Hello beautiful souls, reading this series of blog posts. We hope this brings you comfort and knowledge about sourcing crystals and spiritual items. Many news, blogs and videos about what can be accurate within these industries have become highly exposed at a red alert through the internet about crystals, minerals, and herbs.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of crystals and minerals that are sold on the market as "authentic and genuine", and whether the sellers may be conscious of it or not it does happen. It is not the sellers' entire fault, but some basic things should be highlighted on a retailers store to look out for. The crystal industry is a dark place with secrets and multiple unethical ways. Keep reading this blog to uncover the most common rocks and crystals that are often glass/resin, dyed, enhanced or misinterpreted!
How to spot a dyed, fake or unnatural crystal?
Of course it depends on the mineral and its components but there are some easy ways to identify an unauthentic crystals/minerals.
Agate and Howlite
One of the most commonly found crystals, Agate, often goes through a dyed treatment to enhance its natural appearance to be more appealing to the public. It is a widespread mineral and is naturally found in various shades such as pink, peach, grey, brown, white etc. When a crystal shows an extreme contrast in colour, it is most likely to be treated somehow. Check for vibrancy, dyed specking and colour coming off when handled. Howlite is another commonly found mineral that often gets mistaken for Turquoise when dyed blue. Howlite is a very easy attainable mineral that is more appealing blue but is also known to be coloured in Purple, Pink, Green, etc. It is often sold as an expensive mineral in Jewellery (Turquoise). Pricing is also another identification of authenticity and ethics. Easily attained minerals will be much cheaper to purchase and dyed or enhanced crystals.
The Quartz Family
Quartz is a very large touchy subject. We will break this down with the most often issue on the market is Heated Amethyst sold as Natural Citrine. Smoky Quartz is often irradiated for a darker and smoky appearance. It does range from a hue of brown to a somewhat medium. Any darker is often heated, in some cases, natural dark smoky has been found. On energetic levels, quartz is a very easy crystal to manipulate, and the properties can be programmed to your needs. Depending on your spiritual beliefs and how to practise, everyone has their preference or ways of working, and it is magnificent either way.
Natural Citrine & Natural Smoky Quartz
In the photo below, you can see a huge difference. Honestly, there is a large scale of comparison to identify heated and natural. When we source crystals, we find most of the heated Citrine and Smoky has come from Brazil. Although there is natural of both from this part of the world, there is a natural component of both mixed together. Heated amethyst, we have also realised that some of this is clear quartz too. Wildly the tumbled, a lot of wasted material often gets heated and treated if its weaker material, damaged or a large amount has been abstracted and used for multiple purposes. Quartz is used in our daily lives such as phones, watches and other electronically run items. You will find polished and large pieces of Natural Citrine, and Smoky is a significant jump in price. More minor may be cheaper, but the treated stuff will be very cheap to purchase wholesale and retail. Often in wholesale, you can buy dyed, enhanced and human-made materials for a low price in bulk.
Amethyst VS Treated and Man-made
Amethyst is mined and found in many forms such as Spirit Quartz, Fairy Quartz, Geodes, Points, Banded/Chevron, Cathedrals, Lasers, etc. has a crystalline structure. There are some things to look out for. Human-made amethyst will look too perfect. Picture 2 is a typical lab-grown geode. When amethyst grows in the caves/mines, it is first formed as white (quartz); over many years, it develops to lilac and then purple; Also known as baby amethyst, lavender amethyst and silver amethyst. In some parts of the world, such as Uruguay, you may find the amethyst to be richer and deeper in colour in terms of quality which does not mean it has been treated
Prasiolite is a natural form of amethyst. It has a light, soft green colour, it is rare and sold at a high price. Today's market Prasiolite is sold commonly at a lower cost. This is most likely to be heated amethyst. There is a common issue where some retailers will state this is Prasiolite; however, it, unfortunately, is not. It is green amethyst (heated purple amethyst).
Below are some key points to observe when purchasing amethyst:
- Natural amethyst will contain imperfections and inclusions such as hematite (which makes black amethyst), Cacoxenite, Goethite, Calcite and sometimes Rutile needles and other inclusions.
