Well, I think we’re a bit overdue for another “fakes” blog post to add to my series.
There’s an entire series of blog posts I’ve written over the years as fakes have popped up more and more. If you want to read up on all the fakes that I’ve reported on, we’ve gathered them all up into my Free Crystal Fakes Reference Guide, which includes all the previous blog posts in the fakes series. Good to have on hand when crystal shopping!
Now, on my annual trips to the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show I get to view a lot of what’s hot on the market and also spot some of these fakes first-hand. I also like to attend some of the lectures they have at the Convention Center so I can stay up-to-the-minute and knowledgeable about what’s going on in the mineral world. Last year I audited a lecture on Fake Minerals. This year my favorite lecture was: Crystal Faces and Forms.
Heaven, I tell you!
Seriously. Crystal-topic academic lectures while hanging out at the biggest most glittery gem show in the world??! If you didn’t already know, I’m a HUGE Geo-Geek and yes, this is my idea of a GOOD-FLIPPIN’-TIME!
One thing that’s evident from these gemmy trips is that unfortunately, the artificial mineral/ gemstone market is on the rise.
Several years ago I noticed 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 a passion of mine. Being a former science department head, having studied geology at the Masters level + being an author and the founder of a Crystal Healing Academy with a relatively large following gives me a good platform to shout 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 when adding special new crystal 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 of this post).
Keep this in mind: Always use your common sense. The best protection from crystal fakes is to be well-informed yourself.
Real vs. Fake Jade
Most jade is a beautiful soft green color (although it does come in other colors like purple, red, yellow and white). Metaphysically, it’s a gentle stone that’s perfect for abundance work and also for assisting mothers to be and for fertility-work. There are many different types of jade such as jadeite, Mountain jade, British Columbia jade and Nephrite.
Jade is also a wonderful stone full of healing energy and a favorite to use alongside beauty regimes as it’s great for the skin and hair.
However, due to its HUGE popularity in Asia… we now have jade-fakes to contend with.
So, what to do?
Here are two quick ways to check if it’s the real deal …
- Look for the fibers. Fibers mean it’s real.
First thing to do is be sure you go shopping with a jeweler’s loupe (10x magnification is what I find to be the most useful for me) and look at the piece you’re considering purchasing under some natural sunlight or really good lighting.
What you’re looking for are little asbestos-like hairy fibers.
Sometimes chrysoprase is sold off as jade and it won’t have those little teeny fibers because of its microcrystalline structure making it look all the same with no fibers at all under the jeweler’s loupe.
Jade will be cold or cool to the touch and won’t warm up right away in your hand.
I’ll also be sharing some other easy to use methods to id a fake jade from the real thing in an upcoming live class! More on that below.
I first heard of this one from one of my students early last year.
I was like, “huh”?
My confusions stemmed from my knowledge that malachite is a copper-derived stone and anything copper-derived will always be blue or green. Malachite is always a rich vibrant green color like these pieces here:
So, I knew something was up.
Then a few more students asked me again about this red “malachite” more recently.
This one really caught my curiosity. What is this stuff?! I had to know.
I got a hold of some and tested it out for myself.
So I discovered it ain’t no jasper, agate or malachite. It’s a carbonate; probably a red travertine (limestone with calcite). I can show you how to do easy at-home tests like this yourself… more on that below.
Turns out “red malachite” is simply a new marketing term that some sellers have chosen to adopt in order to sell off some red-banded carbonate stones with no transparency. See, without the catchy new name this stuff used to just sit around. No one thought it was worth polishing/tumbling. Usually, this sort of stone would be considered “low-grade” material. :/
But, I actually think it’s quite pretty myself. It would probably sell just fine without the misleading name attached to it. What do you think?
When this kind of misinformation happens it ends up causing a lot of confusion in our crystal community. Not to mention falsely drives up prices.
So this “red malachite” has NOTHING to do with real malachite, not geologically and not energetically. Personally, I won’t be calling it “red malachite” (to try to eliminate confusion) but will call it as it is; red carbonate. It seems to have all the same energetic properties as, say, a red jasper; an ideal grounding and stabilizing root chakra stone that invites us to become physically stronger or more fearless. Good stuff!
I’m not talking about opalite here as we’ve discussed that before.
Now we have yet another sort of fake-opal to concern ourselves with; a new synthetic sort that’s made to fool even the experts.
It looks very much like black precious opal.
Black precious opal is known for:
- its motivating quality
- ability to release psychic wounds
- ability to pull someone out of depression
The photo below is the real deal:
The color flashes and iridescence or “fire” in the fake stuff is what they call “non-directional”, meaning that it can be cut any which way while still maintaining the same exact flash of color. That’s just not the case with real opal.
This is what the synthetic opal looks like:
Unfortunately, I don’t have any handy tips for you to use to help ID this bad-boy. Black opal is expensive anyways so it’s always best to have an appraiser check out your opal for authenticity.
Yeah. This fake stuff is starting to wear on me a bit too, but the good news is; the more informed we are as a community the less it’s going to affect us.
Please remember, I always say, if you choose to work with man-made crystals and you enjoy them that’s just fine and a name is just a name. You can call a stone anything you like. If it’s been working for you…“keep on ‘truckin’”. Don’t change a thing!
I just want all of us to have the geo-knowledge first. Then you can make an INFORMED decision regarding how you choose to use these stones in your practice.
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 due diligence and research? The best way to protect yourself is education.
If you didn’t already know this stuff, now you’re armed with a bit more information. 🙂 We all love the beautiful crystals and minerals that Mama Earth creates and the truth is, you don’t know what you don’t know… until you know it.
**Please SHARE this info with other Crystal Lovers so that we all stay in-the-know and well-informed. No duping us with FAKES!**
Have you seen any of these specimens I’ve mentioned here or any new fakes or misrepresentations recently? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
Now, again, if this topic rings your bell and you’d like to become confident in identifying fakes and misrepresentations in the marketplace then you might be interested in my Class- Crystal Savvy; Crystals + Mineral Identification.