Beware! Crystal Fakes and How to Spot Them

Hibiscus Moon fakes 29 Comments

I think it’s high time for another installment of my Crystal Fakes Blog Posts. I have a few other common ones that I’ve seen popping up quite a bit that I reeeeeeeally want to discuss & get outta my system.

 

Please remember, no judgements from me if you choose to work with man-made crystals.  I, personally, choose not to, but I like to inform our Crystal Hottie Community about the geo-facts b/c I feel it’s very important that you know what you’re getting & that you not be fooled in any way.

I feel it’s super-important that you KNOW, geologically, exactly what you’re working with.

OK, so let’s go…
Bismuth
[caption id="attachment_14244" align="aligncenter" width="600"] “Bismuth Crystal”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bismuth_Crystal.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Bismuth_Crystal.jpg[/caption]

I’ve been seeing these guys in new age shops & being sold online & peeps just falling all over themselves over these iridescent bismuth crystals, thinking they’re natural. Not when they look like this. Nope. Sorry to burst that pretty bubble, but rainbow-colored crystallized Bismuth like that DOES NOT occur in nature. These Pretty-Babies are lab-grown (usually in Germany). They take liquid bismuth & super-cool it until it crystallizes.

Here’s a great source for Bismuth lab grown crystals who is also quite knowledgeable & honest.

[caption id="attachment_14247" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Native bismuth from New Mexico. (Photo credit: Theodore Gray)[/caption]

Native natural bismuth born of Mother Earth is usually a dull gray (sometimes oxidizes with some yellow or green), lumpy & doesn’t have any visible crystal structure. So, in other words, BORING.
Magnetic Hematite
OK, this is 1 that I could not wait to get the word out about b/c I see many in our community getting fooled by it & I want to have a blog post to refer them to in the future.

So, there’s real hematite (non-magnetic) & then there’s Magnetic Hematite (FAKE).

Natural Hematite is not naturally magnetic. There’s a small teeny-weeny little magnetic charge in natural hematite, but nothing you’d be able to feel.  So, yeah…all those science museum shops that are stocked with the buzzing “singing” hematite, the magnetic rings & bracelets…they’re all bunk.

[caption id="attachment_14259" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Magnetic hematite. Photo permission graciously provided by Crystal Hottie Jean N Jazz from Facebook![/caption]

Magnetic hematite  is totally manmade. But we’re easily fooled by it b/c it looks just like polished natural hematite with that mirrored finish. Geologists don’t actually consider the man-made magnetic stuff as hematite, since its technically just finely powdered iron oxide or ceramic barium-strontium ferrite, heated until it granulates & then cooled while it is attached to very strong magnet. Although, its made of the same stuff as natural hematite, it’s not the same process at all.

[caption id="attachment_1204" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Natural hematite tumbled stones[/caption]

Again, this does not mean that wearing synthetic hematite bracelets (or what have you) won’t work for you. The magnetic effects may indeed be doing you much good. Personally, I prefer to not work synthetic stones or crystals if there is a natural alternative, but it doesn’t mean there arent’ benefits to be had.
How do you know if what you have is real or not?:

  • Is it magnetic? Then it ain’t real
  • If it’s chipped & it’s white inside, then it ain’t real (real hematite is a rusty reddish, brown)
  • If you do a streak test & it’s grey, it ain’t real (real hematite streak is also a rusty reddish, brown as I demo here)

Green Quartz
OK, this shiz really made a big splash (with the inexperienced buyers) at the Tucson Gem Show this year! Its been steadily growing in popularity over the last several years, but this year took the cake & b/c of that its trickled its way into almost every new age crystal shop in every corner of the world w/ most of the shop owners not knowing any better.

And, OH, the Tucson stories that I was hearing to go along with these suckers! Such a crime. It was also quite popular on eBay, although I see recently it seems to have dies down…thank goodness.

My intuition was telling me they were fakes when I first saw them, but I wanted to sit with it a bit longer & do some more digging & research to really be certain.

Well, I found out that, indeed…just as I suspected, green quartz can & is being produced in the lab…the very same labs that tech companies use to manufacture high-quality quartz crystals for electronics. They use a hydrothermal process; heating a normal clear quartz w/ natural chromium inclusions (usually a lower quality milky specimen and/or a damaged clear specimen) with water & chromium under high pressure, causing the quartz to recrystallize & actually force it to form new growth that caps & covers the damaged tips. Then the chromuium disperses throughout & changes almost the entire color of the specimen to a deep forest green!
DEAD GIVEAWAY TELL-TALE SIGNS to look for:

  • Crystal tips & apexes that have an etched or stepped growth pattern; due to the forced regrowth
  • Crystal apexes (tech. apices)that are trigonal (3 facets) rather than the more common hexagonal (6 facet)
  • Deeper green color concentration at apexes (even look like phantoms so may be higher in price!) 
  • Many of these specimens on eBay hail from China
  • Tend to look like spirit or fairy quartz w/ the same sort of teeny crusted crystals points that tend to cover the crystal shafts; due to the forced regrowth

Check out the Difference…
[caption id="attachment_14252" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Natural Chlorite Quartz…the Real-Deal[/caption]
FAKE Green Quartz:

Keep in mind…this fake deep forest green quartz is not to be confused with Dream Quartz, which is a much lighter green & doesn’t look anything like this stuffs.

So once again…the moral of the story 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? OK, do you have any fake-out stories to tell? Please post in the comments below & help us all out!

Happy Crystal Shopping!