Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1

by Hibiscus Moon on April 11, 2012 · 42 comments

Hey Crystal Peeps!  I get a lot of questions about this topic & have been working on a loooong article on this topic for a loooong time…it just keeps getting longer. A little bit ago I posted some of this in a newsletter about 6 months ago (you can subscribe up there on the right side of my banner!) I figured I need to get a bit more of this out there now  & perhaps 1 day it will mature into a grown-up full-fledged article! Yay!

So, is the crystal you purchased natural, enhanced or an all-out fake?

The only way to know for sure is with exhaustive lab tests, however, you can still use your mad-crystal-skills & a little geology to make a strong educated guess. I see lots of misinformed YouTube vids on some of these & just want to set the record straight so you can make wise & informed decisions when making your crystal purchases, My Sweets!

Glass vs. Quartz

Glass is an amorphous solid. Oooooo, BIG SEXY SCIENTIFIC WORD! Amorphous just means that due to quick cooling, the molecules didn’t have time to arrange themselves in a crystalline repeating geometric pattern. Quartz, on other hand, cooled slowly & does have the geometrically perfect molecular structure that all crystals do. That’s what makes a crystal a crystal, Sweet Pea!

pyrite1 Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1

Photo Credit: POWER AND SYRED/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY, microscopic iron pyrite crystals taken with a scanning electron micrograph

Glass will often have tiny air bubbles, quartz won’t. End of story.

Fruit-Named Quartz (strawberry, cherry, pineapple, blueberry, C’mon guys!)

Fruity-named crystals is usually a tip off of FAKES! Not always, but I’ve found it to be true more often than not. These are typically dyed quartz or glass. Sometimes, natural red-colored fire or harlequin quartz may be dubbed “strawberry”  by the seller but since those in the geo-community equate the fruity name with artificial glass, most sellers in the know would stay away from calling it that.

fire quartz cluster2 300x225 Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1

Fire Quartz from Africa- the real deal


Turquoise vs. Dyed Magnesite or Reconstituted

Magnesite looks very similar to turquoise…when it’s been dyed. So does howlite. Undyed howlite & magnesite may even be sold as “white turquoise!” SHEEESH! A telltale sign of Dyed magnesite is very deep cracks. Then we have “reconstituted” turquoise. Reconstituted is when small amounts of turquoise that would otherwise be wasted are recycled by grinding it into a fine powder.  Resins & dyes may be added & then pressed into a mold, carved or shaped.

Here are my tried & true tips for testing your turquoise:

  1. UV Light Test: turquoise containing resins will fluoresce; have a black-light? Check it out!
  2. Scratch Test: due to its Moh’s hardness being a 5-6, it can be scratched by a steel knife & under magnification the edges will look tattered, if they’re smooth as butter, it’s not the real deal
  3. Hot Needle Test: the tip of a hot needle will burn real turquoise, but reconstituted will melt

I really like DurangoSilver’s video on what exactly “White Turquoise” is:

Amethyst, Citrine or Rose Quartz with SUPER-saturated color

If your quartz is really vibrant & pretty uniform in color it may be dyed. A tell-tale sign of dyed quartz is excess dye collecting in cracks.And that fuchsia, bright green & deep blue agate…you know that’s dyed, right?

Dyed agate slice SPL Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1


So the moral of the story, my Sweet Crystal Hotties, is…Buyer Beware. Who are you buying from? Are they reputable & do they know what they’re talking about? Be informed & cautious. Do you have any fake-out stories to tell? Please post below to help us all out!

Happy Crystal Buying. icon smile Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1

signature4 Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1



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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Gin April 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm

This is great information! Thanks so much for posting about this!


Dominee April 12, 2012 at 12:55 am

Very informative! I actually fell victim to the dyed agate once, I got a big chunk that was super bright blue. Lesson learned on that one!


Hibiscus Moon April 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Many of us do in the beginning. I wish more beginner books would address this.


Amanda April 12, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Miss Hibiscus!!! What a great article and I sooooo very much appreciate your easy going and lighthearted way of explaining things! I must share this on fb.
Love to you and thanks for what you do!


Linda Lewis April 13, 2012 at 7:47 am

Very interesting about the white buffalo. I love American Southwest Turquoise so have been very cautiuos when purchasing. There are so many mines and diffrernt color variations of turquoise but have to say, the faux stuff really looks faux! Would love to see (was it WildHorse white?) Thanks for sharing the video!


Lisa April 19, 2012 at 12:51 am

Are the aqua aura/angel aura/ruby aura crystals considered fakes? They have been coated with various heavy metals and have remarkable colours, but it is said that the combination of crystal plus heavy metal produces an object with the qualities of both. I’d love to know what you think.


Ellie July 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

very interesting Thanks Hibiscus Moon!


Joan July 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

Personally, I like howlite. I can see how it would be passed off as white turquoise. This is a very informative video. Thank you for posting it.


Brian December 15, 2012 at 2:15 am

Can “Super 7″ be “faked”? If so how can you tell?


Hibiscus Moon December 15, 2012 at 10:43 am

That would be a tough one to fake.


