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.*
This very large sphere in the photo below was being sold as “Cinnabar Infused Quartz”!
Although cinnabar & quartz do grow together naturally it’s usually not in a pretty swirl as seen in the above photo.
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!!
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!