We need to talk about FAKE crystals!
There’s a lot of talk about fake crystals at the moment. There seems to be a new practise doing the rounds instigated by popular media platforms like tiktok, youtube and Instagram etc. Where people are instructed to smash crystals with a hammer or try and burn them. And after your findings are false, go and name and shame shops and suppliers. Lovely! It wouldn’t be so alarming if these individuals knew what they are talking about. They have recently found an interest in crystals and now they are evidently experts!
So, I want to explain a bit more about real and fake crystals and what to look out for. Yes, these days because of the high demand for crystals there are sadly lots of fake ones on the market. It would seem that most of them are manufactured in China and sometimes not so obvious to spot to the untrained eye. But there are very common things to watch out for. A lot of these crystals end up being sold online, an easy way to pass them off, as you are only coming into contact with them for the first time once you receive them.
So firstly, always make sure that you are buying from an established reputable shop or supplier. If crystals are priced ridiculously low this should ring alarm bells, good grade crystals are not cheap, these could be glass.
A lot can be seen by looking at a crystal, if it’s colour is overly bright or there is a darker coloured residue collected in any cracks this is not usual for natural crystal, it may well be dyed, but in some cases that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a crystal underneath the dye, it’s just not perhaps what it is labelled to be.
We do sell coloured agate slices, small coloured geod’s, bookends and t-light holders, which are pretty much standard stock in most crystal shops. Some people and children like them, as the colours pick out the formations in the stones. Personally they are not my favourites, however they are still offering their healing energies, but are often for aesthetic purposes rather than used for crystal healing and this colouring is quite obvious as they are often a vivid pink, purple, green and blue.
Blue howlite is a dyed crystal, white howlite is it’s natural form. also known as Turqurenite. This is one that is often found being passed off as Turquoise, (We do sell turqurenite, the kids like it, but it’s not parading as turquoise in the shop. Real Turquoise is quite expensive, so anything that seems to be too good to be true re the price, probably is!
Most cheap jewellery that looks like turquoise is often plastic painted to mimic turquoise, but it’s usually quite obvious. If it’s dyed howlite it can be trickier. The thing is that if you are paying a lot for something that is meant to be turquoise then even I might take a little acetone and give it a rub somewhere unnoticeable to see if any colour is removed.
Blue goldstone is man made, it contains flecks of of copper which is a great conductor and does non the less hold some healing properties.
Glass Opalite is an artificial crystal designed to mimic the appearance of the October birthstone, natural opal, which is forged organically out of volcanic ash. While Opalite is usually composed of a mixture of glass and metal and sometimes other elements. There is a natural Opalite which shares the same basic chemical properties of Opal. It is made of tiny spheres of silicon dioxide, which stack onto one another in a pyramid shape. Natural Opalite is often referred to as “common Opal” to prevent it from being confused for glass Opalite.
This man-made stone’s aesthetic appeal may go without saying and whats more, glass opalite is far more affordable and easier to track down than organic opal, which is only found in nature and is therefore quite expensive.
In 1974, chemist Pierre Gilson identified the clear spherical atomic structure of organic opal, enabling manufacturers to replicate it more accurately in a laboratory setting, thus mimicking the same helpful energetic properties.
Opalite is the trade name for this man-made opalescent glass. It is also known as Argenon, Sea Opal and Opal Moonstone. It displays a beautiful, sky blue milky iridescence that symbolises clear thinking and new beginnings.
Now it would also be easy for certain other crystals that have been treated in one way or another to be labelled as a fake! When I say fake crystals, I mean coloured glass or resin or plastic concoctions. There are many real crystals that have been treated with heat or dipped to amplify or enhance their energy. This is what I call modern day alchemy.
