Tucson Gem Show Shopping Tips for Crystal Hotties

Hibiscus Moon fakes, gem show, tucson 5 Comments

Tucson Gem Show Folder

So what’s reeeeally going down in Tucson? I’m here to share super-sparkly shopping tips just for Crystal Hotties specific to shopping in Tucson.

I’ve been visiting the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show for many years now & documenting what I’ve been up to while out there on my blog. Here are a couple of my posts from more recent trips:

  • 2012
  • 2013
  • 2014

First, read my general crystal shopping tips here.

One thing you’ll notice right away in Tucson, being the largest Gem & Mineral Show on Mama Earth you’ll find the place crawling with geo-geeks, miners & fossil freaks. ‘Tis exciting stuffs! And, now in more recent years I’ve noticed it getting more & more popular with the metaphysical community too. It’s becoming Crystal Hottie Central. If you’re willing to really keep your ears & eyes open this is a great opportunity to learn so much about the crystals & stones. It’s like an accelerated course on the subject. That’s 1 reason why I love going so much. There’s always more to learn.
WATCH THIS FIRST for a General Overview of what the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show is Like:

The “Tucson Gem & Mineral Show” isn’t one show or convention but really more of an “event” or “happening” that kicks off in December, but really gets going in late January to early February & fizzles out towards the end of February. 

The official show is the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show™, held at Tucson Convention Center Exhibition Hall and Arena. It’s always held on the 2nd full weekend of February. This show sets the gold & silver standard for the year & showcases the most supreme specimens from around the planet. They also host academic talks…if you’re into that sort of geekery (like moi). I try to make it to this show each year, but it’s not a must. You won’t get your best prices here as its a retail show but its great for learning more about the minerals! Also a great spot if you’re looking for very high quality hard to find specimens.

Here’s some footage from the official show in 2013:

To find out more about the other shows in the area check out the Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau website or grab the latest issue of Rock & Gem magazine on your newstand. They always have lots of ads for the largest shows & where they’ll be located that year (as I mentioned in the above general overview video…they tend to move about).

When you get to town go grab a show magazine; I like the Tucson Show Guide (you can pick 1 of these suckers up for free in almost any hotel in town) & that will give a good list of the main shows & where they’re located.
It’s not easy to find a hotel/motel room during Gem Show time unless you plan ahead. I book my travel about 6 months in advance. Or you can book your room outside of Tucson-proper & then drive in to visit the shows. 

Pack your stuffs in a rolling luggage that can pull double-duty for you while you shop the shows & stuff it with your crystal & stone purchases! Those crystals get heavy & you do not want to use a back pack for this….your back, neck & shoulders will thank me later.

all packed up in Florida & ready to fly out to Tucson with my fav. rolling luggage!

Oh! Make sure you call & confirm all travel arrangements beforehand. I’ve had problems before showing up to a hotel that had no record of my reservation & then the hotel was completely booked and there was no room at the inn! Good thing though I had my email confirmation printed out on PAPER & insisted on seeing the hotel manager. They magically found me a room. Booo-yah! So, my big-tip here is always get an email confirmation then print it out & bring it with you. TRUST!

Are you flying in? Depending on where you’re coming from its usually easier & cheaper to fly in to Phoenix, rent a car & drive the 2 hours into Tucson. The drive is lovely & usually sans traffic.

If you don’t rent a car, you can take advantage of the GemRide!! It’s a free shuttle that drops peeps off at the major gem shows. Very convenient. There are different routes so it is important to find out which route you’d prefer.

And…when traveling anywhere I make sure to follow my regular crystalline travel tips.

If you don’t want to use USPS, you can bring your UPS or FedEx account numbers with you and ask where the shipping locations are as soon as you get into town. Some shows have a shipping booth right there for convenience.

Here’s a Google Map of the local post offices.

