An amber teething necklace is a necklace made from amber which is designed to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with teething. Amber supposedly has anti-inflammatory properties which can be absorbed when it is worn against the skin, soothing a baby naturally while he or she struggles with the pain of cutting brand new teeth. Some jewelry companies and baby supply stores sell amber teething necklaces, along with amber teething bracelets.
The practice of making amber amulets for children and adults is ancient. Traditionally, amulets were carved into various shapes and worn against the skin to ward off bad luck. It is possible that these amulets also reduced inflammation and discomfort for their wearers, which may have indirectly contributed to the persistence of wearing amber amulets in places like the Balkans, North Africa, the Middle East, and China.
Amber contains trace amounts of succinic acid, a known anti-inflammatory. People have been extracting this acid, also known as “essence of amber,” for centuries, and it is entirely possible that small amounts may be passed on to people who wear amber jewelry against the skin. In the case of an amber teething necklace, multiple beads of amber are strung together to enhance the anti-inflammatory effect. The fossilized resin also naturally warms with wear, maintaining a temperature which will be comfortable for the baby.
Babies are not supposed to chew amber teething necklaces, and in fact this can be dangerous, because amber is very brittle, and it can break up in a baby's mouth. The necklace or bracelet is designed to fit snugly and firmly, and the individual beads are carefully knotted in so that they will not scatter if the necklace is broken or damaged. However, it is still possible for a baby to be injured by an amber teething necklace, and as a general rule, parents should supervise babies at all times while they are wearing amber.
Caring for an amber teething necklace is relatively easy. If the necklace becomes soiled, it should be washed with lukewarm water, and no soap. The necklace should also be carefully dried. In the event that the necklace is broken or the threading starts to fray, it should be taken to a professional jeweler for restoration, and the jeweler should be alerted to the fact that the necklace is worn by a baby so that he or she can take precautions to make the amber teething necklace less likely to break.