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How To Spot Fake Crystals

How To Spot Fake Crystals

One of the most common questions asked among crystal users is: “how do I know if my crystals are real or if they are fake crystals?”

The authenticity of your crystals is vital. It’s what gives your crystals their healing powers, not to mention their direct connection to Mother Nature.

Authentic crystals grow deep underground, underwater, or in darkness for thousands and even millions of years.

They soak up the energies of creation all around them for longer than we can imagine before finally making their way to the surface and enriching our lives.

However, many people try to cheat the system and abuse your trust by making counterfeit copies of crystals.

These synthetic crystals and all-out fake crystals do not contain the same healing qualities.

Although synthetic crystals do have the same chemical makeup as authentic crystals, they are grown in laboratories using processes that allow the crystals to form in lightning-fast time.

This leads to cheap mass production.

While this may not be a problem for some, having a crystal grown in a lab will not convey any healing powers to others.

Additionally, all-out fake crystals are imitation pieces that are often made of plastic, or less valuable stones, dyed and marketed to appear authentic.

These items are mass-produced to mislead customers looking to have a piece of authentic healing power in their own homes.

Below, we’d like to share some important tips when selecting your crystals to ensure that your supplier is selling you something real and not fake.

Things To Consider To Avoid Buying Fake Crystals

1. Know Your Retailer

Before questioning the authenticity of any crystal, you need to first start with the quality of your retailer, i.e., the person or company that sells you your crystal.

Retailers who sell authentic crystals will, by nature, know how important it is to prove a crystal’s authenticity. And they should have all the evidence they need to set you at peace about your purchase.

Before buying anything, ask your retailer for documents showing you where they procured their crystals.

Ideally, authentic crystal retailers will have purchased their crystals directly from a mining operation. Though likely there could be intermediate steps and suppliers up the food chain that you may need to pass through first. 

If a retailer gives you a blank stare when you ask about their suppliers, or if they tell you they know nothing about them, this is a red flag that they could be selling you inauthentic crystals.

By contrast, crystal retailers who have been in the business for years will have stories upon stories about their relationships with their crystal suppliers, knowing them by name, and knowing the issues that they face.

They’ll understand that this relationship is part of what makes their crystals sacred. And they’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about where they get their items.

2. Know The Market Prices

If you find an amazing crystal at a price that’s too good to be true, more than likely, it probably is

Authentic crystals take time to mine, process, and ship. This is leading to prices that are notably higher than synthetic crystals or imitation pieces.

Take, for example, a cluster of verified natural Amethyst, which you can hold in your palm.

This could cost you around $50 per 5 carats when purchasing directly from a crystal hunter. This same crystal would likely go for about $100-$150 at a retailer after accounting for a markup in price. 

By contrast, items you find on mega shopping websites that appear to be similar can sell for as little as $1 or $5.

Because these websites know that they don’t have authentic items, they rely on low prices to get their customers to make their purchases.

Unfortunately, it is simply not possible to sell genuine crystals this cheap. Thus, you should use these types of websites with extreme caution.

3. Beware Of Funny Sounding Crystal Names

As you browse through crystal retailers, whether online or in person, look at the names given to all of their crystals, even ones that don’t interest you.

In general, the names of crystals should be straightforward and sound familiar. Amethyst, Quartz, Jasper, Jade, Carnelian, Labradorite, etc.

Naturally, there are hundreds of authentic crystals, so you may need help remembering all of them. Consult our entire list of crystals here if you need assistance.

Funny-sounding names such as Strawberry Turquoise, Blue Moonstone, or African Emerald, however, are all signs that your retailer or supplier is selling pieces that have either been mislabeled to make you think the stone is more valuable than it is or selling complete imitation items.

While these items may have special properties on their own, and while some of the other crystal offerings available may be entirely genuine, it takes away trust from the retailer that they would mislabel any crystals in this way.

We suggest thinking twice before making purchases from these kinds of retailers and suppliers.

4. Examine The Patterns And Striations

This is the easiest way to tell if a Crystal is real or not.