We gather up old newspapers while in Tucson to use as shipping filler for the boxes we’ll be sending home.

packing crystals up for shipping home in the local USPS post office parking lot using the rental car as Packing Central!
Watch All My Tucson Gem Show Video Footage from over the Years in this Playlist:

 Insider Secret Gems I’ve Learned the Hard Way:

  • I pack my shipping tape dispenser to use for packing boxes with later after I’m ready to ship the crystals home
  • Bring a notebook & pen for taking notes while shopping
  • I have a Tucson Folder that I add important notes, ads & buyer info to throughout the year & then each year I’ve added favorite buyer info (in hopes that they’ll be in the same spot again next year or that I can contact them outside of the show) or good spots to eat, etc.
  • Call your credit card company BEFORE  you get to the show and let them know where you’ll be & how much you plan on spending so they don’t “freeze“ your account due to “unusual activity”.
  • Bring cash! $$$ Some venders take credit cards, but you’ll get the best deals with cash. Try to avoid having to go to an ATM, b/c the fees can be $6/withdrawal. Ouch. I don’t travel with cash but once I get into town I stop at a bank & withdraw what I think I’ll need to get me through the show or at least that day.
  • Create a shopping list ahead of time  so you don’t forget anything…as we can get quite distracted & forget why we’re even there!!
  • Unpack all your clothes from the rolling luggage you used to travel with & get it ready & empty for shopping. It’s best if you can use one that zips open on the top so that you can quickly unzip & pop your glittery purchases in it w/o having to lay it down in the middle of the gem show & opening it up sideways.
  • Bring a ton of biz cards (for both crystal biz networking & some venders actually ask for them). I had some cards printed up with my resale number right on them just for the show; just to make things quick & easy. If you don’t have biz cards, that’s OK. It’s not mandatory.

    My mini biz cards. I got these printed up @ moo.com

  • Bring extra copies of your reseller license. Most shows won’t ask to see this to get in but some vendors will ask to see it & may even want to keep a copy so have extra copies on hand.
  • Wear comfy worn in shoes or sneakers. You’re going to be walking a lot! And a lot of times you’re walking in desert sand/dust or gravel. This is not the time to show off you’re new adorable unbroken-in cowboy boot purchase (note to self!!!)

  • Wear & bring sunglasses, lip balm, sunscreen, & layers (scarf or sweater) b/c you’ll go from hot to cold in a jiffy.
  • Be friendly & talk to  other buyers or don’t be shy to ask “Where did you get that?” You never know who you’ll meet & you’ll get some great buying tips. :)
  • Walk around the entire show & look at everything before you start buying. Even make some notes (in your trusty notebook) of the item, price & where it was located so you can go back & find it again. Why do you want to do this? You’re gonna notice really fast that several vendors may be selling the same stuff for wildly varying prices, quality or both! Your goal of course is to locate the best quality for the best price & not get duped with any fakes. BUT BEWARE…while you take the time to do this, that same sparkly super-large pink Lemurian wand with your name written all over it may not be there when you get back (yeah…something I’d rather forget ever happened!) so use your intuition here, Crystal Hottie. 
  • Hey, it’s OK to negotiate prices here…usually. It’s expected. So don’t be shy to talk to the vendors. You’ll get much further when dealing with cash & purchasing in bulk or buying several items from the same seller.
  • Consider bringing a jeweler’s loupe with you to check the clarity of stones, look for chips, inclusions or enhydro bubbles!
  • Bring extra baggies so you can keep your purchases organized (some venders don’t use bags at all). Also bring a sharpie so you can mark the bag with whats contained inside. Then as you make your purchases, tuck each receipt into the corresponding bag. Hear me now, thank me laters on this one.  If you really want to get organized; I love having a little ritual of spreading out my purchases for the day on the bed & making a list of  what I bought from each vendor & its price. Then I keep that in my trusty Tucson Folder.
  • Stock a fanny pack or light back pack (nothing heavy here) with things you’ll need while out & about like tissues, hand wipes (or hand sanitizer b/c rocks can be dirty), aspirin, snacks, a water bottle (don’t forget…you’re in the desert, Baby).

    I’m never w/o my fanny pack while shopping. *Hanging out with the Busse’s of Prospectors Reality Show.*

  • Be very aware the whole time! There are a lot of people around you. Its’ like being in a crazy airport while all the glittery objects around you distract you constantly!! Keep checking your stuffs & make sure you haven’t lost anything (your last purchase), left anything behind (your credit card) or had anything stolen. It can happen.

