Spotting Crystal Fakes & Frauds: Part 1

Hibiscus Moon Crystal Healing, Crystals, science 102 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.

crystal fakes

Fire Quartz from Africa- the real deal

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:

  1. UV Light Test: turquoise containing resins will fluoresce; have a black-light? Check it out!
  2. 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
  3. 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?

2015-02-11 12.30.34


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. 🙂


Comments 102

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  1. Miss Hibiscus!!! What a great article and I sooooo very much appreciate your easy going and lighthearted way of explaining things! I must share this on fb.
    Love to you and thanks for what you do!

  2. Very interesting about the white buffalo. I love American Southwest Turquoise so have been very cautiuos when purchasing. There are so many mines and diffrernt color variations of turquoise but have to say, the faux stuff really looks faux! Would love to see (was it WildHorse white?) Thanks for sharing the video!

  3. Are the aqua aura/angel aura/ruby aura crystals considered fakes? They have been coated with various heavy metals and have remarkable colours, but it is said that the combination of crystal plus heavy metal produces an object with the qualities of both. I’d love to know what you think.

    1. I love the coated quartz crystals. I have a few but do not work with them. I am very picky about natural stones. I normally do not want them tampered with and Never any synthetics, no matter how beautiful they are

  4. Personally, I like howlite. I can see how it would be passed off as white turquoise. This is a very informative video. Thank you for posting it.

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  5. Amber and moldavite are two others that tend to be faked…amber I believe creates static when rubbed. Fake moldavite is glass, not sure of any tests for it though.

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  6. Pingback: Uncovering More Crystal Fakes - Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy | Crystal Healing | Crystal Healer | Crystal Therapy | Crystal Grids | Crystal Healing Course

  7. I make stone jewelery and many placees like michaels sell fake stones as jewlery. Education education education.

  8. Hi Moon,
    I still cannot tell if my crystal is real. I didnt really get much information from you advice in figuring out if its fake or real.

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      This is a guide. Its impossible to figure it all out without proper mineral testing which you can possible ask your seller about or see if a geo museum will graciously honor your request.

  9. Thanks for the info! My question is just because an agate or other crystal has been dyed or heated to make the color brighter or prettier, does that mean it is useless to work with? Does it negate the metaphysical properties of said agate or crystal? I have a great rock shop I go to, they are honest about what’s been modified, but I must admit I am drawn to the pretty, bright stuff.

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  10. thanks for sharing the info! with dyed agates would it still be okay to use them for healing, as colour is used as a therapy for healing? 🙂

  11. I bought some supposed authentic Malachite beads off a Trade Me website and got them, they were like Malachite painted wood, could SO tell they were fake and I was not happy with the purchase as they had them on as real. Real malachite is not woody and dull, has a beautiful soft semi-gloss, Watch out for fake Malachite!
    Love this page by the way 🙂

  12. i was at a garage sale last weekend
    they had two bookend size blue dyed quartz for $100 (9″high by 3″wide) advertized as bright blue quartz. I called them on it and asked if it was dyed and they said no. I said i believe they were dyed and showed them the cracks where the color was darker, the lady got mad at the husband(boyfriend) and throw ed them on the ground and smashed them and then yelled at him for giving her crap for a gift.
    I did not mean for that to happen and said i was sorry but too late

    1. Crystalage is one of the greatest sites for crystals. They have really high quality crystals.
      Well, they never said its fake. Actually its not fake stone, just dyed…
      its still clear quartz

  13. Years and years ago my mother purposely bought a cabochon @ 1 1/2 x 1 x 1/16 inch piece silver banded piece for a necklace, purposely dyed, she said, by injection into to agate, by the proprietor, selling it as such, as a pretty novelty for me, it was an agate, of a light turquoise and lavender radiating out n the center for color. I still have it. We thought it was rather unique at the time due to the injection process. It definitely does not look a”normal” agate and I doubt anyone would consider it so. Maybe it was a new process at the time. There are lots of “rock hounds” in Oregon and jewelry makers. At that time, no one was out to screw anyone.