The patterns inside of Crystals are unique, subtle, and easy to distinguish if you know what you are looking for. View any prospective Crystal under good lighting with a minimum magnification of 10x (such as on a smartphone or magnifying glass).

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Very carefully examine the interior patterns, as well as any surface striations or markings.

In a genuine Crystal, you should see a sharp contrast between the interior and exterior of the specimen.

Fine black lines should be perfectly straight and not curve or bend at unnatural angles.

Patterns inside the Crystals tend to be very clean and precise, with smooth edges. Extraneous lines, dots, or markings that do not seem to belong should be considered suspicious.

Crystals that are faked often have these same patterns inside, but they will look much more crude and imperfect. There may be dots instead of lines. The interior pattern might curve without reason. More than one pattern might exist within the same Crystal; however, this is more common in larger Crystals.

5. Check For Air Bubbles

A Crystal should not contain any air bubbles.

Genuine specimens are solid all the way through without any hollow spots or empty areas.

However, if a Crystal does have air bubbles, they should be extremely small and few in number.

Larger bubbles should set off alarms; however, even minute air bubbles can be cause for suspicion (unless you know for sure that the Crystals formed this way, such as with Amethyst Quartz Crystals).

6. Shape And Cut

In general, the most attractive and well-formed Crystals tend to be the most expensive. The most common fake Crystals are misshapen or have a poor cut that makes them less aesthetically appealing.

If you find a Crystal has been heavily discounted for being “ugly,” it might actually just be a fake.

Cutting or shaping a genuine Crystal requires specialized tools and expertise to ensure complete precision. If the Crystal has been cut or shaped with anything less, it’s probably fake.

7. Color And Clarity

Genuine crystals are often more brilliant than imitations because of refraction lines that create rainbows within the stone. Genuine crystals should have some degree of transparency at a minimum.

A Crystal that seems too perfect or too transparent should be considered suspicious.

Some imitations will have an oily look to them or might even feel waxy to the touch. Genuine Crystals are not made from any kind of plastic material. If it feels soft, thin, or “squishy,” it’s probably fake.

8. Hardness

The Mohs scale is a standardized ranking of a mineral’s hardness. A higher number indicates greater hardness and typically more durability.

A lower number typically means the specimen will be softer and more fragile.

If you are suspicious that your specimen might be an imitation, scratch it against something made from steel or Quartz, such as the case of a watch or smartphone. If it scratches these materials without breaking or visibly damaging the surface, it’s likely a stone or glass imitation.

Please note that this test is not always effective because some Crystals, such as Amethyst, for example, have a similar hardness to Quartz and can therefore be scratched by other crystals.

9. Check The Company Website

If you’re unsure whether a Crystal is real or not, look up the company that sells it. Genuine Crystals from reliable dealers should be described accurately and presented with plenty of photos.

In contrast, fake Crystals may be missing information or have descriptions that try to pass off poor quality imitations as high-quality specimens.

Inaccurate photos might include reflections or blurriness, which the company might try to pass off as an artistic effect.

If a Crystal seems too good to be true or is missing important information, don’t buy it and report the dealer to the website that hosts their business.

If you’re in doubt about whether your Crystal is genuine, we recommend consulting a professional appraiser or gemologist who deals specifically in crystals.

How Do I know If My Amethyst Is Real?

Once you have decided on a specific retailer, it’s time to inspect the crystals themselves.

A real amethyst
A real Amethyst.

Amethyst is one of the most popular crystals among crystal enthusiasts and healers, so you must know your particular Amethyst is the real thing and not an impersonator.

Here are some specific tips you can use when checking the authenticity of an Amethyst crystal.

An Authentic Amethyst’s Purple Isn’t Perfect

As you decide on a particular Amethyst to purchase, check to make sure that there are imperfections in your crystal’s purple balance. These are a clear sign that it was created by Mother Nature and not made in a lab.

Authentic Amethysts will have inconsistent coloring throughout the entire crystal and won’t be uniformly shaded.

This occurs due to the natural chemical processes which occur throughout the life of an Amethyst and which change from century to century. 

