How to Shop Smart and Avoid FAKE Crystals
There has been a LOT of talk in the online community about fake Crystals and stones. The fear is much more real than I realized (or I would have written this blog post much sooner!).
The first thing to do is relax. Take a deep breath and smile. You’ve come to the right place and I promise you, it is way easier than you think to avoid fake Crystals.
As a side note, I want to mention that I use the terms 'Crystals' and 'stones' interchangeably in this article as many Crystal Healers do.
Crystals operate on higher vibrational frequencies up toward love and light (if you want to regularly learn more about them AND receive a FREE introductory guide to how and why Crystals work, consider signing up for my newsletter by clicking here).
So with that in mind, let’s let go of fear. We can shop smart and make informed purchases without bringing fear into it at all, even when we goof up.
If you have ever purchased a fake Crystal only to find out later, that is OKAY- it says NOTHING about you or how awesome you are (hint: you’re pretty awesome). Take it as a learning experience and move forward by avoiding that seller. Keep it if you want, no big deal! If the fake one no longer brings you joy, gift it to someone else (you can be honest that it no longer resonates with you but there may be someone who would adore it as an artistic expression of a Crystal).
So let’s discuss the term at hand here: FAKE.
Take a moment (and a breath!).
I’ll say it again- FAKE.
Notice the feelings it brings up in you. Fear? Doubt? Unworthiness? Poser? You are not the Crystal. You do not need to identify with it. You are an eternal spiritual being having a temporary human experience and you enjoy working with Crystals to raise your vibrational frequency. Wonderful! Me too! We work with many other tools to do this as well. We are not the tools. We are the conscious awareness working toward remembering ourselves by working with a variety of tools and experiences. When we disconnect from identifying with things that otherwise bring us fear (thereby lowing our vibrational frequency), we can look through a more objective lens and make more informed decisions. After all, fear puts the brain and body in ‘fight or flight’ mode and research shows us that we do not learn as easily or retain the information as well as when we are not in that mode. So let’s all exit the ‘fight or flight’ mode subconsciously brought on by the fear associated with the term, ‘fake’, and move into the realm of love and learning. Smiling is AMAZING, give it a try- hooray for learning! (I know, I’m a super nerd)
That all being said, let’s learn more about what the term ‘fake crystal’ actually means...
I did a poll recently on Instagram asking my 44k+ followers what the term, ‘fake crystal’, means to them. Here’s what most people said:
Imposters (something cheaper being marketed as something more expensive)
Whoa. That’s a long list! But I completely understand and these ARE accurate concerns to learn more about. Fortunately, most are actually easier to dispel that you might think.
How to avoid fake Crystals
Buy from a reputable seller. This would be someone who is not a new seller. Someone who has plenty of positive reviews, followers, and experience. Someone who will easily answer your Crystal questions/concerns or help you find the answer.
Opt for raw/rough stones. You can literally see the growth structures in rough/raw Crystals and stones which are a huge determining factor in identification. Tumbled and polished are a whole different scenario. The Moh’s hardness scale (discussed later in this post) does not work as well on tumbled/polished crystals and stones and it is nearly impossible to determine whether a tumbled/polished stone is dyed.
Let’s talk about man made genuine Crystals...
'Crystal’ actually refers to the extremely organized atomic growth structures- many things are genuine crystals such as snowflakes and salt (but these are very fragile and wouldn't make good impersonations in my opinion).
What about homemade Crystals and stones?
The only actual Crystals the average person (since most Crystal sellers are actual people, not huge corporations) can MAKE or GROW in their home are potassium alum or borax Crystals (to my knowledge). Have you ever made them? Search for the diy on youtube and try it yourself. It’s a fun little project BUT the end result is a very specific Crystal formation that is often EXTREMELY fragile. I honestly doubt it could even survive shipping, let alone be a reasonable impersonation (it would definitely not have the same chemical composition as the real thing). That being said, this would be a dishonest practice to sell homemade crystals as, for example, Quartz. Become familiar with potassium alum and borax Crystals and their unique crystalline formation by doing the diy yourself and comparing the end result to other Crystals in your collection.