  14. I tend to say away from online purchases. Here were i live we have a store that sell them and everything else its so peace full when you walk in to that store you feel the energy of everything and its calming. when you buy stuff they also cleanse if for you right away unless you say no. They have so many things. I did how ever have a hard time find lapis and i did a lot of research online with one store before i did buy them and i once i got them i brought them to the store so they can check them out. and they where good. so i hope that you can find a store in your area that is true and will be helpful like i find this one to be. 🙂

  15. Pingback: How to Pick Out Crystal Fakes: part 3 - Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy | Crystal Healing | Crystal Healer | Crystal Therapy | Certified Crystal Healer | Crystal Grids | Crystal Healing Course

  16. hi, does anyone else hear the video, it seems to be really low volume, the beginning of the video is loud, but the man talking, his volume is very low.

  17. What about Opalite?
    It is or it isn’t a “false” crystal?
    I’ve found so many contradictory information that I’m lost about it! Energeticaly is a “dead crystal” right?

    Thank you already for your shares and posts with which I have learned so much! 🙂

  18. I haven’t bought a lot of crystals to begin with because of this fakery. But, I do however go hunting in nature for crystals and stones, and my biggest problem is knowing what I have found. I have recently come across a jackpot of stones that really look like different quartzs. Some are milky white, some very clear, some with pink or yellowish orange tints, and a couple that look marblish like turquoise. I am no expert so I have no way of knowing if I have amassed a nice collection of quartz or if I have a bunch of really pretty rocks. Is there a way I can find out without mortgageing my home for lab tests?

  19. hello there,I am from India and i was told by crystal healer that wearing prescribed crystals bracelets and turtle placed in specific region would bring wealth and heal problems like stress depression fear and anxiety.I wanted to ask you if this is true and how much would be the cost of real crystals as I dont want to be conned by these people and yet cure my problems.(dont we all)
    thank you hope you do reply on my email id,looking forward to your answer.

  20. I purchased a turquoise ring from Justin Morris out of Winslow, apparently Navajo…FAKE FAKE FAKE, it is painted rock. Beware!!!!

  21. This is great information? Will the test of the white tirquise work for every crystal?
    I want to purchase a few crystals to wear on me as I know they have abilities of keeping negative energy away or clean your own energy, etc. (not sure if I got that right), but I don’t want to get fakes.

    I found five crystals to purchase for almost £13, isn’t that too cheap? I thought they would be much more expensive, or it doesn’t matter?

    It does say in the description that 4 of them are natural and one of them is not natural, so should I trust it?

  22. Has anyone heard of fake black obsidian? Can the Asians fake that too?

    Although they are notorious for fake crystals, China does have a large crystal mining industry. I have seen photographs from eBay sellers of them polishing quartz from a raw material.

    1. Since obsidian is “nature’s glass,” it would be fairly easy (possibly THE easiest crystal) to fake. Especially the pure black, as opposed to the “snowflake” variety. And FYI: any Chinaman says “smelted quartz” –they mean glass.

  23. can you fake a aura quartz? I would like to add you are wrong about the energies being synthetic, While man has indeed altered the crystal, metals and other items found from the earth are then combined with the said quartz to form the aura quartz “line”. I have never heard of being able to fake metal or other items used to “treat” these quartz pieces. while on the term of synthetic how do you think synthetic things came into being? because as far as I’m aware everything on this earth synthetic included had to be made by using something from this earth.

    1. I’m aware of at least one case of faked aura quartz. How successful the fake is depends on the core stone and which metal is getting bonded. Titanium develops a rainbow coloration when heated and that’s darn hard to fake.