Lastly, all shows have both great venders & those that may sell fakes (not a ton but they’re there). The best tool you have is just knowin’ your stuff. My Hibiscus Moon Advanced Crystal Masters go through special geologic training that teaches  them how to test & identify so they’re well-informed about this sort of thing.

I’ve heard from them again & again how gaining that knowledge has proven to be quite empowering!

Then once you’ve been properly educated, the rest of your gem-buying-confidence just comes with experience; getting out there & doing it. You may get burned a few times, but oh…the lessons you learn from that! Invaluable. If you stick to the big/main shows & avoid the little off shoot ones (although there are great deals to be had there), you’ll usually be better safe-guarded against any possible fakes.  

And hey…be sure to read my FREE Crystal Fakes 40 page Reference eBook before going so you’re extra prepared.

This is the EXACT eBook you need in order to navigate away from any possible fakes that may cross your path. I don’t want you getting scammed or duped into buying FAKES! With this reference guide, you’ll be well-informed.

>>Click here now to download your free copy!

I hope this post has been helpful & if you have more tips to share or ideas for more info to add, please pop it into the comments below!

Crystal Blessings!

Beware! Crystal Fakes and How to Spot Them

Hibiscus Moon fakes 18 Comments


I think it’s high time for another installment of my Crystal Fakes Blog Posts. I have a few other common ones that I’ve seen popping up quite a bit that I reeeeeeeally want to discuss & get outta my system.
Crystal Fakes FREE eBook!

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 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!




Please remember, no judgements from me if you choose to work with man-made crystals.  I, personally, choose not to, but I like to inform our Crystal Hottie Community about the geo-facts b/c I feel it’s very important that you know what you’re getting & that you not be fooled in any way.

I feel it’s super-important that you KNOW, geologically, exactly what you’re working with.

OK, so let’s go…
“Bismuth Crystal”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bismuth_Crystal.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bismuth_Crystal.jpg

I’ve been seeing these guys in new age shops & being sold online & peeps just falling all over themselves over these iridescent bismuth crystals, thinking they’re natural. Not when they look like this. Nope. Sorry to burst that pretty bubble, but rainbow-colored crystallized Bismuth like that DOES NOT occur in nature. These Pretty-Babies are lab-grown (usually in Germany). They take liquid bismuth & super-cool it until it crystallizes.

Here’s a great source for Bismuth lab grown crystals who is also quite knowledgeable & honest.

Native bismuth from New Mexico. (Photo credit: Theodore Gray)

Native natural bismuth born of Mother Earth is usually a dull gray (sometimes oxidizes with some yellow or green), lumpy & doesn’t have any visible crystal structure. So, in other words, BORING.
Magnetic Hematite
OK, this is 1 that I could not wait to get the word out about b/c I see many in our community getting fooled by it & I want to have a blog post to refer them to in the future.

So, there’s real hematite (non-magnetic) & then there’s Magnetic Hematite (FAKE).

Natural Hematite is not naturally magnetic. There’s a small teeny-weeny little magnetic charge in natural hematite, but nothing you’d be able to feel.  So, yeah…all those science museum shops that are stocked with the buzzing “singing” hematite, the magnetic rings & bracelets…they’re all bunk.

Magnetic hematite. Photo permission graciously provided by Crystal Hottie Jean N Jazz from Facebook!

Magnetic hematite  is totally manmade. But we’re easily fooled by it b/c it looks just like polished natural hematite with that mirrored finish. Geologists don’t actually consider the man-made magnetic stuff as hematite, since its technically just finely powdered iron oxide or ceramic barium-strontium ferrite, heated until it granulates & then cooled while it is attached to very strong magnet. Although, its made of the same stuff as natural hematite, it’s not the same process at all.

