Unfortunately, more and more fake crystals are flooding the market. We love crystals for their energy and their perfectness - this is something that can not be replicated. The best way to handle this issue, is to educate yourself. Before going into spotting fake crystals, it is important to know that real and natural crystals can change in appearance. They can change in colour, fade and develop fractures and veins. This is due to the energy exchange between you and your crystal. For example, clear quartz can become cloudy and rose quartz can change colour - this means your crystal is working. Crystals absorb our pain, our negativity and help us heal. If your crystal is changing, this is why. There is a beautiful write up about changing crystals by Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy here.
These are the real deal. These crystals are found in nature. They develop naturally over a long period of time without any intervention. They can be found deep in the Earth, in rivers, in cliffs and elsewhere. Specific types of crystals and stones are found in particular locations. For example, turquoise is made when water interacts with a rock containing copper, aluminum and phosphorus and is found in desert areas, like Arizona. Since Newfoundland is not a desert-like dry place, chances are you aren’t going to find any turquoise there.
Synthetic gems are appearing more and more. A synthetic gem has the same visual, chemical and physical properties of the natural gem but they are created in labs. They are made with the same materials but in a condensed amount of time.
Often they cannot be told apart. But lookwise, a lot of the time they are preferred as they are a fraction of the price, are free of flaws and much more vibrant and colourful. Natural crystals are naturally-made with flaws. They may not have pure color all the way through or have flakes of minerals that didn’t convert, but this is what makes them perfect.
Despite the fact that they are made in laboratories, it isn’t entirely fair to say that they are completely fake. Take Champagne for example: technically it isn’t Champagne unless it was produced in Champagne, France, even though it was made with all of the correct ingredients and in the correct manner - just not in the right place.
Imitation/ Simulated/ Fake
These crystals do not have the same chemical makeup. They are often made of plastic, ceramic, glass or resin but are designed to look similar. Sometimes they are simply painted rocks or rocks glued to other rocks. Sometimes it can be very difficult to tell the difference but don’t be fooled!
Ask the seller if the crystal is real, and ask what country it originates from.
Look under the gem. Check the base for mounting for glue, or paint. Sometimes the base or tip of a gem will be painted to make the color stand out.
If buying online, check for uneven coloring, unnaturally rich hues or bright colours. If you spot this, it is most likely dyed or irradiated.
If the price is cheap, it is mostly likely fake.
Check for air bubbles: air bubbles generally mean it's glass.
If it looks too perfect, it is probably is fake.
The main way to tell the difference between quartz and glass is 'magnification'. If you put your crystal over words in a book or a magazine, real quartz does not magnify the words. Where as, glass does.
Turquoise is a crystal that is very commonly fake. Most of the turquoise on the market today is fake! Real turquoise is rare and can be quite expensive. Fake turquoise is usually dyed resin or ceramic, or dyed howlite or plastic. Howlite is inexpensive and the 'veins' are similar to turquoise veins - thus making it the perfect stone to dye. The first image below is an image of howlite. It is easy to spot fake turquoise, if you are aware of it. Fake turquoise can be dyed an unnaturally blue-looking, it may have perfect brown lines through it, or deep black cracks. Below are examples of fake turquoise: the bottom image is a comparison of real turquoise vs fake turquoise. It is quite easy to spot the difference.
It is said that only 3% of turquoise is 100% genuine turquoise. Although, another type of turquoise is stabilized-turquoise. It needs to be stabilized as the turquoise itself, isn't hard enough to set. It falls apart and is quite chalky. It is mixed with other components to help harden the stone before being made into jewellery. We still like stabilized-turquoise - it is still natural turquoise but needs help to set. Below are examples of real turquoise; both 100% genuine and stabilized. You will notice the finish and the 'veins' are different to fake turquoise. You can see the copper in it too!
How Fake? Now, there are different ways to be fake. One method is partially real, this is called composite. It’s when you take a small portion of something desirable and use it to coat the exterior and then combine with an imitation or something inexpensive. This commonly happens with crystals like opal.
Rubies, unfortunately, are commonly composite today but in a different manner than how opals are made composite. They are mixed or filed with glass. When a ruby is treated, it goes through a heating technique which intensifies the color of the gem. However, when it’s mixed with glass, bubbles and cracks can appear and it can even shatter after seconds of being exposed to the heat.
There are naturally colored gems, like diamonds, that occur in nature but the color can be changed or manipulated under intense radiation. Diamonds that are found coloured in nature are extremely rare and very expensive.