By contrast, laboratory Amethysts and fake items generally do not take the time to put these small details into their pieces, resulting in items that may look too perfect.

These pieces do not contain color zoning, meaning colors do not fade and bleed throughout the item. Rather, colors are distributed in one single brightness and hue.

An authentic Amethyst crystal will never have one single purple or brightness. It rather fades in and out throughout the body of the crystal.

Amethysts Are “Crystal Clear”

When inspecting your crystal, be sure to look inside and note if there are any air bubbles or scrap items inside of it.

It is very unlikely that authentic Amethysts would have either of these as they do not occur in the natural production of crystals. However, they are common in synthetic and imitation crystals. 

Note that this type of imperfection differs from the color blending of an Amethyst discussed above.

An Authentic Amethyst should have natural gradations of purple hues running throughout the crystal. Abrupt discolorations appearing like sharp errors or stains inside are signs of fake crystals.

Investigate The Amethyst’s Physical Properties

If you have an Amethyst you have already purchased that you want to make sure is authentic, or if a retailer or supplier allows you to analyze an Amethyst in the store, there are some scientific measurements that you can make to find out if you’re dealing with a fake crystal.

Measuring Specific Gravity

First, you can measure the item’s “Specific Gravity.”

This is a term that measures both the weight and density of a given object. In the case of Amethyst, its Specific Gravity is 2.65. We’ll explain what that means in a moment.

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To measure an Amethyst’s Specific Gravity, you’ll need a beaker, a scale, water, and an Amethyst.

Here is a step-by-step guide to follow when measuring its Specific Gravity:

  1. Start by weighing the beaker on the scale and writing down how much it weighs. 
  2. Next, weigh the Amethyst and write this down as well. 
  3. Then, place the beaker back on the scale and fill it up partially with water. Write down how much the beaker and water weigh together as well as the exact line where you’ve filled up the water to. For this example, let’s say you have filled the beaker up to 250ml. 
  4. Next, place the Amethyst into the beaker of water and note where the new water line is. It will be higher than it was before. For this example, let’s say the new water line is at 300ml. 
  5. Take the difference between the new water line and the old water. This is the amount of displaced water that occurred as a result of placing the Amethyst into the beaker. In this example, this amount would be 50ml. 
  6. Now carefully remove the Amethyst and dump out the water leaving only the amount of displaced water (e.g., 50ml) and weigh the beaker again. 
  7. Subtract the original weight of the beaker you wrote down in the beginning from this amount. This is the weight of the displaced water (50ml) caused by the Amethyst. 
  8. Finally, to calculate the Amethyst’s Specific Gravity, take the weight of the Amethyst and divide it by the weight of the displaced water: (weight of Amethyst/weight of displaced water). This number should be right around 2.65.

Measuring MOHS Hardness

Another physical property you can check is the MOHS hardness of your Amethyst crystal.

Authentic Amethyst’s will have a MOHS hardness level of 7, which indicates it is a fairly hard crystal.

This means that anything that has a MOHS hardness of less than 7 cannot scratch it.

Examples of items that have MOHS hardness less than 7 are a fingernail (2) or a steel knife (6.5).

Trying to scratch an Amethyst with either of these tools should not result in any scratches. If your item does scratch, it was not an Authentic Amethyst.

Know Where Amethysts Are Generally From

When making a purchase of an Amethyst from a retailer, don’t feel afraid to ask where the Amethyst was harvested. If your retailer has a good relationship with their suppliers, they should know this offhand.

Answers such as Brazil, South Africa, Namibia, Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina, and South Carolina are all valid answers as these locations have common Amethyst quarries.

If your retailer does not mention one of these locations, it does not mean that they are lying.

However, you should ask for further information to confirm that they indeed are selling an authentic Amethyst and not synthetic or fake crystals.

How To Tell If Clear Quartz And Rose Quartz Is Real

Like Amethyst, Clear Quartz and Rose Quartz have similar factors which you can analyze when determining whether your item is authentic.

While authentic Clear Quartz is relatively common throughout Nature, Rose Quartz is very rare.