Anything with ‘Aura’ after the name has been through a particular process. The crystal is left with an undeniably beautiful iridescence that comes in many luscious shades. Aura coatings are fine metallic coatings which have been vapour deposited onto the crystal at a high temperature in a vacuum chamber by electrostatic charge. Some of the metallics used in this process are gold, silver, platinum and titanium. Many crystals can be enhanced in this way, but often it is bonded to natural quartz, amethyst and lately rose quartz. The crystal is now emitting a whole new set of energies by amplifying the energy of the metal coatings.
These ‘Aura’ crystals are now holding an even higher vibration and doing a wonderful job.
They should be cleansed gently and not subjected to any harsh treatment or chemicals.
(For a list of Aura quartz and their energies, please go to my separate Blog)
The Mohs Scale.
The Mohs hardness scale was developed by a German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs in 1812. The scale consists of 10 readily available minerals of particular hardness varying from soft minerals all the way up to the hard minerals such as diamonds. the scale is used to compare the scratch resistance of a mineral against common materials such as glass, in order to measure the hardness. There are many other tools available but the Mohs scale has been used world wide for its simplicity. However it is not always a true and perfect reflection.
Even if a crystal score is high on the Mohs scale this does not mean that the crystal won’t break, even a diamond which scores 10 on the Mohs scale and even though a diamond is the hardest gemstone on Earth, if it is hit at a certain angle it can fracture and break. The stone relies on its internal structure, some crystal formed Gemstones are weaker due to inclusions within the stone, again if a stone is knocked at a particular angle it can be chipped or fractured. So even a crystal high on the Mohs scale still depends on its internal structure.
Other things to consider are elements such as Light, heat and chemicals which can change the colour or even break them. Citrine and amethyst are both sensitive to light and if exposed for long periods of time can lose their colour and become dull, which is why we don’t put them in our shop window. Temperature is also something to consider, sudden temperature changes can cause thermal shock, causing fractures and cracks. So stop trying to burn crystals, it’s horrible! If you want to see if it’s resin or plastic knock it gently against your teeth, you will feel the difference, or hold it up to the light to look for unnatural bubbles, this is possibly glass. Also the plastic resins weigh less than crystal, they are pretty obvious.
This from one of my suppliers of many years:-
If you make a fire on a flint beach, the flint (which is the same chemical formula as quartz) will certainly crack and shatter.
There are several ways to test real quartz, in particular….
If you hold it in a flame it may shatter, but what it won’t do if it’s real is melt or distort.
It will actually scratch glass because it is harder.
It will not contain any small bubbles, which fake quartz (i.e. glass) often will.
What about Citrine..
Citrine is quite a bit more pricey in its natural state and less readily available, especially as demands have increased. The majority of citrine on the market is heat-treated, it starts off as amethyst and is then heated in a kiln to high temperatures until it changes colour.
Why do this…
Amethyst is very common and affordable, so to supply the market with the demands of citrine, a lot of it is heat-treated by temperatures that cause the molecular structure and the quartz crystal lattice to change into citrine in the same way that would be done by nature.
If you were to put absolute natural citrine next to a particularly (and I mean a particularly obvious one) obvious bright orange heated one there would usually be quite a difference. Often the heated variety has a white base or white areas, which natural Citrine doesn’t display. But sometimes it can indeed be difficult to tell as the copy cat manufactures advance their techniques to fool the general public. Natural citrine produces pale and light yellow shades or depending on where it’s from it could be darker yellow verging on brown shades it could even resemble smokey quartz. Not all citrine is produced from only amethyst, smoky quartz can also be heated. We carry both heated and natural in the shop, but we make this clear. For those using citrine for healing practices, whether they are heated by mother Earth or heated up another way the energy spectrum of natural citrine and heat-treated amethyst bears only slight variants.
The most touted theory is that it can be differentiated by sight alone, which is not always accurate these days. Those within the scholarly gemmology community argue about the validity of on-sight identification. If those who are experts and immersed fully in the gem community have arguments about validating real citrine by sight alone, what makes you think social media crystal Newbie’s (desperate for clicks!) trying to get noticed, are going to be able to tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt what is real or not?