  24. almost anything can be faked,dyed,diffused,irradiated,heated,etc.98% of all transparent/translucent gemstones have been treated in some way to improve the clarity and /or color of your gemstone-your best bet would be to invest in a refractometer or a gem microscope,where you can find evidence of various treatments also,you can empower yourself by contacting the gia,[gem institute of America],where you can find out a lot of info,as well as take courses in gemology-I also suggest sites like the,,and pininterest,rock and mineral specimens-remember,you get what you pay for-if you think that you are really getting a first class piece of pariaba tourmaline for 20.00 or less a carat,you are dreaming….you can find pages and pages of it for sale on the net,when in reality,the amount of it ever found wouldn’t fill the back of a small pick-up truck….remember,buyer always beware,and you need to educate yourself where geology/gemology is concerned-sellers are out to make money-while many are honest and hardworking,some are not-buying mineral specimens is safer-remember,glass and Lucite look good as gemstone cuts,too-just be careful,if it’s cheap,ask youself why-trust me,there’s a reason……

  25. Hummmm…I am Jonathon. I stumbled on to this site by “accident”…I am not sure what this site is all about. I blog on google+. I have a deep affinity with stones. They are like family. I live in country and am close with nature. I am an artist/sculptor. Retired from corporate world to live a more simple lifestyle. I have limited computer skills. I don’t know what else to say…………..

  26. So, I’m a somewhat new at working with crystals, and I usually buy crystals from my very favorite shop, which I was considering taking a job as a reader at. But, upon research, I’ve discovered, that a lot of the stones I’ve bought from them (yellow obsidian, strawberry quartz, blue agate, citrine, cherry quartz, and probably more) are either dyed or completely glass (which makes sense as to why I could never get any vibrations from them). I probably should have done my research, but I’m a bit upset that the owner of the shop never told me before I bought them. I’m gonna chalk it up to her not knowing, because I kinda wanna keep shopping there…

  27. Pingback: Everyone Loves Blue Minerals. Right? - Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy | Crystal Healing | Crystal Healer | Crystal Therapy | Certified Crystal Healer | Crystal Grids | Crystal Healing Course

  28. I found some crystals in a old drawer and have no idea if they’re real or fake and since I haven’t done anything with crystals I don’t know what they are. Can you or someone help me identify the types of crystals? My Kik (Kik is a messaging app) is wiljactay

  29. I want to order the rose quartz from Kirstin Ash online. However I realized that all the rose Quartz pendant look exactly the same. Aren’t they supposed to all look different? Also they’re very expensive compared to the prices I’m used to seeing at my local area where they cleanse my crystals before I bring them home.

  30. My beach is covered by pebbles and rocks, besides sea glass, there are loads of clear pebbles some pinkish. I was told they are quartz. Does quartz come in pebble form as well as crystal? How can I tell? One day I will make jewelry with them, but I need a way to identify them without sending to a lab.

  31. So many of my friends are being schemed, “feeling the powerful vibes” of possibly chemically altered “hot” radiated glass that they keep close to them the majority of the time! Terrible. Very good article, thank you for sharing whay you know!

  32. Bought some purple alum crystals that were sold as natural. Working on getting a full refund instead of store credit because goods were not as described. The octahedral formation looks so much like fluorite. I should have known that they were fake because of the powdery coating. Great article.

  33. I truly wish I would have read this. 2 days ago I bought a “quartz” massage wand. There are tiny little bubbles all through it. It sounds different from my other crystals when my rings hit it as I ick it up or move it around in my hand. The massage wand is handy so I am not going to take it back and argue with the seller. I will just be a bit more careful before I purchase again!

  34. Thank you for this article it was very informative to a newbie to crystals like me. I really got into stones and crystals when vacationing in NC we went to a gem mine. We bought a few large buckets of dirt and sifted through them for a couple hours. After all was said and done I ended up with huge array of rocks and raw crystals. Some precious stones like ruby and Sapphire to amethyst, Quartz, fluorite, moonstone, and jasper. I found a huge hunk of Kyanite which I love. It was so enjoyable to get down and dirty sifting through the dirt looking for treasures. I’d highly recommend it if you ever get a chance.

  35. I personally don’t mind the dyed agate bookend type pieces (and i’m sad about that one commenter at the garage sale who said the lady broke hers after finding out it was dyed). I know they are color dyed, and it just enhances their beauty to have as decorations around the house. Now, i don’t use them for mediation or healing, just for beauty.

  36. I just received my ver expensive hand crafted clear quartz crystal raven skull in the mail. Upon closer inspection I could not see any marks or inclusions in the crystal till I examined the head. They look like air bubbles but not quite the same. I was wondering if a healer could help me out.