- It is usual for amethyst to contain white
- Ametrine is natural. A combination of citrine and amethyst from Bolivia
- It may have other formations and growths
- Check for round glass air bubbles inside but do not mistake them for inclusions and needles
- Check for a natural base, root and matrix to see if it has been extracted from the earth, which indicates authenticity
- If you are unsure of your product, you can try the acid test; it should not dissolve or melt if it is authentic. You can also light it to see if it catches fire and smells of plastic/resin materials
Clear quartz is a hit and miss in this market. Here are some easy ways to identify REAL quartz. The magnification test is not a 100% reliable source of testing. Quartz has a crystalline structure, and it gets tumbled and also rounded, which would make any clearer mineral magnify, not just quartz. It does have natural edging, which can mistake people into thinking it is glass. The best way to identify quartz is how clear is the item? A tumbled stone should contain minerals inside and inclusions. Anything that is 100% clear or has rounded glass bubbles is not authentic. The scratch test is also great, although it depends on the silicon dioxide content. The higher, the better, of course, but that is also not the case. Quartz is a very cold mineral. Test the coldness on your skin. Ice quartz is also another form of clear quartz, which has more of a smooth/lustred texture; it does not mean it is glass either. Anything that is stated as Andara means it is a human-made glass.
Enhanced Clear Quartz, Dyed & Heated
A lot of quartz can also and often be coated, dyed or heated in some way. It is a very similar process to agate. It is often enhanced for attraction and decoration purposes, colour therapy and gifting. Vibrant colours in quartz are most likely to be dyed by injecting pigment into the crystal/tumble stone (picture 1).
Heated often makes "Fire & Ice" It is natural quartz but heated and quickly cooled to mimic natural fire and ice quartz. Which is not easily obtained by many retailers. Aura quartz is not natural at all. Cheap and coloured aura quartz, maybe resin or glass, dipped in paint or dye and easily peeled off if scratched. Higher-priced aura quartz will be expensive as it is treated with other metals such as copper, silver and rhodium ( for example) and be properly vaporized with machinery.
Carnelian, Red Agate & Sardonyx
First things first, all these minerals are from the same family (agate). Which does not mean they are the same. They may have different banding, formations and mineral content. Here is the best way to separate the confusion across the crystal world.
Carnelian is an orange-brown toned mineral that may display some banding, but it is not its dominant character. It also can run veins and sparkly druzy. It is often found in volcanic areas and has many "potholes" most agates do, but it is a very common uniqueness about carnelian. Red agate is a dyed natural agate. It mimics carnelian very well. It is brightly coloured and can display dyed markings, blotches and thick un-natural banding. Sardonyx is found in various colours, swirls, patterns, mixtures and banding. The photos below show an easy way to identify each of these crystals' differences quickly. The bottom right image is a mixture of a large amount of agate and carnelian found in Botswana and is also known as pink carnelian, banded carnelian agate.
Green Aventurine, Bowenite, Jade & Serpentine
One of the most misleading minerals on the market is these four minerals!
Let us start with the most misleading product online. Jade; often gets sold as Green Aventurine, Bowenite, Serpentine and "New Jade". So what is the difference?
- New Jade; Is Serpentine predominantly and has slight chances of Jade being visible. Its proper name is Bowenite. Which is just a type of serpentine
- Serpentine can be found in various colours but is often sold as types of Jade.
- Jade is not just green. You can purchase white Jade, nephrite, blue Jade, purple, black, Burma and much more.
- Green Aventurine is a variety of quartz and has a very close colour to Jade but not quite. Aventurine displays light-dark green and peach, yellow, red and blue.
- Nephrite Jade, the most common green Jade that people purchase and love, will not be the cheapest on the market, so bear in mind the quality and authenticity of the stone listed.
The photo below is a comparison to show you what the differences are when you put them together, and we hope for you to use this guide to identify mis-sold or uncertain identification of crystals.
Thank you for reading part 1!
We love crystals, spirituality and mother earth, and we want you guys to know that we have a huge passion for our business and spreading the love, new level of consciousness and joy to the world. As a company, we constantly question and test our supplies, miners, and lapidary sources. Some retailers have experienced doubt, sadness and anger as not everyone in this industry is a genuine source. Crystal hunting for stores is problematic on many spectrums.
We want you to know what you are purchasing not just from us but from other crystal retailers too. Always question and ask if you are unsure, and don't be afraid to test or compare them. We will continue to do a series of fake, dyed, artificial vs authentic crystals in our following few blogs. Feel free to comment with tips, advise others, or share your experiences with us. We promote community and unity!
With Love and Blessings,
Talia & Chris x