More Crystal Fakes!
I’m so grateful to my Certified Crystal Practitioner students who bring this stuff to my attention. (That’s usually how I keep my finger on the pulse of this crystal fakes stuff.)
Sometimes I see some questionable things at a gem show… but these days, it’s usually a student pointing out something suspicious in our private community.
One thing that’s evident is that, unfortunately, the artificial mineral/gemstone market is on the rise.
Several years ago I noted that there seemed to be a bit of an info-gap in our crystal community on some good, solid, easy-to-understand data regarding this sort of thing.
Informing our community on this topic has become yet another passion of mine. Being a former science department head, having studied geology at the Masters’s level + being a crystal author and the founder of a Crystal Practitioner Academy with a relatively large following gives me a good reason + platform to educate about crystal fakes. Right?
So, I feel it’s my duty — and I’m honored to be given the opportunity and privilege to serve in this way.
My goal is to educate our crystal community on what’s currently on the market so we can make intelligent buying decisions. 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 below).
Keep this in mind: Always use your common sense. The BEST protection from crystal fakes is to be well-informed yourself. Don’t simply rely on what the seller is telling you.
Get Educated about Crystal Fakes + Misrepresentations
One of my greatest joys is investigating/researching possible fake minerals + then sharing this info with you… about what’s popping up out there, keeping us educated so we can avoid the confusion that sometimes comes along with mineral misrepresentations and crystal fakes. This way we can all make informed decisions when adding specimens to our sacred collections.
If want to know more about the mineral kingdom so you can be confident in what you’re getting then subscribe to my newsletter and get my FREE handy downloadable Crystal Fakes Reference eBook. This is the EXACT reference you need in order to navigate the gem shows, crystal shops, and eBay, get the REAL thing, and get what you pay for. Don’t get scammed or duped into buying FAKES… unless that’s exactly what you want! Sign up right here:
So, let’s dig into three new ones I have for you today!
When some of my CCP alumni + students first asked about this one last year, I was stumped. I’ve never seen or heard of “Red Larimar.”
Knowing what I know about larimar and what it is, it smelled fishy to me from the start. Here’s a classic blog post I have about how to spot larimar fakes in the first place — but THIS blog post is about the “red stuff”.
First, let’s define what the real stuff is
Larimar is a very rare blue (sometimes a bit greenish-blue) variety of pectolite (a type of mineral) found only in the Dominican Republic. In fact, the people who gave this stone its popular name (it may have had another indiginous name previously that I’m not aware of at this time) believed that (due to its intense blue color) it came from the sea — so they named it after that; hence where the “mar” (the Latin word for sea is “mare”) in “Larimar” comes from.
Pictured below is one of my genuine Larimar pieces. It clearly shows (especially on the back) some of the normal brownish-reddish splotching or spots that can appear on real-deal larimar. It comes from hematite (iron) inclusions — or perhaps even from some copper inclusions.
BUT what makes my piece above classic Larimar is: that it’s predominantly BLUE.
Here’s another genuine larimar specimen with the usual red inclusions (totally normal):
BUT, the key point I’m trying to demonstrate here is that true-blue (pun always intended) larimar is MOSTLY blue. The very reason it has that Latin root “mar” in it describes it as blue.
What’s causing this “red larimar” confusion is an allegedly new red-colored pectolite find from South Africa that some sellers have taken to classifying as “Red Larimar”. Ummm, no. It’s a red pectolite.
Plain and simple.
Yes, blue Larimar is a pectolite (a type of silicate mineral), but it’s the blue variety with its own name. The red pectolite mineral has a completely different energy imprint than larimar. So, saying this red pectolite is “Red Larimar” is like saying smokey quartz is “brown amethyst” because both amethyst and smokey quartz are both quartz. No, it’s smokey quartz. It has a different chemical makeup, a different way that it was “baked” in Mama Earth, and a completely different energetic signature to it.
So, I definitely classify “red larimar” as a total misrepresentation; simply a new confusing term on the market taking advantage of the fact that it’s of the same mineral family. Geez, if we’re gonna go that route, there’s going to be a whole lot more confusing mineral representations coming down the pike! Let’s just put the brakes on this sorta thing now.
