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Common "Faked" Crystals & Stones

fake citrineThere is nothing worse that purchasing a lovely crystal online for healing or in jewelry only to find upon arrival it is a fake. Many people never realise the item they have is a different stone, a tinted or dyed stone, or is in fact plastic. This means not many people ever complain after receiving a fake crystal, making it harder to spot a bad seller.

Pictured right:
Fake citrine point (which is a lemon tinted and symmetrically cut 'clear' quartz).

On eBay, many sellers are sending fakes and blatantly advertising them as 'natural' and real. Countries to watch for are China especially but also India. So many stones these days are dyed to look pretty but we aren't actually getting the stone we pay for. More and more faked products are turning up all the time. With a little help, we can avoid these stones entirely if we know what to look for in product pictures that show the tell-tale signs of a fake.

Fake "Glass" Crystals

There seems to actually be a market for fake crystal, especially in jewellery, both fine and fashion jewellery. For those of us who want the real thing however, do your research. If the price on an item is too good to be true for a natural crystal, then it probably isn't real. Some jewelry items will contain a few real stones and the rest are plastic, and this can catch us out. The makers of these items are becoming more and more sneaky, and it is difficult to tell from the picture alone in some cases.

It is easy to tell the glass quartz varieties because they have no inclusions and appear too perfect for real quartz. Some contain bubbles. The colours are always a bit off. Such glass quartz can be rose, citrine, peridot, amethyst and many others.

"Plastic" Crystals

In many market places (especially China) you can find ridiculously cheap beads for sale that are in fact plastic, not even glass. As sellers get more and more bold, they begin to price quite expensively for the plastic beads. If you shop in a market like eBay, you should always check the feedback, for even if only one person says the products are fake, they usually all are. Some sellers of jewelry make it difficult by selling a small percentage of real crystal jewelry, and the rest are fakes. It muddies the market and makes it confusing for the buyer.

Disturbingly, as the fraud gets more bold, some sellers are sending plastic rings to the unwary! Do not buy jewelry from China (warning too about India). These rings are sold as either gold plate or 925 silver with 'natural' stones. You can pay a pretty price only to receive an actual plastic ring (both band and stone). Strangely many buyers seem not to notice the fake. Always check for the 925 stamp, or take to a jeweler if unsure if the stone is real. Do warn others if you can by leaving appropriate feedback.

Commonly Dyed Fakes

Below is a list of commonly dyed fake stones and crystals that are flooding the market. Some are low qualitfake lapisy stone that is dyed to appear high quality, others are different stones altogether that are dyed to appear as something else.

Lapis Lazuli - Producers take grayish lapis or other stones and dye it a brilliant blue (pictured right). Some people may not mind if the result is a beautiful looking stone for jewelry, however it may be useless for healing.

Citrine - ALL citrine in jewelry is in fact amethyst that has been heated until it turns orange. You can even do this at home by putting amethyst in a hot oven - it goes orange and can burn. Real citrine is a white wine colour, or a dullish yellow. Natural citrine is never orange or bright yellow. Heat-treated amethyst does still have healing qualities similar to the natural citrine and many people like this bright, sunny stone in jewelry.

Citrine points are often simply clear quartz points that are dyed a wine or lemon colour. This dye often washes off in water. Most are not natural points but are cut into a point shape and are strangely symmetrical. To see a picture of a REAL citrine, go to Citrine Properties. The top of page picture of a citrine point is one that is dyed in solution and also artificially cut into a point shape.

Smokey Quartz - These points may be dyed, and many are not real points but are cut into a point shape and are very symmetrical.

Turquoise - Most turquoise on the market in jewelry is blue-dyed 'howlite' (a white stone). The colour is never quite right and is too uniform.

Carnelian - It is rare to find this stone nowadays. A lot of what is sold as carnelian is actually plain white or gray agate that is dyed red/orange.

Agate - Usually white or gray coloured, almost all agate that is sold is dyed very bright neon colours, so know the colour is not natural. Agate is still a healing stone even if dyed but of a low quality. You might find a few natural ones like blue lace agate for example.

Pink & Purple Jade - Are often dyed. If the jade is light coloured or faded looking, they will add a dye, which is obvious much like with lapis.

london blue topazThere are some stones where it is accepted that they are heat treated or irradiated. For example blue topaz is treated to create the stunning blue colours, like Swiss blue and London blue topaz. This is a given and buyers should know this. It is not a dishonest practice when it is disclosed by the seller and is a given market practice.

Research Your Crystal of Choice

If something you are buying online seems too cheap to be true then it probably is. If a stone is too perfectly coloured with no variation, it could be dyed. Some fakes are so obvious such as fake rutilated quartz which look nothing like the real product. If you know your product and do some research , it should be easy to spot the fakes. Google the stone you are interested in and look at pictures so that you can learn the colour hues it comes in and get an instinctive feel of the stone. Then when you see a fake, you won't be tempted to buy it.

Also watch for colour enhanced photos from reputable sellers. Some normally trustworthy sellers will enhance the photo so the colour appears more pleasant but the stone or jewelry you get is a paler or gray colour. Unfortunately, it is difficult to pick a colour enhanced picture of a crystal after it is cleverly photo shopped. We all need to complain when such practices occur to discourage sellers from this practice.

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