Natural hematite tumbled stones

Again, this does not mean that wearing synthetic hematite bracelets (or what have you) won’t work for you. The magnetic effects may indeed be doing you much good. Personally, I prefer to not work synthetic stones or crystals if there is a natural alternative, but it doesn’t mean there arent’ benefits to be had.
How do you know if what you have is real or not?:

  • Is it magnetic? Then it ain’t real
  • If it’s chipped & it’s white inside, then it ain’t real (real hematite is a rusty reddish, brown)
  • If you do a streak test & it’s grey, it ain’t real (real hematite streak is also a rusty reddish, brown as I demo here)

Green Quartz
OK, this shiz really made a big splash (with the inexperienced buyers) at the Tucson Gem Show this year! Its been steadily growing in popularity over the last several years, but this year took the cake & b/c of that its trickled its way into almost every new age crystal shop in every corner of the world w/ most of the shop owners not knowing any better.

And, OH, the Tucson stories that I was hearing to go along with these suckers! Such a crime. It was also quite popular on eBay, although I see recently it seems to have dies down…thank goodness.

My intuition was telling me they were fakes when I first saw them, but I wanted to sit with it a bit longer & do some more digging & research to really be certain.

Well, I found out that, indeed…just as I suspected, green quartz can & is being produced in the lab…the very same labs that tech companies use to manufacture high-quality quartz crystals for electronics. They use a hydrothermal process; heating a normal clear quartz w/ natural chromium inclusions (usually a lower quality milky specimen and/or a damaged clear specimen) with water & chromium under high pressure, causing the quartz to recrystallize & actually force it to form new growth that caps & covers the damaged tips. Then the chromuium disperses throughout & changes almost the entire color of the specimen to a deep forest green!

  • Crystal tips & apexes that have an etched or stepped growth pattern; due to the forced regrowth
  • Crystal apexes (tech. apices)that are trigonal (3 facets) rather than the more common hexagonal (6 facet)
  • Deeper green color concentration at apexes (even look like phantoms so may be higher in price!) 
  • Many of these specimens on eBay hail from China
  • Tend to look like spirit or fairy quartz w/ the same sort of teeny crusted crystals points that tend to cover the crystal shafts; due to the forced regrowth

Check out the Difference…
Natural Chlorite Quartz…the Real-Deal
FAKE Green Quartz:

Keep in mind…this fake deep forest green quartz is not to be confused with Dream Quartz, which is a much lighter green & doesn’t look anything like this stuffs.

So once again…the moral of the story is…Buyer Beware. Who are you buying from? Are they reputable? Do they know what they’re talking about? Are you doing your own homework? OK, do you have any fake-out stories to tell? Please post in the comments below & help us all out!

Happy Crystal Shopping!



P.S. Don’t forget…if you like this sort of stuff then grab your FREE handy downloadable 40 page Crystal Fakes Reference eBook! (Feel free to share it around too). This is the EXACT eBook you need in order to navigate the 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!

Don’t Be Fooled By the Rocks that I Got!…More Crystal Fakes

Hibiscus Moon fakes, geology 13 Comments

charoite vs fake

Ahhh, I get some sort of wacko geo-geek-high from writing these particular blog posts on “fake crystals” in my Fakes Series! Thanks for letting me indulge myself once again. You can catch my previous posts in this series here:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • Part 5

I chose today’s featured fakes b/c these seem to be showing up quite often at the gem shows & in my student forums or in our various Hibiscus Moon Private Facebook Groups. I feel it’s most definitely my duty to keep our community informed on this schist.

Now, if you choose to work with man-made crystals that’s totally fine. No judgements from me on that. I, personally, choose not to.

But, I do think its very important that you know what you’re getting & that you not be fooled & that you KNOW geologically exactly what you’re working with.

BTW, sometimes sellers aren’t looking to purposefully fool anyone…sometimes they themselves have no idea.

So let’s get to it!
High grade authentic charoite from Russia on the left vs. fake Chinese Fluorite (sold as charoite on ebay on the right)

BEWARE: Chinese fluorite is being sold as “Chinese Charoite”, claiming a new deposit discovered in China. It’s BOGUS. They really look nothing alike to me so I’m surprised this is actually duping people. Some people have been taking low grade Chinese purple fluorite & polishing it up to sell as dupes. You’ll notice that these “Chinese Charoite” fakes have a lot of white in them & no swirly pattern, in fact the purple layers in these fakes have a very angular pattern to them.