Growing or making Crystals at home beyond the methods I mentioned above is just not something that is happening. No one is growing Quartz Crystals in their home (to my knowledge! What a feat that would be!)
Constant fakes to avoid:
There are some Crystals and stones that are ALWAYS glass because that’s just what they are and they do not form naturally ever- goldstone, cats eye, and opalite (different than Opal) ARE NOT Crystals or stones and are most commonly made of glass (or occasionally plastic).
Glass and plastic being sold as Crystals:
This leads me to the Moh’s Hardness Scale. Everything has a hardness that rates on this scale from 1 (talc) to 10 (diamonds). Glass is a 5.5, your fingernail is a 2/2.5,plastic is 3-4, borax crystals are 2.5, Quartz is a 7. The concept behind the hardness scale is that any object higher on the scale can scratch any surface that is lower. For example, Quartz can scratch both plastic and glass but neither can scratch the Quartz.
This doesn’t work as well with tumbled or polished stones because you would need to potentially scratch some of the finish off and damage the stone. Another reason to stick with raw/rough Crystals and stones.
Another consideration that applies to glass and plastic is the price (cheaper is not better), location of the seller (for some reason, much of the polished stones from China are glass), and whether the crystal is even realistic to have been made from these mediums. Creating a raw/rough Crystal from glass is unrealistic (consider how glass is formed) and could be spotted pretty easily as such. Crystals are like rocks- they have imperfections, sharp edges, and a variety of textures. Glass is more uniform (hence the use of glass when impersonating a polished Fluorite tower, for example).
Plastic in the form of resin can be poured into a mold, dyed, and shaped with a Dremel tool to look just like a genuine stone- even a raw/rough one. Fortunately plastic is pretty light weight and that would definitely expose it in addition to easily checking it on the hardness scale. Plus, creating resin Crystals is not a simple process. Time consuming for SURE and although many people do not value their time as they should, I still think that selling resin Crystals as impersonations of the real thing would not be a sound business model that could last long. Stick with a reputable seller to avoid this. Also paying attention to item descriptions is a big deal in avoiding this. Most people who make Crystals out of resin are doing so as an artistic expression of a Crystal, not actually trying to trick you. They add glitter or dried flowers, or super vibrant, unnatural dyes. Be sure to communicate your questions with potential sellers. Any seller that is legit will be happy to respond to your questions. I’ve been selling Crystals and stones for six years, I have over 13,000 sales and 70,000 followers across social media but I STILL happily answer questions.
Dyed, chemically altered, or heated
These concepts do not potentially apply to ALL Crystals and stones since not all minerals can even hold onto the dye or are altered by heat/chemicals. Quartz is going to be the main concern here because it is the most commonly dyed stone. Quartz is actually an umbrella term that covers so many Crystals and stones with the same chemical composition. Some examples of Quartz are Amethyst, Citrine, Aventurine, Rose Quartz, Smokey Quartz, Lithium Quartz, Amphibole Quartz, Agates, Chalcedony, Carnelian, and more.
Agates are very very often dyed. If it was cheap and has bands (sort of like stripes but not in straight lines per se), it’s probably an agate. If it is not some variation of red, brown, yellow, or white (you know, natural Earthy colors), it is probably dyed. For some reason, dying a stone makes its value decrease.
The other most commonly dyed Crystal is Amethyst. These would be clusters that are a sort of sickly vibrant color (cough syrup colors!). Once you see a dyed one, you will get what I mean. Again, the price is lower than natural. If you see a huge strangely vibrant Amethyst Crystal for like $10-20, it’s most likely dyed. Natural Amethyst clusters cost approximately $6-10 for a 1-2 inch piece and go up in price quickly from there. If you want a display Amethyst (natural), expect to pay $40-300 for something in the range of 5-10 inches. The large cathedral Amethysts? Several thousand dollars!
