In a world of online crystal shopping and gemstones being more popularized, it adds incentives for shady dealers and shops to sell faux crystals. So, how do you tell if they’re real? There are a few tests you can do, and a few you should avoid at risk of damaging your precious stones.
Tests to Avoid
First off, let’s see what we should avoid.
Testing with fire or heat
Its true that plastic crystals will melt with fire, which poses its own safety risk for melting unknown and potentially hazardous chemicals and releasing them into the air. Not to mention fire…melted plastic…seems like it could get sticky and hurt us.
Not only that, but some crystals (like amethyst) will simply transform color when heated. So you might just be damaging you’re perfectly good crystal.
I guess this one depends on you. If you’ve got a small piece of test glass, you can test many crystals against the glass. This only works if you’re trying to test something that has a Mohs Hardness of 5.5 or above. This can also be damaging to extremely fragile crystals, even if they have a hardness of above 5.5.
Tests that are Safe
I’ve got two tests today that don’t require anything but glass (which can come in the form of a plate, cup, dish, etc.), and yourself.
Most stones are very cold. So you can tell if a stone is genuine or is a glass mimic, or plastic, by doing this test. Just make sure that everything has been at room temperature (not wrapped in a blanket, near hot food or a space heater).
First grab something you know for a fact is glass, like a drinking cup. Press this to some part of your skin like your wrist – wrists are more sensitive to temperature changes than our fingers and hands.
Take the crystal your testing, and press it to your other wrist, or the same. If it’s roughly the same temperature, it’s probably glass. If it’s colder, it’s most likely genuine crystal. I know these temperature changes are sometimes really subtle. But usually, as long as you don’t feel something warmer, you’re in the clear and can move onto the next test.
If you look really closely, you’ll be able to see these. With more opaque crystals, you should be able to see changes in coloration that are not consistent, and possibly different textures.
With glass, it will be pretty much see-through with no inclusions. Unless you paid big bucks for this from a reputable dealer, it’s probably glass. You may also see bubbles (again, if this crystal is not known for having them).
An additional fun test for pearls.
This test works best when you also have a faux pearl to compare to.
Real genuine pearls will have a rough texture that is best felt on your teeth! Gently take the pearl in question and bring it to a front tooth and gently move it around. Then, compare to the faux pearl. You will feel the faux one is entirely smooth, where a real one is almost gritty.