As you can see in the above photo, high grade chaorite is vibrantly purple with very little white + a gorgeous unusual swirly purple pattern. All authentic charoite comes from Russia from the Chara River region. It’s the only place in the world where it’s found & its very rare, hence a hefty price. So price point can be a good indicator of a fake.

Real high-grade Russian charoite for sale at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show

The “Chinese Chaorite” started rearing its head big-time about 5 years ago.

You can determine if your piece is fluorite with a UV light & a scratch test being that charoite is harder than fluorite…(something our Advanced Crystal Masters are well-versed on).
Cinnabar Infused Quartz

Cinnabar crystals also a tough crystal to come by in large quantities or in large pieces. But the fakes? Oh…very easy to come by! I’ve seen many with the name, Cinnabar-Infused Quartz or sometimes they called them cherry + or strawberry quartz (which can also be glass-infused as discussed in Part 1). *Beware the mercury content in cinnabar.*

These were all being sold as “Natural Cinnabar-Infused-Quartz” Hibiscus Moon Advanced Crystal Master, Mary Oquendo, shows a cinnabar-infused cut & polished quartz point.

Although cinnabar & quartz do grow together naturally it’s usually not in a pretty swirl as seen in the above photos. When it is actually cinnabar, it’s often reconstituted (melted & mixed with other stuffs) with clear quartz & then can have plastics & binders added to it.  Sometimes, the creators of this stuff may even add some selenium (Se) to get a more red crystal.

Here’s my big beef with all of this. If the quartz & cinnabar (if there’s any real cinnabar being added at all) are being reconstituted (hence melted down)…then all you’re doing is  creating man-made silica glass. So this is no longer holding a crystalline molecular structure = IT’S NO LONGER A CRYSTAL.

And all of this may be totally OK with you. I just prefer my crystals to be actual CRYSTALS and to be 100% Mama Earth made.

But that’s just moi.

Goldstone, aka “aventurine glass”, is another man-made glass “gem” that’s been hangin’ around for quite a long time…since the 17th century! It’s very pretty so I can certainly see why. Check this sparkly baby out!!

Ooooo, Sparkly…but FAKE! (Photo credit: GDK)

There’s a legend that this “stone” came about when some Venetian glass-working monks accidentally dumped some molten copper into the melted glass they were working with.

The process is a bit more complicated but here’s what goes into it:

  • After the molten copper is poured into the molten glass …
  • It’s sealed off air-tight & kept at a specific temperature that’s hot enough to maintain in liquid state while still allowing the copper crystals to grow in the solution but not melting back again
  • Then the solution is cooled forming 1 solid mass
  • The cooled mass is broken open for cutting & polishing

The result is teeny crystallized specks of copper strewn throughout the glass, reflecting & sparkling up a storm. Although usually a golden coppery color, I’ve seen “goldstone” come in all colors, based on the elements added in the process.

I’m sure you have many opinions of your own to share about my “Featured Fakes” here today. You know I always welcome a mature & respectful debate, so please do comment below. Or if you’d simply just like to share your thoughts, that’s welcome too!

Have a Sparkly Day!

How to Pick Out Crystal Fakes: Part 5

Hibiscus Moon amethyst, Crystals, fakes, geology

So this crystal fakes stuffs is getting to be a popular series here on my blog.

And I’m quite enjoying my role in revealing & educating on the gemmy fakes & frauds that have crossed my path.
You can check out the other parts here:

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4

Before I get into the fakes & confusers I want to draw attention to in this blog post, there’s a little sumn’ sumn’ I wanna to discuss.

My aim here is NOT to completely remove the romanticism of stones & crystals. You know I’m all about the sparkly, glittery & spiritual side of them! Who do you know that sings their praises more than me?

But it may be time for a wee dose of reality when it comes to realizing that they may not arrive 100% unaltered in our hungry little hands. I’ve already discussed my stance on the ethics of mining crystals and stones here…different topic.

