How to tell if crystals are real

How to Tell if A Crystal Is Real

real crystals

How To Tell If Crystals Are Real

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, which is just a really sad way for those crystals to be destroyed! I honestly don't recommend most of the 'tests' people recommend. You could permanently damage a legitimate crystal.

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 (you can see some below). 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

how to tell if citrine is real

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.  The ones shown in my classic photo (with pink flowers) is REAL, and the one with the black background here is a heat treated amethyst.  They can rang in color from tan, to yellow, to orange, and even brown.  They are pretty obvious because they look like a classic amethyst cluster.


real vs fake citrine

And then there are aura crystals which are once again real crystals, but 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 versus evenly throughout the cluster.  Sometimes aura crystals are also dyed vibrant colors which you can see lower on the page.  These typically use a mineral dye to get their vibrant coloring... it also usually causes a UV reaction where they will glow under blacklight.

how to know if a crystal is real

There are some vendors, who flat out sell GLASS as minerals, those you can usually tell because they are practically perfect with no cracks or inclusions. One example of this is 'Cherry Quartz' that is bright red/orange in color... not real haha.  They now also make this in other colors like blue and green.  It basically looks like stained glass, but carved into a point, sphere or other shape. 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.  They will also refer to these as smelting glass.  You can also find a 'blue obsidian' on the market that is again, just manmade glass (versus natural volcanic glass).  There is a natural version of this, but again is VERY rare.

That's not to say people don't use these manmade pieces 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, and if it makes you happy, then don't feel bad about liking it.

dyed crystals

Dyed & Aura Coated Natural Quartz

Lab Grown Crystals

In recent times, there has been a surge in the availability of lab-grown crystals, which are crafted using the same mineral compositions as their natural counterparts but are produced within controlled laboratory environments. This emergence has sparked discussions within the crystal community about their authenticity and whether they possess the same metaphysical properties as naturally occurring crystals. It's important to note that the debate around lab-grown crystals often hinges on personal beliefs and perspectives.

However, it's essential for crystal enthusiasts to be aware of the distinctions between natural and lab-grown crystals to make informed choices. While some argue that lab-grown crystals may exhibit similar but potentially weaker energetic properties, the primary concern is ensuring transparency and preventing any misconceptions. After all, the experience of working with crystals often relies on a deep connection and belief in their inherent qualities.

As a crystal enthusiast, you may want to familiarize yourself with various methods to discern the authenticity of a crystal, such as assessing its physical characteristics, energy, and vibrational frequency. Learning how to tell if a crystal is real can be a valuable skill in navigating the world of crystals and ensuring that your collection aligns with your intentions and beliefs.  

how to tell if a crystal is real
These are ALL lab grown crystals on the table, including the amethyst ones in front.
(the ones in the bins in the back are not)

Fake Crystals

So how to tell if a crystal is real - Tip one on how to tell if a crystal is real is to keep all those 'crystal growing kits' on Amazon in mind when you are out shopping.  If it looks too perfect and uniform... odds are it might be lab grown.

- If it looks TOO perfect in its formations, aka it's almost a perfect 360 degree 'flower' (like the colorful ones you see here) and there are no points broken, missing, no 'keys' where a point fell off of another.  If there are tons of other clusters that look basically identical next to it, this is a clear indicator.  This is commonly called 'green phantom quartz', but they now make it in white, yellow, blue and even purple.  A quick google search will show you these formations.  They typically have several large point formations surrounded by tons of teeny formations (kind of like a spirit quartz style). 

fake crystals

- The other new 'crystals' are ones that are even popping up regularly at HomeGoods and other big box stores.  They are dyed Borax crystals.  You know that whole 'grow your own crystals' at home situation I mentioned? You can use Borax to grow these at home... the ones on the market are usually a very bright color and are almost a perfect 'pineapple' shape (the bottom part of a pineapple, not the leaves). 

- 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.  There have been faux fluorites making their way only the market with perfect cubic formations and evenly bright colors with amazing clarity.

- Price seems too good to be true⁠, a 6" quartz cluster in perfect symmetrical shape and condition is NEVER going to be $20, it's just not.   Just like a perfect fluorite is never going to be $20 either.  Although they are now charging an arm and a leg for even the fake ones!  They are asking upwards of $100 for the lab grown ones shown above. So that's why having your 'skeptical mindset' on is key.

- A lot of these are being produced in China, so at events, look for sellers who only seem to have carved crystals and jewelry on their table, and then they randomly have 'quartz clusters'. that look like the ones I mentioned in the top bullet points.  Like the fake amber shown here, this booth only had beads and a handful of carved crystals.

man made crystals

- 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.  : (  Also keep in mind that sellers aren't always trying to be shady, they may even not truly know since crystals tend to pass through so many hands before making their way to their final home.

Again, it's hard sometimes to tell if a crystal is real, 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 

Some of these commonly used terms will also help you in the process of how to tell if a crystal is real, or at the very least if it is a modified crystal.

how to tell if crystals are real

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, but 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 (typically one like turquoise) and pressurized it with a glue or epoxy.

Howlite Turquoise: They really do like to fake 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.  Like I said above, these will usually glow vibrantly under UV light (but keep in mine some chalcedony does naturally too).

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. Some people find that repair crystals have broken energy, while some actually believe they become stronger from repair... again, it is your PERSONAL preference.

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Real Vs Fake Crystals: How to Tell If A Crystal Is Real

how to tell if crystals are real

real vs fake crystals