Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1

Hibiscus Moon Crystal Healing, Crystals, science 74 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. 🙂

     

     

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