All righty…let’s get into it.

After stones are removed from Mother Earth, they’re usually given an oxalic acid wash to clean them up & make them more visually pleasing. I demonstrate this in a video here:
How I Cleanse My Crystals

Then they may be further altered through cutting, tumbling or polishing.
Many crystals may then go through the lab heating process.

This is often done with amethyst to deepen its color or turn it into citrine.

Some crystals are even artificially irradiated, a completely different process that does indeed alter & change them molecularly. Certain darker blue topaz & dark, almost black yet reasonably priced smoky quartz from Arkansas are common examples of this.

I feel crystals that have been altered in this way have lost their  original base resonant frequency & essential now have a synthetic 1…no bond to how they were originally created; Mother Earth bond lost & so…I don’t work with them.

Just wanted to throw in the above info before we get into a few more fakes and/or confusing names so that we all are aware of what may or may not have been done to our stones. It’s always good to be armed with info, don’t you think?
Lapis Lazuli
This baby is no fake but is one of the most often FAKED stones.

The more high quality variety comes from Afghanistan & Pakistan & is characterized by a deep & vibrant blue color (from lazurite) & highly sought after pyrite flecks. It’s natural good looks make it popular in the jewelry trade but it is more expensive & a bit harder to come by.

Lapis lazuli from Pakistan. You can easily see the gold pyrite flecks.

There’s a less expensive, less dazzling kind available from South America & Russia that has more gray in it is more of a dull blue & lacks the pyrite flecks, so not nearly as sought after.

This Lapis is from Chile, shows more grey & no pyrite…but its still the real deal.

The attractiveness of lapis & ease of “fake-ability” make it 1 to watch out for. Some will even take less expensive or low quality howlite, jasper or sodalite & dye it up to make it that vibrant blue. Sometimes even plastic, resins or glass (either mixed in with lapis lazuli “powder” to make “reconstituted” lapis or pure) will be passed off as the blue stone.

My Tips for Spotting Fake Lapis:

  • Acetone (nail polish remover) will remove the dye from a fake but may also damage the stone so tread lightly
  • If it’s very uniform it may be reconstituted (which is not technically fake but completely altered by man) or plain ole’ plastic, resin or glass
  • Lapis can be confused with sodalite but will have much less white (calcite), if its heavy on the white then pass
  • If it has a lot of grey, it’s mostly like sodalite; if you know how to do a streak test, sodalite will ave a white streak whereas lapis will have a light blue streak
  • Cheap price is usually an indicator of a fake

Gaia Stone aka The Goddess Stone, Helenite, Mt. St. Helen’s Obsidian, Green Obsidian, Blue Obsidian
This stone is purported to be created from melting volcanic ash from the eruption at Mount St. Helen & then shaping it into various forms, possibly mixing it with other resins & binders. Hence…MAN-MADE. Geologists have yet to confirm any naturally formed green or blue glass in this region.

That would be so totally exciting if this Gaia Stone actually happened all on its own…at the hands of Mother Natures, but  is simply not the case. At least we don’t have any evidence yet to prove this.

Green Obsidian. Thank you to photographer, Susan Jones Gardner Broughton, for sharing her photo. Blue & green obsidian. Thank you to photographer, Jenn Langer for sharing her photo.

Here’s the deal. This is scientific fact so there’s no arguing here on this:

The geological definition of obsidian is it’s volcanic glass; that is…glass created by volcanism that forms when molten rock material cools.

Human hands have NADA to do with it.

So, if Mother Earth didn’t fuse it together during a volcanic eruption herself…then it ain’t obsidian.

But many are taking any sort of glass & calling it obsidian. I just think that’s wrong & misleading to misuse the terminology that way.

So is the glass bottle I’m drinking from an obsidian bottle?

Are my windows on my house obsidian? *Need to remember that when I put the house up for sale*:

*Rare Clear Obsidian Windows in all Rooms!*

C’mon. Same goes for the red, orange & yellow obsidians. Mother Earth does make many natural & darker colored obsidians…but not these colors, Lima Bean.

