Today we are going to dive into crystal topics about real versus fake crystals, and how to tell if crystals are real. Plus some common crystal terms you've probably seen but maybe don't know what they mean. I'd like to start by saying STOP BURNING CRYSTALS!! This is a HORRIBLE new social media trend that encourages people to burn crystals to tell if they are real. Not only is it incredibly dangerous (people HAVE had quartz literally explode and shoot shards everywhere), but it can ruin softer crystals like selenite and more.
As with anything that becomes more and more popular, fakes and imitations start to pop up. That's no different with crystals. The other day while gem shopping at a wholesale event, I took a video of faux quartz clusters that I've seen popping up recently at gem events. Everyone started to ask how exactly you can tell if a crystal is real, but let me preface this whole post with... sometimes its hard to know if a crystal is fake.
Levels of Fake Crystals
There are different levels of 'fake' as we've talked before. Like heat-treated citrine which is actually amethyst (you can read a post I did previously on crystals for business and specifically
natural citrine). Citrine very rarely, except with Congo Citrine and Morocco Citrine for example, forms in a true cluster form, although there IS natural ametrine clusters which is where there is citrine present in an amethyst cluster.
And then there are aura crystals which are real crystals coated with precious metals. While modified, they both at least started as naturally formed out of the earth minerals. PS, there are actually SOME naturally forming auras, but they don't happen often, and usually they are just on one point. There are other heat-treated ones in the world like Cherry Quartz that is bright red/orange in color... not real haha.
There are some, who flat out sell GLASS as minerals, those you can usually tell because they are practically perfect with no cracks or inclusions. Sometimes they will occasionally have tons of little bubbles as well. Luckily they usually look like glass so they are easier to tell. Cherry Quartz is typically manmade, especially if it appears to have 'wisps' of neon red in them. That's not to say people don't use these in crystal healing. After all, Opalite, Gold Stone and Blue Stone are all manmade crystals that people are frequently drawn to. I always say it is a personal preference.
Now the problem crystals that are popping, up out there.... 'lab grown crystals' which are often made using the same minerals, that say a quartz would, but it is created in a lab environment. Some people say (and this depends on your personal beliefs) that because it is made with the same minerals it has the same, although weaker, properties. But that's not why we are here. I don't want anyone getting fooled into thinking they are real ones.
How to Tell If A Crystal Is Fake
- If it looks TOO perfect in its formations, aka it's almost a perfect 360 degree 'flower' and there are no points broken, missing, no 'keys' where a point fell off of another.
- If the color is too pure and there are no inclusions (other minerals that ended up in the structure), or again the color is too uniform.
- Price seems too good to be true, a 6" quartz cluster in perfect condition is NEVER going to be $20, it's just not.
- A lot of these are being produced in China, so at events, look for sellers who only seem to have carved crystals on their table, and then they randomly have quartz clusters.
- Ask!! Don't be afraid to ask a seller. But unfortunately don't always assume they are going to tell you the truth. I hope they will, but you never know. : (
Again, it's hard sometimes, but I stick with the age-old adage, if something is too good to be true... it probably is. Go with your gut.
Some Crystal Terms to Know
Irradiated: Is a process that is used to enhance or change the color of a crystal. Blue topaz and smoky quartz are both commonly irradiated ones. This is something that DOES happen naturally to crystals, this process does it at a faster pace.
Aura Crystals: Typically coated with a thin precious metal coating and then heated to high temperatures.
Stabilized: They have taken a soft version of a mineral (like turquoise) and pressurized it with a glue or epoxy.
Howlite Turquoise: This is simply white howlite that has been dyed to look like turquoise... because real turquoise is super expensive peeps. You can see an example on my howlite write up.
Dyed: Dyed minerals are usually dyed with a mineral colorant. They can be bright colors, but they will also do black agates with these, so beware.
Repaired/Filled: It should be no surprise, but crystals can often break! They can be repaired using epoxy glue, or they sometimes 'fill' holes and crevices with a resin or a mix of crystal dust and resin.