Real Rose Quartz Crystal
A beautiful and real Rose Quartz crystal.

Look For Imperfections In The Crystal’s Texture

Generally, Clear Quartz fake crystals usually come in the form of glass.

Glass is a very consistent, smooth material whereas Clear Quartz contains waves, lines, or cracks. Anything that looks too perfectly clear generally is a synthetic or a fake.

Aside from the clarity of the glass, glass can also be produced with glass bubbles in it. Clear Quartz should never have any bubbles inside of it, as this is not a part of the crystallization process. If you see bubbles, it most likely is not Clear Quartz.

Like Clear Quartz, Rose Quartz can be impersonated by taking glass and adding a rose-colored dye. In this case, you can look for bubbles in the rose-colored glass. If you see them, this is a good sign that your Rose Quartz is not real.

Test The MOHS Hardness And Specific Gravity Of Your Clear Or Rose Quartz

Like Amethyst, Clear and Rose Quartz both have a MOHS hardness of 7. This means that it should not scratch using any tool of a hardness less than that.

Two examples of items with a MOHS hardness of less than 7 are a fingernail (2), and a steel knife (6.5). Simply try to produce a scratch on your item using one of these. If you can, the item is not an Authentic Clear or Rose Quartz.

You can also test the Specific Gravity of your Clear or Rose Quartz using the method described above with Amethyst. The Specific Gravity of Clear or Rose Quartz is also 2.65.

Know Where Clear Or Rose Quartz Comes From

When buying Clear or Rose Quartz from a retailer, feel free to ask where the crystals have been collected.

If your vendor has a decent connection with their providers, they should be able to easily provide this. Answers including Russia, Madagascar, the US, and Brazil, are good answers. All of these locations have both Clear and Rose Quartz quarries. 

If your retailer doesn’t refer to one of these areas, it doesn’t mean they are lying.

However, you should request additional information to confirm that they really sell authentic Clear or Rose Quartz and not engineered or fake crystals.

How To Tell If Turquoise Is Real

One of the most counterfeited crystals in the world is Turquoise. Only 10% of the “Turquoise” on the market being authentic.

Sadly, the vast majority of items that sell as “Turquoise” are, in fact, dyed Howlite since Howlite has a webbing pattern that is almost identical to that of Turquoise.

While Howlite is an exceptional stone in its own right, you want to be sure that when you are wanting to make a purchase of Turquoise that that’s, in fact, what you are getting.

Below are some unique techniques you can use to make sure you’re getting the stone you’re looking for.

Check The Colors

Like Amethyst and Rose Quartz, Turquoise does not naturally come with single, uniform color blendings or gradients.

Real turquoise stone structure
This is the color and webbing pattern of a real Turquoise stone.

Instead, the tone of the stone will brighten or darken slightly around the contours of the crystal. This is due to the natural crystallization process.

By contrast, Howlite that has been dyed a Turquoise color produces a flat, single green. It has the appearance of being too perfect and thus is most likely fake.

Howlite’s black webbing pattern can also be inspected to determine whether your item is authentic or an imposter.

Crystals By Condition Or Use

While the black webbing of Howlite looks nearly identical to Turquoise, when it is dyed, the fabricators will likely place the entire Howlite into the dye instead of taking the time to paint carefully around the webbing.

This causes the sharp black webbing of the Howlite to become slightly muted with a Turquoise color. This is a tell-tale sign that the stone is, in fact, Howlite and not Turquoise.

The dyes which are used to color Howlite may also come off when acetone is applied to the surface.

To check, simply take a cotton ball and dip it into acetone. Gently rub a part of the stone under question with your acetone-covered cotton ball.

If the item is a real Turquoise, nothing will happen. However, if it is dyed Howlite, the color may come off.

Naturally, if the color does come off, you can always use the acetone to remove all the dye and bring the Howlite back to its natural form.

Check The MOHS Hardness And Specific Gravity Of Turquoise

Like Amethyst and Quartz listed above, you can use the same physical tests to see if your item is a real Turquoise or if it is a Howlite.