There are simply loads of controversies, half-truths, and sensationalism when it comes to the debate about real citrine verses fake heat-treated amethyst. We've all seen the sensationalised images on social media, promising to call out the fake citrine and alluding to the fact that the crystal community has duped you. While that makes for great click’s and subscriptions from unsuspecting crystal enthusiasts, looking for information, it's not that black and white!
When you get past the online bull-sh*t and you dig into the subject from a geological standpoint, you’ll see that there are people long-vetted in the community who have difficulty telling the difference between real and fake citrine.
The bottom line for crystal healers and those using citrine for crystal healing practices is.. whether heated by Mother Earth or heated in the mines, the energy spectrum of natural citrine and heat-treated amethyst bears only slight variance. They both start life as quartz and share similar properties at a molecular level.
Your real citrine, even if heat-treated, will still provide the full range of crystal healing properties attributed to citrine. Rest assured, nothing changes whether Mother Earth heats it or not, and you don't need to worry yourself or become anxious that you've been tricked.
Why isn't it labeled then ‘heat treated’? Unless you have an unbroken chain of provenance from the time your specimen was mined until it came to be in your hand, there isn't any way for you to tell whether your citrine gemstone wasn't heated somewhere along the way. That is the long and short of the it, and that is what is so polarising about the topic. Social media posts and gem sites may proclaim they have the beginning and end of all evidence. But at the centre of the story is where you find the truth. How can you tell if real citrine was created by the warmth of Mother Earth, or if someone treated it after it was mined?
This lack of evidence from the mine to the vendor selling your citrine is why most hesitate to claim their citrine is natural or heat-treated undeniably. Citrine itself, even when natural, can be heat-treated! Citrine, amethyst, and smoky quartz are gems that can be heat-treated and sold as "Real Citrine."
There are so many theories from people who can debate the topic of these crystals from a scientific standpoint and they are still arguing the validity to this day! Lol
For instance, there is the proposed method of using polarised light to test the dichroic properties of the stones. If you put polarising light to smoky quartz or natural citrine gemstones, it shouldn't change its hue, but heat-treated amethyst would.
While it might aid in identifying, you can find reputable sources that refute this method. Some may say that depending on where it was sourced will depend on whether or not that method works. It sounds like a dichotomy doesn’t it!
I say.. Just Find the Stone That Speaks to You
If you love the stones, if they speak to you, then love them for the gorgeous, beautiful creations that they are. So, when it comes to real citrine verses fake citrine, it isn't fraud when it's a genuine gemstone. Whether it's citrine heated by the Earth, citrine heated to improve its colour saturation, amethyst heated by the Earth, amethyst heated by the miners, or heated smoky quartz, if it speaks to you and you love it and feel its vibration then welcome it home.
No matter how your citrine came to be citrine, it works the same for crystal healing if it's a genuine gemstone, not resin, plastic, or glass.
As most of you know I have been running my shop for 25 years, way prior to crystals being popular and previously I sold crystals in markets. In all of those years I have used the same handful of crystal suppliers who have also been in business for 25 years or more, in fact one of them has been supplying crystals for over 30 years. These companies are absolutely committed to supplying genuine crystals directly from sources that they have had long standing relationships with. Their philosophy is the same as mine.. sell good graded crystals
from a reliable source with integrity. One such company supplies the British museum and many other such establishments Therefore I know without any doubt that my crystals are not only genuine, but are afforded the respect of the people that are handling them.
Mostly every thing in my shop has a back story that helps someone somewhere. Fair trade products, companies that are none profit making, lots that donate a percentage of their profits to very worthy causes all over the globe, plant trees, keep their manufacturing footprint low or zero. So I hope that you will buy from us with the knowledge that you are purchasing your crystals, tools and treasures from a reliable source.
And that there will be no need to smash crystals with a hammer or burn them….
Thank you for reading and I hope that this information has been helpful.
Love and blessings Dana x