Ground and Sage

How To Spot A Fake Crystal

I belong to a few different online crystal and mineral focused groups, and a recurrent theme I have noticed is the increase in posts about fake crystals.  Not a day goes by where someone doesn’t post a pic of their crystal and ask if it’s a fake.  It seems this whole crystal imposter syndrome is taking social media by storm! 

Are there human-enhanced crystals on the market?  Absolutely yes.  Is this a new thing?  Definitely no.  Do reputable sellers disclose this information?  Typically, yes.

Gem and crystal enhancement has been going on for hundreds of years.  Heat or irradiation is often used to enrich the color of gemstones, like Tanzanite, Topaz, Ruby or Sapphire.  Some would argue this process occurs naturally by way of a geothermic process, and that humans are simply speeding up a natural process.  

If a crystal has been human enhanced or lab created, should that matter?  It depends on how you define ‘fake’, and what value you attach to its meaning.

From an energetic standpoint, many people feel heat treatment does not affect the healing benefit of a crystal.  While others prefer to work solely with natural, unaltered stones.  It is a personal preference, and there is no right or wrong.  I always say go with what feels right for you.

From the lab created perspective, it’s important to realize that not every crystal or stone should be suspect.  In fact, minerals that are commonly found and mined are less likely to be faked.  For starters, it would cost more money to produce a fake than to use the real stone.  Often, crystals that are faked are the less commonly available finds that can be easily replicated to trick the consumer and fetch a higher price tag.  

Natural, Enhanced or Lab Created?

Above are three crystals I found by doing a quick online search, and all three are listed for sale via crystal shops.  The left image is of three Smoky Quartz clusters, the middle image is a bowl full of Malachite hearts, and the right image is listed as a Green Ghost Quartz Cluster (I know, right?!).

Guess what? All three are fakes.

These are three examples of some of the more common fakes on the market.  To the newbie crystal collector – or untrained eye – these would look like a good score!  Right?  If you were to stumble upon any of these items, you would be super impressed.  I mean who wouldn’t be?  The terminated points of the Quartz clusters are large and in charge!  The deeply saturated color of the smoky quartz is impressive, and quite rare I might add.  The uniqueness of the Green Ghost Quartz cluster is gorgeous – a rare find, indeed – a true unicorn in the mineral kingdom!  The color and pattern of the Malachite is oh, so pretty and captivating.

And guess what?  The quartz clusters were listed as the material being natural quartz crystal rock, and with the shape being synthetically enhanced in the lab.  What does this actually mean?  I think it means the Quartz has the chemical makeup of natural quartz mined from the earth but has been humanly created in the lab.  Confusing.  Right?  In the shop’s favor, they did disclose this information, but in a circumvent fashion.  As for the Malachite hearts, no mention was made about the material – crickets with regard to the hearts being natural or lab created.

The old adage, ‘if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is’ would apply here.  Three things that should raise a red flag for you:  the price is too good for the size – the terminations and symmetry are too perfect – and the color is too homogenous. 

This is a graphic I created to help educate and guide you.  Not all shop owners carry or sell fake crystals, and not all crystals are fake.  This is a good mantra to adopt, and the lens thru which you look when shopping for crystals.  I encourage you to reach out to the rock shop owner with any questions or concerns – the majority of us don’t mind.  We are here to help educate and inform, and not here to just sell crystals.