Authentic Turquoise has a MOHS hardness of 4.5 – 6 while Howlite has a MOHS hardness of 3.5.

While this makes it difficult to test directly due to their relatively close MOHS hardness scales, you can use this information generally.

If your item has received scratches from things which should not be scratching a Turquoise, consider the possibility that your item is, in fact, Howlite.

Turquoise also has a Specific Gravity of 2.7 while Howlite is 2.62. You can use the method for testing Specific Gravity described above to see where your item lands. There can be some variation in pieces, so this likely won’t be a clearly defining test.

However, you can use it in conjunction with other measurements and observations you make about your item.

Know Where Turquoise Comes From

When buying Turquoise from a retailer, don’t hesitate to ask what region the Turquoise was purchased from.

Hopefully, your merchant has a good association with their suppliers, and they will have this information readily available.

Regions including Southwest USA, Mexico, Chile, Iran, China, Tibet, and Egypt are overall trustworthy responses as these areas contain Turquoise quarries. 

If your retailer doesn’t give one of these regions, it doesn’t automatically mean they are selling you fake Turquoise. However, you should ask for extra information to verify they are selling Authentic Turquoise and not dyed Howlite.

Do Dyed Crystals Still Work

We never like to learn that our crystals are not the authentic items we thought they were when we purchased them.

However, if we learn that our crystals have been dyed, does that mean that they are now worthless? The answer is that it’s mostly a matter of personal opinion.

As mentioned above with Turquoise, Howlite is often dyed a Robin’s Egg blue to give the illusion of authentic Turquoise. This dye can be removed, and the item can be returned to its original state of Howlite. But would you want to use it? 

For some people, this transformation from an imposter item back to its natural state could be seen as a worthwhile, significant transformation.

In contrast, other people may permanently lose their spiritual connection with the item. They may only be able to see it as the counterfeit product they were tricked into buying.

If you learn that your crystal – of any variety – has been dyed, but you want to keep using it with the dye still applied, that is perfectly fine.

However, be aware that this dye may interact with your skin as you hold it. It may rub off or fade. Natural crystals do not have dye in their construction, so these are concerns you otherwise would not have to worry about. 

Also, if your crystal has been dyed, you will want to ascertain what the underlying crystal type is, so you can begin using it with its proper qualities being utilized.

If you cannot determine what the underlying crystal is, it may make your healing sessions with it very difficult.

For other individuals, however, the chemical signature of a crystal may have little to do with their overall enjoyment of it or the benefits they receive from it.

In this case, if you are sensing a great value coming from your crystal, but you have doubts about its true nature, consider not testing it. Simply continue using your crystal as you have been.

It has been benefiting you, and you would not want to disrupt that by introducing new information into your mind, which could then block its healing power.

How To Tell If A Crystal Ball Is Real

Crystal Balls can be made of many materials such as glass, blown glass, lead crystal, or reconstituted clear quartz.

This latter material – reconstituted clear Quartz – is generally the preferred material for professional diviners. It has some distinct characteristics to it that you can look for when determining its authenticity.

Clear Quartz crystal balls will not be entirely clear when you gaze through them. Instead, they will have slight waves, lines, or cracks.

This quality of imperfection is what actually allows the diviner to perform their readings.

However, bubbles contained inside the ball are a sign of fake crystals – so keep that in mind.

Clear Quartz also will not have trace impurities which can occur when producing artificial materials such as lead or glass.

By holding a crystal ball in your hand, you can also sense its energy and determine for yourself whether or not it is valuable for you in your practice.

How to spot fake crystals

About the author

Diana Houston

Diana Houston is a respected crystal expert and the author of 'A Beginner's Guide to Healing Crystals: Getting Started With Crystal Healing – A Complete Guide.' Her passion for crystals and their healing properties made her a leading authority on the subject.

Diana's expertise and passion for crystals have inspired countless readers and practitioners, and her book has received rave reviews on Amazon. With her clear and insightful guidance, Diana is a trusted guide for anyone seeking to unlock the transformative power of crystals.

Available on Amazon!