IF evidence ever dos come to light that this was a natural event then I will gladly take back everything I’ve said here & high-tail it to the nearest seller to buy a HUGE honkin’ piece of this…but until then I’m just steering clear.
Anchi Crystals

I included this “crystal” (seems to be a group of many different crystals) b/c I’ve been receiving several frequent questions about it from my students in our Certified Crystal Healer Course. Since the “discoverer” of these Anchi crystals hasn’t disclosed the locality of where these crystals were supposedly found we don’t have much concrete info about them.

So far they’ve only disclosed that they “are found in only one location on the Earth” & that they are a group of over 50 different types of  crystals including opaque or milky quartz & different types of tourmalines. From what I can tell they are a lower quality group of smaller crystals so not very clear & knocked around a bit.

I’m still not clear why this outcrop of crystals deserved a special name all their own (except that they’re trademarked under that name so there’s that ).

I hope this post was helpful to but…as I always say…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…you keep on doing your thing, Crystal Hottie!

If you have any photos of to share of these stones, please stop by & post them up on my FB Page. I’d love for you to share with the other Crystal Hotties.

Do you have other views & news on the crystals discussed here today or perhaps other fakes or confusers you’d like me to research for a future post? Please let me know in the comments below!

As always, thank you so much for reading & adding your personal sparkle to the convo! ((HUGS))

Crystal Blessings, Jelly Bean!



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!


P.S. My HIGHLY-requested Ancestor Connection with Crystals eKit is JUST about on sale for an very limited time. I’m also giving away my own personal well-desired Ancestor Anointing Gem Elixir Oil Recipe as a bonus along with the eKit. Details coming soon in my newsletter!

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

Hibiscus Moon amethyst, citrine, Crystal Healing, Crystals, energy work, science 35 Comments

citrine sphere3

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 soar 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
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.

This is a natural citrine with a classic point shape and light tea color throughout the crystal.

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!
Heat-Treated Citrine
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.

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.
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).
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!

Uncovering More Crystal Fakes: Part 3

Hibiscus Moon Crystals, energy work 15 Comments

So today I bring to you another post about the crystal fakes + frauds out there in Crystal-land. After the last post on the subject I got lots of questions about others so here are a few more popular ones for you to be aware of, Jelly Bean.
Amber (not technically a mineral or crystal since it has organic origins) is supposed to be super-duper expensive, right? So why all this cheap stuffs on the market?

Well, that cheap stuffs is most likely plastic or copal, pronounced “coh-PAHL”. Copal is often sold as “amber”, but it’s not. Amber is the fossilized (40-60 million years old), hardened resin from a now extinct pine tree.

Copal, on the other hand, is hardened immature recent resin (only 1000- 1 million years old). Copal is technically almost the same thing, just not as old & the names are often used interchangeably.

BUT, “almost” is not the same & the slight variation makes a huge difference! A reputable seller will make sure to note that copal is not true amber.

This is actually rough copal often sold as “amber”.


Sometimes what you think is amber may not even be copal but may be glass, synthetic resins or plastic!
Why is amber so expensive?
Well that, My Sweets, depends on several things: how rare it is, its age, color & whether is has any included insects (remember that Mosquito in amber from Jurassic park that they got the dino DNA from? ….which is totally impossible BTW!).

The value of amber is related to its scarcity, age, inclusions of extinct species & durability.

Various shades of polished Baltic Amber
Here are some tests you can do to see if you have copal or the real deal:

