Imaging the Mexican Amber Collection

Imaging amber inclusions is challenging, especially when the amber pieces are dark, fractured, contain bubbles and other debris, the inclusions are small, located close to an edge, and/or poorly preserved. Although many of the Chiapas Mexican amber pieces have these characteristics, our goal has been to photograph the inclusions showing enough detail for researchers to determine their potential for study. Now that the specimens are embedded, we can send them out on loan to qualified researchers who can take more detailed images by grinding down the surrounding casting resin to get closer to the inclusions, which will enhance light penetration and minimize distortion. 

The majority of our images were taken using the Keyence VHX 7000 digital imaging system. Check out Ammabel Tukiman’s bug blog to learn more about our imaging protocol.