What in the hell?
There’s so much wrong with this above listing title, I don’t even know where to begin!
So from a geological description; its a single crystal with both amethyst and citrine color zones; obviously where it gets its name from.
Prices should be high for a natural piece since they are EXTREMELY RARE and only are found in Bolivia (from the Anahí mine) and they’re quite difficult to mine.
BE AWARE: In the ’80s, scientists figured out how ametrine crystals develop in nature. And with that info, they became quite successful at replicating the process in the lab. Most of the ametrine on the market is synthetic, lab-created in Russia. Here’s all the info on that.
I wish I could give you some easy testing methods to ID this fake stuff but you’d need some super-advanced x-ray techniques + expensive gemological equipment. If you still wanna totally geek out on HOW to do that, here you go.
CAUTION: At first I used to think to myself: “If you really want a piece of ametrine in your collection, locate a totally natural crystal point. It’s not a guarantee but the odds are much better that it’s gonna be natural than a cut, faceted gemstone.” But since, I’ve learned that even with a natural-looking ametrine crystal point, it’s still possible for someone to synthetically apply a process or lab-grown it to fake the separate color-zoning and mimic genuine ametrine.
It’s a total shame — but I just can’t trust ANY of the ametrine on the market to be natural at this point.
Bottom line is: seems that MOST of the ametrine for sale out there is indeed fake.
Wait! What? They’re faking malachite now?
Actually, this fake malachite racket’s been going on for a while because it’s one of the easiest minerals to mimic while fetching a good price; good ole’ greed. As long as it’s labeled as “fake, synthetic, faux” or the like then I have no problem with this. But don’t try to pass this stuff off as the real thing!
Quick ID Tips:
- Depending on the angle the malachite is cut or broken off at, it may display a very complex botryoidal pattern (circular, bubbly pattern — see below photo) that’s quite hard to replicate.
- A cheap price = a red flag. Real malachite ain’t cheap. Of course, this is no guarantee but it’s something to pay attention to.
- Usually, a streak test will ID genuine malachite for you. It will leave behind a pale green powdery streak on a porcelain tile. If you want to get all geo-geeky with me, there are some more “involved” but easy-to-do at-home tests I teach in my Crystal Savvy Class Elective.
- Oftentimes, the fake malachites (be especially careful with beads!!) are made of glass, polymer clay, plastics, resins, or any combo of any of those with various dyes swirled in. (Often these swirls and bands will be almost black; a key indicator of a fake! Actually, any black is usually a clear fake-flag. Real malachite is made of up many hues and tones of green, not just 2 or 3 shades plus black, as fakes often have.)
- If it’s a plastic/resin combo, then it will burn when you hold a flame up to it, and it’ll stink!
- Also, compare its weight to a similar in size natural piece. Malachite is quite dense and weighty due to its copper content. Whereas the glass, polymer, or plastic fakes will be relatively light.
Do Your Thing
Can you tell I’m a wee bit passionate about crystal fakes?
If you are too and want to know more about the mineral kingdom so you can be confident in what you’re getting then subscribe to my newsletter and get my FREE handy downloadable Crystal Fakes Reference eBook. This is the EXACT reference you need in order to navigate the gem shows, crystal shops, and eBay, get the REAL thing, and get what you pay for. Don’t get scammed or duped into buying FAKES… unless that’s exactly what you want! Sign up below:
Now, if you choose to work with man-made crystals and you enjoy them just fine, or it’s been working for you… as I always say:
“keep on ‘truckin’”. Don’t change a thing!
I just want us all to have the geo-knowledge first. Then you can make a well-informed decision regarding how you choose to work with these “stones”. Always use your common sense and the best protection from this is to be well-informed yourself.
And as always…
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 through education.
We all love the beautiful jewels that mama earth creates and you don’t know what you don’t know… until you know better. So, I hope you’ve learned something new here today. If you feel passionate about this too, please share this post in any way you prefer. (***There are some handy “SHARE” buttons you can use at the bottom of this post***).
Have you seen any of these or new crystal fakes or misrepresentations recently? Please share in the comments below!