More Crystal Fakes: Healerite, Larimar & Galena Geodes???

Hibiscus Moon Crystals, fakes 30 Comments

I have more “FAKE CRYSTALS” updates for us today! I think this has become one of my fav blog posts to write. ♥

I really want to educate our #CrystalHottie community on what’s available out there so we can make informed decisions when adding specimens to our sacred collections. If you feel passionate about this too, please share this post in any way you prefer. (There are some handy-dandy “SHARE” buttons you can use at the bottom).

And if you haven’t already done so, you can download my free eBook on this subject below so you can grab all my “Fakes” blog posts in 1 convenient place & have a reference guide all your own.
Galena Geodes aka Berber Geodes
OK, these are becoming more popular on the metaphysical market right now.

I mean…they’re gorgeous, right?

[caption id="attachment_17316" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Photo credit: By Guy Courtois (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]They’re often touted as being from Morocco.

Well sorry Jelly Bean,  no such thing!

What’s being done here is a natural quartz geode (or even a fake clay one may be used!!) is broken open & crushed lead-based Galena is sprayed inside.

Whaaaaa? Don’t be fooled!

How to Spot a Fake Larimar

Yes, sadly larimar  is so freakin’ HOT on the market that it’s now being faked. 🙁

It’s a semi-precious stone that is extremely rare due to supply & demand and mining it is extremely difficult. Although geological surveys either haven’t been done or were not able to determine the exact size of the mine so no one is really sure just how much larimar is left for us, since it’s only found in this 1 place. So what I’m saying here is that there just isn’t that much of it to be had & there’s a fear that it could be exhausted at any time. 

Some have taken to whipping up plastic or reconstituted fake larimar in the lab.  (Ickk…I know). 

Luckily, these lab-fakes are pretty easy to spot as they look NOTHING like the real deal. If you familiarize yourself with the genuine stones by looking at lots of photos of it you’ll be able to easily pick out the lab created fakes.

[caption id="attachment_18436" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Genuine Larimar[/caption]

Larimar is a type of pectolite; a sodium calcium silicate that forms in cavities of basaltic lava.  It’s found in only 1 place on the entire planet: the Barahona region mines in the Dominican Republic.

The mines are really difficult to access  AND the area may be closed off 5 months of the year due to the torrential rains & hurricane season making it very unsafe to dig.

[caption id="attachment_9125" align="aligncenter" width="570"] This is the REAL DEAL![/caption]

So you can probably now easily see the motive to fake this stone. Right?

Some sellers desperately get a hold of some lower quality larimar intermingled with some silicate/quartz containing rock material and sell that off as larimar. Well, technically, they’re not entirely wrong here & energetically this is still a gorgeous energy to work with! LET’S BE CLEAR ON THAT.

My purpose here is to inform you & make sure that you’re armed with all the knowledge to make a highly informed purchase decision & that you’re not paying unnecessarily higher prices for something that is not entirely what it’s being claimed to be.

True-Blue Larimar (*Yep! Pun intended*) should not be mixed in with any of that translucent quartz material at all…as seen in my photo below. This, Chick Pea, is not larimar but was being sold as such in a shop I was in.

See the translucency?

I tested it & it’s Mohs Hardness was a 7 telling me that is a copper-bearing quartz rock (chyrsocolla most likely?)

{GEO GEEK FACTOID: Larimar’s Mohs Hardness is between 4.5-5}
3 Easy Tips to Spot Fake Larimar

  • Is the stone translucent at all? Lift the stone up to the sun. This is an extremely reliable way to tell. If  you can see ANY light through any part of it, no bueno! Real-deal high quality larimar is opaque. Light does not penetrate at all.
  • Does it have any white veins, streaks or what look like clouds? This is a hallmark trait of genuine larimar and part of what makes it so beautiful.  White streaks are also very common in larimar stones and are key-markers that distinguish the stone from turquoise or other copper-bearing silicates. Be wary of any supposed larimar stone that doesn’t have some hint of a white streak, veins or clouds.
  • Ask about the mining location. Some unethical sellers try to come up with new & exotic locations for stones to make a great new story to help sell them. Yep, they just make something up. If it doesn’t come from the Dominican Republic, it ain’t the real deal. Walk away, Jelly Bean.

BTW, I have a whole blog post devoted entirely to luscious larmiar here if you’d like to learn more about it. 🙂
Healerite
This is another one of those trademarked jobbies.

I feel there’s no good reason to trademark this stone, b/c it’s part of a well-known subgroup of mineral that already has a perfectly good name: that would be “lime green serpentine”.

My take on the whole trademarking of stones is here.

[caption id="attachment_18437" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Healerite. Photo generously provided by Crystalline Cohort, Carla Gitto.[/caption]

See, I really don’t like when sellers do this…someone takes a subgroup of an already known mineral, slaps a new name on it & trademarks it. 😛

“Healerite” is simply a yellow-green serpentine subgroup being relabeled & sold for $50/piece (depending on size) instead of around $6.00/lb as it should be at any gem show you go to. 

