I have more “FAKE CRYSTALS” updates for us today.
The artificial mineral market is continuing to grow and it seems there’s a “gap” in good reliable info on this sort of thing in general.
I get really super-duper passionate about getting this info out there and I feel I’m in a very unique position to do just that, being a former science department chair, having studied geology at the Masters level, and being a Crystal Energy Teacher with a pretty large platform gives me a great advantage… so how could I NOT heed the call?
I’m so honored to be able to serve in this way + grateful for being given the opportunity to do so!
I really want to educate our community on what’s available out there so we can make really 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). 😉
Vibrant Pink Tourmaline
Mostly, I’ve seen these at the most recent Tucson Gem Shows or popping up on eBay from the Middle East.
The color really pops so it really catches your eye! Not to say that pink tourmaline of this color doesn’t exist in nature. It so totally does!
BUT I can tell these in the below photo are FAKES.
HOW can I tell?
Well, let me tell you… because I want you to be informed and be able to catch this shiz too.
No more duping us!
Now, it is HARD to pick out the fake pink tourmalines, but this one made it all too easy. It was coupled with an easily identified irradiated smokey quartz. Dead give away!
The above quartz is clearly artificially irradiated quartz.
And since the pink color of the tourmaline + the black of the quartz is so strong, I’m going to assume that this specimen (and others like it) would be considered “HOT”; meaning that it could still be giving off significant amounts of radiation!!
Another tell-tale sign would be that the color fades over time and very quickly when exposed to sunlight. Of course, you’d have to own the piece for a bit of time to catch that though.
This stuff is often mistaken for (and deliberately meant to be passed off as) moonstone because of its luminous blue-ish glow.
But it ain’t nothin’ more than manmade glass (or sometimes even plastic!) 🙁
It’s usually flawless with no inclusions and blue-ish clear or milky colored. You may sometimes see little air bubbles from the synthetic manufacturing process or even scratches on the surface.
Just know… it has NOTHING to do with real authentic opal.
Fake Ajoite + Papagoite!!!
I’ve lumped these two together because they’re very closely related. Now, originally ajoite was named after a blue mass of color found in rocks in Ajo, Arizona. Perhaps this should more accurately be named “ajoite included quartz”.
But, here’s the thing: amongst serious rock hounds and collectors, if you’re gonna tell someone you’ve got an “ajoite” specimen, it had better be that the ajoite mass is indeed included within the quartz crystal specimen (They’ll be expecting that the ajoite or papagoite is included within a natural quartz point.). This also helps to avoid confusion. Here’s an official geology page on mindat.org to help explain what you should be looking for.
This one really has me fired up + ticked off today because I was recently selling two pieces of ajoite from my private collection. So, in the process of that, it gave me the opportunity to have my nose shoved into this new fake situation that’s reared its UGLY head: FAKE AJOITE + PAPAGOITE! No duping us with FAKES!!!!
Why was I so triggered by this? Probably because I have such a love affair with ajoite most especially. I’ve now realized I’m really protective of it.
Both ajoite and papagoite are extremely rare and expensive — when they’re genuine.
I first became alerted to this issue recently when someone told me on one of my FB livestreams that they’d just purchased a papagoite necklace of beads for a reasonable price. Wha?
*Ding, ding, ding!!* Red flag up!
Here’s the crux of the matter: Papagoite and ajoite do not come in polished beads… if they do then they are not the real deal. If they are in a quartz mass or tumbled quartz stone of any sort — then it’s most likely some form of chrysocolla. Some of these fakes are simply low-grade chrysocolla masses or tumbled stones. Think about it; if you had authentic, ajoite or papagoite, why would you cut and polish it into a beaded lowering its economic value EXPONENTIALLY?
If it’s a fake quartz point being touted as “ajoite” with an off-greenish-color it’s most likely fake chlorite lab-grown quartz or, sadly, even dye injections we’ve been seeing as of late! Yuck.
Here’s a grouping of some of my AUTHENTIC ajoite collection in the above photo:
- The four points on the top are indeed the real thing.
- The two stones on the bottom are chrysocolla-included rocks.
If it has more of a green hue... sorry, but it’s not the real deal. Match yours up with the photos above. Not quite right? A bit off? Then it’s NOT ajoite.
ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT TIP!: The blue inclusions are usually somewhere between the apex + midway up the shaft… not near the base of the crystal point. I’ve seen many of the fakes with the fake color gathered somewhere between the mid-shaft & the base. In authentic ajoite & papagoite, somehow the blue inclusions like to rise to the top of the apexes (apices) and even very often form phantoms!
Someone was trying to pass this (below) off as ajoite. Puh-leeeeez! You can see the difference now, right?
Same with papagoite; also a very specific vibrant color sky blue (bordering on Royal Blue) embedded in a natural quartz point.Price is another helpful indicator of authenticity here too. Not to say that if it’s super expensive that it means it’s the real deal.
Ajoite Tips to REMEMBER:
- Look for the green hue. Greenish? Not the real thing.
- Does it look like most other REAL ajoite and papagoite specimens you’ve studied before?
- Is it a naturally included quartz point?
- Where is the color saturation gathered in the specimen?
- Is your seller trusted + knowledgeable about the mineralogy (not just the metaphysics)?
- Then use price point as your next indicator
Why so rare?
Although ajoite and papagoite microcrystals were originally discovered in Ajo, Arizona the highly coveted quartz-included points only come from the Messina Copper Mine in South Africa, which stopped production and closed in 1992. 🙁
The expensive price of ajoite & papagoite reflects the extremely high demand and low supply.
Sellers of authentic ajoite and papagoite know what they have & fully understand their worth.
Some of these sellers may know full well they’re passing off fakes, but others may have no idea. So, I feel it’s up to our Crystal Family to inform such sellers so they can know in the future and pay it forward by educating their customers. ♥
Use your common sense here. If it’s too good to be true, then yeah, it probably is.
Yes, I’m VERY passionate about this.
If you choose to work with man-made minerals (fake crystals) and 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 and 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 homework? The best way to protect yourself is through education.
Do you have any fake-out stories to tell? Please post in the comments below and help us all out!