Lynn Easton February 6, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Amber and moldavite are two others that tend to be faked…amber I believe creates static when rubbed. Fake moldavite is glass, not sure of any tests for it though.


Hibiscus Moon February 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Yep, I have a post about those on here too. ♥


stephanie valhalla April 5, 2013 at 9:53 pm

I make stone jewelery and many placees like michaels sell fake stones as jewlery. Education education education.


roseanna May 9, 2013 at 3:39 am

Hi Moon,
I still cannot tell if my crystal is real. I didnt really get much information from you advice in figuring out if its fake or real.


Hibiscus Moon May 9, 2013 at 11:01 am

This is a guide. Its impossible to figure it all out without proper mineral testing which you can possible ask your seller about or see if a geo museum will graciously honor your request.


Katie June 1, 2013 at 11:27 am

Thanks for the info! My question is just because an agate or other crystal has been dyed or heated to make the color brighter or prettier, does that mean it is useless to work with? Does it negate the metaphysical properties of said agate or crystal? I have a great rock shop I go to, they are honest about what’s been modified, but I must admit I am drawn to the pretty, bright stuff.


Anonymous July 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

heard that a lot of citrine is actually heated amethyst. very disappointed. how can we know the difference.


Hibiscus Moon July 30, 2013 at 11:58 am
Maria July 30, 2013 at 5:31 pm

thanks for sharing the info! with dyed agates would it still be okay to use them for healing, as colour is used as a therapy for healing? :)


Ange July 31, 2013 at 1:44 am

I bought some supposed authentic Malachite beads off a Trade Me website and got them, they were like Malachite painted wood, could SO tell they were fake and I was not happy with the purchase as they had them on as real. Real malachite is not woody and dull, has a beautiful soft semi-gloss, Watch out for fake Malachite!
Love this page by the way :)


mar August 31, 2013 at 2:19 am

i was at a garage sale last weekend
they had two bookend size blue dyed quartz for $100 (9″high by 3″wide) advertized as bright blue quartz. I called them on it and asked if it was dyed and they said no. I said i believe they were dyed and showed them the cracks where the color was darker, the lady got mad at the husband(boyfriend) and throw ed them on the ground and smashed them and then yelled at him for giving her crap for a gift.
I did not mean for that to happen and said i was sorry but too late


Kirsten August 31, 2013 at 3:18 am

Hi there,
I have bought several crystals from CrystalAge in the UK. They appear to be very good quality. But I did stumble across their cherry quartz.
Now that I know they are trying to pass off these as real, should I avoid making further purchases?


Slavi May 7, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Crystalage is one of the greatest sites for crystals. They have really high quality crystals.
Well, they never said its fake. Actually its not fake stone, just dyed…
its still clear quartz


Cheryl August 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm

Years and years ago my mother purposely bought a cabochon @ 1 1/2 x 1 x 1/16 inch piece silver banded piece for a necklace, purposely dyed, she said, by injection into to agate, by the proprietor, selling it as such, as a pretty novelty for me, it was an agate, of a light turquoise and lavender radiating out n the center for color. I still have it. We thought it was rather unique at the time due to the injection process. It definitely does not look a”normal” agate and I doubt anyone would consider it so. Maybe it was a new process at the time. There are lots of “rock hounds” in Oregon and jewelry makers. At that time, no one was out to screw anyone.


Natasha September 27, 2013 at 11:56 am

I tend to say away from online purchases. Here were i live we have a store that sell them and everything else its so peace full when you walk in to that store you feel the energy of everything and its calming. when you buy stuff they also cleanse if for you right away unless you say no. They have so many things. I did how ever have a hard time find lapis and i did a lot of research online with one store before i did buy them and i once i got them i brought them to the store so they can check them out. and they where good. so i hope that you can find a store in your area that is true and will be helpful like i find this one to be. :)


Natasha September 27, 2013 at 11:57 am

not away having a coffee and waking up an apparently can’t spell this morning.

I tend to stay away….


Marlene West October 15, 2013 at 7:38 pm

hi, does anyone else hear the video, it seems to be really low volume, the beginning of the video is loud, but the man talking, his volume is very low.


Ana Vieira October 16, 2013 at 10:29 am

What about Opalite?
It is or it isn’t a “false” crystal?
I’ve found so many contradictory information that I’m lost about it! Energeticaly is a “dead crystal” right?

Thank you already for your shares and posts with which I have learned so much! :)


Anonymous October 16, 2013 at 11:35 am

Opalite is glass


Moriah October 17, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I haven’t bought a lot of crystals to begin with because of this fakery. But, I do however go hunting in nature for crystals and stones, and my biggest problem is knowing what I have found. I have recently come across a jackpot of stones that really look like different quartzs. Some are milky white, some very clear, some with pink or yellowish orange tints, and a couple that look marblish like turquoise. I am no expert so I have no way of knowing if I have amassed a nice collection of quartz or if I have a bunch of really pretty rocks. Is there a way I can find out without mortgageing my home for lab tests?


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