But, apparently, subgroups are being trademarked all over the freakin’ place.  Something to watch out for!

Use your common sense here.
If it’s too good to be true, then yeah, it probably is.

**Please SHARE this info with other Crystal Hotties so that we all stay in-the-know & well-informed. No duping us with FAKES!!!!**
If you choose to work with man-made crystals & you enjoy them just fine or it’s been working for you, I always say “keep on ‘truckin’”. Don’t change a thing!

I just want us all to have the knowledge first & then you can make an informed decision regarding how you choose to use these “stones”.

And as always, the moral of the story here is…Buyer Beware. Who are you buying from? Are they reputable? Do they know what they’re talking about? Are you doing your own due diligence & research? The best way to protect yourself is education.

Do you have any fake-out stories to tell? Please post in the comments below & help us all out!

Crystal Blessings,

 

 

P.S.…like this sort of stuff? Then grab your FREE handy downloadable Crystal Fakes 40 page Reference eBook!

This is the EXACT eBook you need in order to navigate the gem shows, crystal shops & eBay, get the REAL thing & get what you pay for. Don’t get scammed or duped into buying FAKES!

Go here now to download your free copy.

Is Your Citrine Real or Fake Citrine & Does it Matter? “Fakes” Series: Part 4

Hibiscus Moon amethyst, citrine, Crystal Healing, Crystals, energy work, science 49 Comments

Crystals are remarkable & glorious gifts from Mother Earth. Aren’t they?

And we all love citrine. But do you know if your citrine is real or fake citrine…and should you care?

Some crystal peeps prefer their crystals to be all natural; as they were found in Mother Nature, in the raw.

Others may be drawn to the beauty of crystals that have been enhanced in some way but they may be totally unaware that they have been artificially altered. Maybe the crystals have been molecularly bonded, irradiated, tumbled, cut, polished or even heat treated in a lab. Now, I’m saying “lab” in this post for ease & flow but often times the heating we’re talking about here isn’t done in a lab at all. It’s usually done in a dusty warehouse by the miners themselves; no lab coats or anything. Just keepin’ it real for ya. 😉

Lab-heated citrine seems to be a sore spot with many. So much so that over the years as I received many questions about it I’ve created a few videos to talk about the topic & show some examples. (See below for vids).

Sometimes when people find out that much of the citrine on the market isn’t an Mama Earth Creation, they may go into  a mini-panic, thinking that they’ve been duped or that their heat-treated citrine is totally  useless. Not so…IMHO. But more about that in a bit.
How to tell the difference
It’s not always an easy task but let me give you a few pointers. If its heat-treated citrine, the color will be most  concentrated at the tips but white at the bottom (see photos below).  Also heat-treated citrine will be sort of crumbly & break apart easily since heating the stones at the temps necessary does seem to weaken the stability of the crystals.
Natural Citrine
[caption id="attachment_10499" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Natural citrine points from the Congo. Notice their generally uniform smokey, champagne or honey color to them. Congo natural citrine usually comes in these nice elongated points & often have babies & hematite around its base where it was attached to the rock matrix.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_10504" align="aligncenter" width="583"] This is a natural citrine with a classic point shape and light tea color throughout the crystal.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_10505" align="aligncenter" width="587"] This piece is an amazing feat of geology! Here you see a double terminated penetrator twin that got fractured during its growth process & self healed while turning into a natural golden citrine only above the fracture! AMAZING & have never seen anything like it![/caption]
Heat-Treated Citrine
[caption id="attachment_10500" align="aligncenter" width="562"] Heat-treated citrine from Brazil is usually amethyst (sometimes smokey quartz) that’s been baked. This piece was broken off of a large amethyst geode then heated to get this tell-tale baked orange color at the tip with white bottom.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_10501" align="aligncenter" width="594"] This photo demos another common baked citrine formation, the druse. This darker deep honey-colored ice tea hue is known as Madeira citrine. Then you can see a sharp border which then goes white.[/caption]
How do They Do It?
Mother Earth naturally creates citrine with her geo-thermal heat source; from within the mantle (her deluxe gourmet geo-kitchen!) by heating amethyst or smoky quartz (both are SiO2 (quartz), just as citrine is).

The Earth can also produce the deep brown citrine, aka Madeira citrine. This is more rare than your usual lighter honey or white wine colored natural citrine. Actually, all types of natural citrine are considered relatively rare. They’re no where near as bountiful as amethyst so they can get be hard to find & a bit pricey. Be prepared.