  • Smell test – real amber has a distinct pine scent after heating. Copal will have a “sweet” resin smell but its not pine.
  • Solvent test – Copal & plastic fakes won’t pass this test but it will damage your piece.  Drip a few drops of fingernail polish remover or alcohol on your piece…if it gets tacky or sticky & the solvent takes on the color of the piece, Congrats!…you’ve got yourself a fake! Real amber won’t bat an eyelash over this.
  • Melt test – Real amber doesn’t melt, it burns. Copal & plastics will melt at a relatively low temperature (lower than 150 C/300F ). Yes, this is the same copal many use as incense due to the sweet scent it emits when burned.  If it plastic, acccck!! The smell will be horrible!
  • Hot needle test– the tip of a hot needle will burn real amber, but copal or the fakes will melt, so best to try this on an area that no one will see as this will damage your piece too.
  • Float test – Amber will float in salt water.  That’s why it’s so easy to harvest amber along the beach of the Baltic Sea. for locals on the Baltic Coast to find it washed up on beaches, especially after storm events. The amber gets stirred up from a layer known as blue earth, which is beneath layers of silt and clay on the ocean floor. To do this test, mix about 1 part salt to 2 parts water and dissolve the salt completely.  Drop your piece into the mixture.  Plastic and copal will drop out, while amber floats.
  • Amber also has some cool electrical properties that I wrote about a while back too. Amber & copal will get a negative electric charge while glass will be positively charged.
    Plastics will also be charged negatively like amber. Soooo…I don’t recommend using this property to test.
    Irradiated Crystals
    Irradiation of mineral specimens is a pretty common thing. You may not realize it but many gemstones on the market are irradiated to get a more vibrant or deeper color. Is it dangerous? Yeah, I’d try to steer clear of them. (You can listen to me get on my soapbox about this topic here on this interview I did a while back):

    • deeply pigmented topaz
    • artificially dark (almost black) smokey quartz
    • very deep pink or red tourmaline
    • colored diamonds
    • deeply colored kunzite
    • some cultured pearls
    • vibrant yellow heliodor (irradiated pal aquamarine)

      Irradiated blue topaz, peeps! Photo credit: Mauro Cateb

    Some sellers choose to take milky quartz & subject it to gamma ray radiation normally used to clean germs from medical equipment & food (oh yeah…that’s gamma ray RADIATION on your food….sheesh!).

    Anyway, back on topic.

    So, when they radiate the milky quartz with the gamma rays you get a deeply pigmented, almost smoky quartz that’s almost entirely opaque like the 1 I show here while I was shopping in Tucson last year (2012). BTW, Ron Coleman’s Mine openly tells you (if you ask) that their smokey’s are irradiated. I really love the Coleman’s & recommend them as a reputable place to buy from:
    Size Does Matter in Crystal Healing – Tucson 2012!

    BTW, quartz colored by natural radiation from Mama Earth is not radioactive & is safe to carry. Yes, Mother Earth NATURALLY irradiates quartz that’s included with some aluminum to create smokey quartz but this is  a slower, more gentler process. I explain more about that here:
    Crystal Healing with Smokey Quartz

    1 telltale sign of an artificially irradiated smokey is that the color fades FAST when exposed to sunlight whereas a natural smokey will retain its color longer.

    If the seller tells you its from Arkansas, raise your eyebrows way up high b/c smokeys usually don’t occur there & they certainly won’t be very dark like I explain in the vid above. 

    This smokey quartz is all natural – the real deal from Namibia

    Now don’t confuse irradiated quartz with Morion quartz.

    This dreamy stuff just recently came on the scene. Its deeply colored, black quartz only occurs in & around volcanic rocks. These babies are RARE & formed by natural radiation caused by nearby uranium deposits from South Africa or in Poland. Natural Morion quartz retains some translucence when held up to the light as you can see in my pic below.

    Morion quartz – OMGEEEZ…look at that phantom on the tip! Its hard to see but its there.


    Rainbow Cal-Silica
    Rainbow Cal-Silica is bogus.

    Turns out its calcite ground up & mixed in with car paint, plastic  & resin!! YEAH! YUCKO!!

    Some sellers will insist that its a naturally occurring stone but there’s very little evidence to back it up. With some digging I turned up this juicy document by the Swiss Gemological Institute that states its a fake.

    So that’s THAT!
    Too bad b/c that would sure make a purty agate, huh?

    A close-up of the gorgeous colors in Rainbow Cal-Silica

    OK, so I hope that’s helpful to some of you out there. Remember, 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!

    Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1

    Hibiscus Moon Crystal Healing, Crystals, science 56 Comments

    2015-02-11 12.30.34

    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!

    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 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:

  • 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!