Much of the appeal of crystals comes from the fact that they are fine art curated by the cosmos, and as with all other types of art, you’ll want to avoid imposters. There are telltale signs you can look for to keep fake minerals out of your hands. The first sign of a mock crystal is that it isn’t cold to the touch. Real crystals like quartz will feel cool even when the temperature outside is not, and they will also rarely appear too symmetrical in shape or pattern. Too perfect means it was likely manufactured. Mother Nature doesn’t make mistakes, but her idea of flawless is (perhaps obviously) more natural than airbrushed.
Overly bright or saturated colors often bely fraudulence as well, as do air bubbles (Mother Nature doesn’t blow glass). On the topic of glass, you can test your purported crystal and if it sits at around a five on the Mohs Hardness Scale it probably is glass. Real crystals vary of course, with quartz at around a seven.
Price is also often a way to gauge fake versus real. If it seems too cheap to be true, it probably is. Beware of purchasing crystals straight from China or India, where factories produce fakes that can sometimes even fool experts! “Smelt quartz” refers to melted-down glass that’s been dyed. Real crystals are sometimes dyed, too, and while this doesn’t necessarily cancel out the purported metaphysical properties it does often change them as well as making the crystal feel like less of the genuine article. Dyed crystals will exhibit a buildup of color in any cracks or divots, and the dye will fade in the sun or rain and sometimes will even come off with water on a cloth (if that doesn’t work, try nail polish on a cotton ball – this will take off the dye on fake turquoise).
Sometimes certain crystals are also heat-treated to change their color. This is often true of fiery citrine, which can be made by baking amethyst in a kiln. Heat can also be applied more judiciously like makeup to bring out or deepen the color of a crystal like smokey quartz without masquerading it as something else. This is often done with high-end arrangements and it’s fairly accepted in the mineral world.
The most common crystals for which fakes are passed off are quartz, amethyst, and turquoise (the real deal is extremely hard to source and usually you’ll find your turquoise is actually dyed howlite, which harbors its own attractions). It’s not that you need to stay away from dyed and heated stones, but that you want to go into buying crystals armed with all the information necessary to make sure you’re adorning your home and yourself as consciously and effectively as possible. Your best bet, of course, is buying through a trustworthy and knowledgable mineral distributor like Astro West. We have the expertise and reliability to bring you the best of the genuine article, guaranteed.