  37. I want to know if the pyramid i have is natural or fake ..Therefore how can i contact you.. pleas eprovide email so that i can send a picture and u can then tell me whether its natural or a fake one!

  38. With all this fake out there, it would be really nice if you can share your trusted sites to purchase real and un-dyed crystals.

  39. I,ne just bought madagascar banded agate on ebay from chinese suppliers . I cut one agate pink color he was dyed . Inside there are thin white stripes , on the shores of pink in midle of the colour pale spot .

  40. Hi, and thanks for the information. I was wondering how you could spot a fake amethyst geode? I have one, and its already broken, I bought it. But I’m afraid to see if it isnt real. It has two colors, both are basically purple, one darker like real amethyst and one a touch lighter, like violet, and there are teeny tiny white chunks throughout between some of the crystals. The outside of the geode is all jagged and slightly chipped, with mostly colors other than white like violet or even brown. That’s all I can really describe, thanks!

  41. What about Vogel crystals?

    I know there is a lot of debate, and certainly a TON of fakes, but the photos of the “original” Vogels, particularly those sold on the sites owned by the only two cutters trained by Vogel himself, look to be glass, tbh. They are perfectly clear except for small, what appear to be round, bubbles.

    So are Vogels cut and polished glass? Or are they genuine quartz that has been precision cut and polished into the classic Vogel shapes?

  42. Hi ,there.I recently bought a point of lapis lazuli.It came into a very deep ,dark blue with a bit of shines .I was very exited about it and I started meditate with the crystal place on my forehead ,where the third eye should be .I accidentally felt asleep during the meditation and wake up with a purple blue mark of the point on my forehead .Is this a sign that is a fake crystal or is just dyed ?I paid 9,99 for it .Fo you think is just plastic or real ?How do I recognise if is s fake ?

  43. Hi, so I would like to start by saying thank you for your post, there were some very helpful tips in there. I know many people might not like what I’m about to say though, but this is my opinion on fakes, color enhancement, and real. So some real stones are more than most lower/ fixed income individuals can afford. While fakes(glass at least) may not have energy naturally, thus not always great for healing, they could potentially still be energized and used for things like grids. After all anything we put energy and truly believe will work then it still will, because we made it so. Color enhanced stones do still have natural properties and thus as long as a seller is honest about it I don’t have issues with them. I am aware some people are far more attuned to energies, and can see why they would steer clear of both fake and enhance. So in my opinion, if fake is all you can afford as long as you believe it will work it will so buy it. Also I wanted to include some tips I learned from both hibiscus moon and others. Please keep in mind these are not always 100% accurate as hibiscus moon stated the only real way to know is lab testing which is often expensive. Most sellers, not all, coming from China on eBay mostly likely are fake or enhanced (at least on stones starting under $5 is my experience). Another good test for quartz is the glass scratch test. If a quartz is able to scratch a piece of glass easily odds are its real. To test a for dyed stones simply use acetone it will remove dyes quickly. RESEARCH the type of stone before doing this though. As some stones that are natural get their color by iron ore dust ( usually from what I’ve seen) coating the stone, such as tangerine quartz and fire quartz ( these are technically the same stone but the more settled to create different coloration). Again I love the information hibiscus moon puts out. I just wanted to say in my opinion there is nothing wrong with a fake stone, if you believe it will work for you, but again might not be the best for healing purposes. I typically use my man maxes for grids, spells ect after charging them of course.

  44. So, I don’t know how to evaluate, I am very excited to have many friends very interested in crystal. because I am also a crystal bead jewelry seller, specializing in selling high-quality crystal beads, this is our website:
    Our gemstone products are from China, located in the world-famous Shenzhen Shuibei jewelry market. I searched for crystal information on crystal bead strings on the Internet to find your blog, such as price, quality.

  45. Hi! Just a question… I heard you say before on a video somewhere here on your site that hematite should not be magnetic and if it is that its fake.. so, my question is this, how can it NOT be magnetic given the fact that it has iron ore in it? and if its not supposed to be magnetic what are we supposed to be looking for to tell the difference?

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