When we lab-heat citrine we’re simply mimicking what Mama Earth does. You usually begin with a poorly or lightly colored Brazilian amethyst. Then you heat it in a kiln to over 900°F (482°C). If you want it to go dark yellow or to red-brown (Madeira color) then you go up to 1022-1040°F (550-560°C). Some smoky quartz can turn citrine color as cool as 390°F (199°C).
Interactive!!
Ain’t this the interactive classroom?? My favorite kind. Crystal Hottie Shayla read this blog post w/i hours of it posting & got to experimenting in her lab kitchen & showed us how it’s done. Thank you Prof. Shayla for sharing this with us & your quick work! *bowing down* Check out her results:

Is it Still Citrine?
Yep, yep, yep & I feel that heated/baked crystals & stones can be worked with very effectively. Heating the stone at these temperatures simply changes the color but doesn’t change its molecular structure & again, IMHO, as long as a crystal’s molecular structure hasn’t been altered, I feel that the crystal will still have the effective healing qualities.In addition, the stone’s color (light vibrational frequency) has now been changes to that of natural citrine’s. Its no longer of the violet frequency, its now in the orange or yellow frequency. So its going to resonate that energy now.

Is Your Citrine Fake or Natural? Part 1

That being said, I do think that heat treating or enhancing a crystal can reduce this frequency & effectiveness since it does weaken the stone some, but it doesn’t totally burn out its potential healing effects. So, no need to replace your citrine at all.

Citrine – Fake or Natural, Part 2

Whether citrine is heated artificially or naturally, it’s still often commercially classified as citrine. Remember, this artificial or natural heating is not enough to change the molecular structure of the crystal so it’s still SiO2. I feel the healing properties are still those of citrine, but on a lighter scale.

To me, lab heated citrine’s properties are not similar to amethyst’s or smoky quartz’ at all. Through much experimenting of my own as well as that of my student’s & clients, baked citrine’s properties align perfectly to my solar plexus chakra; its energetically stimulating, it helps with financial issues & it helps us to be more confident. Now, if you’re looking for a piece that’s just going to go BAMMM!  in these precise areas, then I’d advise you to go with a natural citrine, for sure….its energies will be much more powerful.

Types of Citrine for Crystal Healing

Let me end by saying that I feel that your intuition should always be your first guide. If a stone or crystal works for you for a particular purpose then don’t let anyone or anything that you read or hear change that for you. For certain people, certain stones may work very well while not work for others no matter what is said or written about them. Keep on truckin’, Crystal Hottie!

Just as in quantum physics, the scientist doing the observing actually influences the outcome & properties of the subatomic particles being observed. So, basically, if you believe it to be so, it simply is, on a subatomic level. Why should it be any different on a super atomic level? As below, so it is above, right? Let the crystals that you know work for you continue to do so…if you believe it to be true, it simply is. No panicking over heat-treated citrine, OK? If it worked for you before, it’s still going to continue to do so…unless you think it won’t.

Continue to enjoy your crystals and stones, heat-treated or not.

Ooodles of Crystal Blessings!

Oooodles of Crystal Blessings!!P
P.S. What do you think of heat-treated citrine? Like it, hate it, who cares? Let me know in the comments below!

BTW…like this sort of stuff? Then grab your FREE handy downloadable Crystal Fakes 40 page Reference eBook!

This is the EXACT eBook you need in order to navigate the gem shows, crystal shops & eBay, get the REAL thing & get what you pay for. Don’t get scammed or duped into buying FAKES!

Click here now to download your free copy!

Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1

Hibiscus Moon Crystal Healing, Crystals, science 71 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!

TELLTALE SIGN OF A FAKE GLASS “QUARTZ”: Glass will often have tiny air bubbles, quartz won’t. End of story.

Recently I got this great question:
I remember reading on a post you made about fake crystals that if a quartz has bubbles it’s glass, not a real quartz crystal. How can you tell the difference then between an enhydro crystal (bubbles containing water) from a fake simple glass?
The glass bubbles will usually be very tiny, spherical & have no movement inside (hence no water).

Enhydro bubbles will def. have water moving around in them & they’re usually oddly shaped…and tend to be larger. HTH!
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.

[caption id="attachment_2793" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Fire Quartz from Africa- the real deal[/caption]

 
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!

The photo below is an example of dyed howlite (See the little slice I made? It’s white inside.)

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 up into a fine powder.  Resins & dyes may then be added & then pressed into a mold, carved or shaped. Ummmm, no thanks. None for me.

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

  • UV Light Test: turquoise containing resins will fluoresce; have a black-light? Check it out!
  • 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
  • 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?

     

    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. 🙂

     

     

    BTW…like this sort of stuff? Then grab your FREE handy downloadable Crystal Fakes 40 page Reference eBook!

    This is the EXACT eBook you need in order to navigate the gem shows, crystal shops & eBay, get the REAL thing & get what you pay for. Don’t get scammed or duped into buying FAKES!

    Click here now to download your free copy!