Stone Fakes and Imposters

In the business world, people often take advantage of the public and sell things under false names. Often places use marketing tactics to make things sound better than what they really are. To me, this straight up isn’t right. This is called lying and I just can’t let it fly.

Here is a list of the most often stone imposters and liers.

 

Opalite

 

Opalite copper pendant.

This is a clear looking ‘stone’ with nice rainbow colors. Often sold as moonstone and opal but it is 100% not a stone. Opalite is a man-made glass. There is nothing wrong with opalite until people try to sell it to you as a gemstone. It is pretty glass, pure and simple.

 

Red goldstone copper pendant.

Goldstone

Often red, blue, and gold with a very nice sparkle. It has “stone” in the name, but is not a stone at all. This my friend, is also glass.There is nothing wrong with this material, it is pretty and inexpensive. It is just not a stone, mineral, or gem.

 

Turquoise

Genuine turquoise is actually a pretty expensive and hard to find. It is heavy with copper and can be anywhere between green, blue, and even be purple! I referring to the fake stuff you can buy at the swap meet, or the mall, or on eBay. It is obviously not the real deal. A bright teal green with little gray or black lines in it. This is dyed howlite. Howlite is a stone that is often bleached and dyed different colors. Sometimes this called “turquoise” that is sold for a good 2$ can just be plastic. Please be careful out there when shopping for the real deal. If the price it ‘too good to be true’ the stone probably is too.

A bracelet made out of imposter turquoise.
Real turquoise in the raw and polished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malachite

Genuine malachite is a beautiful green copper mineral with lovely green waves and stripes. The problem that there is plastic stuff sold as malachite. The people I see selling this, honestly don’t know what they are doing, or just don’t care. You can tell it is fake by its off-green color and evenly placed stripes.

 

Synthetics

Synthetic stones and gems are lab made. They are either created by mashing a bunch of different minerals together or grown. They are grown under the perfect conditions to create a flawless replica of the real thing. They are chemically the same, just not made in the earth. They are cheaper because they don’t have to be found. It is a lot harder to find a perfect ruby than to create one. These aren’t necessarily impostors, but sometimes these are sold as natural gems and that just isn’t right. Make sure the people you are buying from are honest people and ask them to write everything down officially.

 

Those colorful agate slices you see in stores and even craft stores are dyed, just look at the poor thing!

Enhanced Stones

Some stones are often hearted, dyed, or otherwise enhanced to show desirable traits like color, transparency, and visual appeal. For example, most citrine is heat treated from a smokey or brown color to become the well-known bright yellow. While golden tiger’s eye and blue tiger’s eye are natural, red tiger’s eye has been heated to get that color. I have even found stones to be painted and sold for real “strawberry quartz” or whatever.
Pro tip: don’t trust fruity quartzes.
Always look at a stone closely and if you still aren’t sure, look it up! How hard is it to take your phone out and Google “Is Lemon-Banana Saphire a real thing?

 

These are just a few of the common stones imposters I find surfing around stores and the internet. If you are looking to purchase higher end gems, like rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, I cannot stress the importance of research enough. There are crappy people out there, trying to rip you off. Be careful, and think clearly. It is far too easy to get wrapped up in “but it’s such a good deal!” or “this is the last one they have!” I can guarantee you that it’s not a good deal and that they defiantly have dozens more of that “gem” in storage.

If you want to learn more about stones, gems, how to purchase stones/gems, and the beautiful world of earth science I recommend you hit the library. There are tons of wonderful books out there, waiting for you to learn from them. I also recommend joining a local gem and mineral society. The knowledge these gemologist, geologist, and hobbyist have are bewildering and I haven’t meet a fellow rockhound that doesn’t want to share their knowledge.