amber Gallery is to ensure each piece's quality is based on meaningful criteria. There is no particular importance to this order: if anything, the rarity and preservation of the inclusions are the most important.  For each category (S, B, I), a "1" or an "A" is the best grade and higher numbers and letters indicate lesser qualities.  We take three steps to grade these amber pieces, and one more step to price them, as follows:

Step 1:  Determine the Size grade.  Measure the approximate dimension in mm of the length, width and thickness of the piece, using the maximum dimension to ensure consistency in comparing pieces. 

Step 2:  Determine the Beauty grade.  This is necessarily a subjective measure, but the categories are simple.  When in doubt, ask someone else's opinion.

Step 3:  Determine the Inclusion grade.  Examine the piece for inclusions.  Note the important bugs found, any plant fragments present, oak bud hairs, etc.  Examine the quality of preservation for these inclusions, and the view of the inclusions afforded by the piece -- a prime view of a well preserved common insect may merit a higher grade than a piece with numerous inclusions that are not easily viewed.  Also, specimens with interesting behavior are rare even if the inclusions are of a common type (for example, laying an egg).  Again, this grading is fairly subjective, but the categories are fairly simple.

SBI Grading Guide for the Ambergallery.com Amber Collection

Size 1     Large Pieces (More than 40 x 20 x 10 mm)
Size 2     Medium Pieces (More than  20 x 20 x 10 mm)
Size 3     Small Pieces (More than  20 x 20 x 5 mm)
Size 4     Tiny Pieces (Less than 20 x 20 x 5 mm)

Beauty A     An exceptionally beautiful piece in shape, color, arrangement.
Beauty B     Above average beauty -- definitely pleasing in appearance.
Beauty C     Below average beauty -- surface blemishes, unpleasing shape,
                            color, clarity.
Beauty D     As ugly as amber can get -- crazing, poor clarity, poor polish.

Inclusions 1   Very rare inclusions, or Rare inclusions with a decent
            view,  or Exceptional examples of more common inclusions,
            exquisite preservation and views.
Inclusions 2   Rare inclusions with unexceptional view, or Very nice
            examples of more common inclusions, especially if numerous.
Inclusions 3   Two or more specimens of common inclusions with some
            good preservation or views,  or one specimen with very nice
            preservation and view.
Inclusions 4     One or two specimens of common inclusions,
            unexceptional preservation or views.
Inclusions 5     No recognizable inclusions of value

Step 4:  Determine the approximate price based on the SBI grade.  The matrix below is a guide for helping us price the amber we sell in our gallery.  We will price all our pieces according to this matrix, and it may serve as a useful guide in comparing prices of our amber with that of other sources.

 $250 NOTE: Blue color means this category is a minimum price level.   This is the beginning price for all S=1, B=A and I=1 pieces.  Pieces that are particularly large, beautiful or have rare inclusions will demand higher prices than the minimum for that category.

Pricing Matrix for the Ambergallery.com SBI Amber Grade

SIZE 1
Price Matrix

Beauty A

Beauty B

Beauty C

Beauty D

Inclusions 1

$350      

$300

$250

$200

Inclusions 2

$300

$250

$200

$150

Inclusions 3

$200

$150

$100

$75  

Inclusions 4

$150

$100

$75

$50

Inclusions 5

$100

$75

$40

$20

SIZE 2
Price Matrix

Beauty A

Beauty B

Beauty C

Beauty D

Inclusions 1

$300      

$250

$200

$150

Inclusions 2

$250

$200

$150

$100

Inclusions 3

$150

$100

$75

$50

Inclusions 4

$100

$75

$50

$35

Inclusions 5

$50

$35

$20

$15

SIZE 3
Price Matrix

Beauty A

Beauty B

Beauty C

Beauty D

Inclusions 1

$250      

$200

$150

$100

Inclusions 2

$200

$150

$100

$75

Inclusions 3

$100

$75

$50

$35

Inclusions 4

$75

$50

$35

$25

Inclusions 5

$25

$20

$15

$10

SIZE 4
Price Matrix

Beauty A

Beauty B

Beauty C

Beauty D

Inclusions 1

$200      

$150

$100

$75

Inclusions 2

$150

$100

$75

$50

Inclusions 3

$75

$50

$35

$20

Inclusions 4

$50

$35

$20

$10

Inclusions 5

$15

$10

$10

$5

Smoothstone Design, Inc., 1999