While we are discussing Amethyst, let’s touch on Citrine (both are varieties of Quartz). Everyone loves to hate on poor Citrine. Natural Citrine is heated in the Earth over long periods of time and has a uniform smokey yellow/green color. It is fairly rare (even more rare in cluster formations) and has a high price point that reflects this. Commercially marketed Citrine is mostly Amethyst that is heated with high temperatures in a lab which changes the Crystals from purple to yellow/orange. They are cheaper and extremely common. Easily identified by their white base. Natural Citrine is a uniform color, like I said, with a more smokey/greenish/yellow tint. Heated Amethyst has the white base with more vibrant yellow/orange/red Crystals. Both are Quartz and both are associated with the lower Chakras for healing. The difference here comes down to preference. The only altered stone I sell in my shop is heated Amethyst Citrine as I find the disposition to be pleasant and sunny. I enjoy working with them professionally and personally. I’m also honest about it and disclose this throughout my site.
I hear a lot of people taking issue with Citrine but not many realize that there are so many Crystals and stones that are heated. This includes Aquamarine, Tanzanite, Rubies, Sapphires, Topaz, Zircon, Tourmaline, Amazonite, and more. Heating them at high temperatures enhances color and improves clarity. Many gemstones in jewelry were heated and would otherwise be insanely expensive. You can ask your seller about this but because it is such a common practice, I doubt they would even know. In my opinion, it doesn’t actually matter. What matters is whether you resonate with it. If you don’t, just move on and avoid the ones I listed. If you are so scared of purchasing Crystals and stones online due to the potential of heating, I would recommend digging up your own. There are actually quite a few places where the public is able to pay a small fee and rockhound Crystals and stones right out of the Earth. Some people even strike it rich from this!
Some Crystals and stones are created in a lab. Often referred to as ‘synthetic’ or ‘lab grown’. Malachite is commonly synthetic for example (compare prices and ask questions). And nearly all Rubies.
Turquoise is EXTREMELY commonly NOT Turquoise. Almost all of the Turquoise on the market today is dyed Howlite, ceramic, or plastic. Price point is a big teller here. Natural Turquoise is expensive and not a uniform color throughout. Natural is a 5-6 on the Moh’s hardness scale whereas Howlite is a 3-4. Compare prices, look at the coloring, and ask questions.
Other forms of chemically altered Crystals is not something I am aware of. To my knowledge there is not a chemical that can be poured onto any Crystals that would alter them in such a way as to increase their value.
The last altered stone I want to touch on is Aura Quartz
This one gets tricky because the more popular something is (rainbows and shimmers- no wonder!), more the likely it is that tricksters come out of the woodwork to get their cut of potential sales. This is the unfortunate reality. Although Aura Quartz Crystals are not natural, they are (in their ‘genuine’ form) actual Quartz Crystals. The process is actually very neat (but not something just anyone can do at home). Aura Quartz Crystals are genuine Quartz Crystals that have been placed in a vacuum chamber and layered with precious metal gasses (gold, platinum, silver, titanium, etc). The different metals/combinations produce a variety of colors, rainbow effects, and shimmery beauty fit for a unicorn. They are not fake but they can be coated in something other than precious metals. Good Aura Quartz Crystals are expensive. Fakes would be where a Quartz Crystal is painted with iridescent paint or coated in an iridescent plastic sheet. The fake ones are pretty obvious since the rainbow effect will come off super easy. Buy these with a big budget from a reputable seller.
-Get informed. Growth structures to be aware of based on the unique stone you are looking for, colors to avoid, commonly synthetic/altered, etc. Knowledge really is power.
-Become familiar with the Moh’s hardness scale. Do not do a scratch test without asking first unless you have already purchased it.
-Learn your personal preferences. Follow your unique bliss and try not to be consumed by the fear that invades our society these days. If you like it, keep it. If you don’t, don’t keep it. Your identity does not rest on the validity others place on your collection. For example, I stopped buying Turquoise jewelry because it was too difficult to determine the validity. No big deal! And if I see a piece of Turquoise jewelry (sold by a reputable seller at the expected high price) that resonates with me, you bet I’ll still buy it! (Ahem, pending my wallet’s approval!)
-Buy from a reputable seller. Check out their reviews. How long have they been selling? Do they have a decent amount of followers and history to show that they take their business seriously? Ask questions.
I think I have addressed most of the concerns expressed in response to my Instagram story but if I missed anything, shoot me an email and I will add it to this blog post.