The Difference Between Fake and Genuine Crystals

The Difference Between Fake and Genuine Crystals

Quartz vs Glass






Smelt Quartz” is commonly sold as a variety of quartz, especially from many eBay vendors. “Smelt Quartz” is not quartz at all, it is common glass, which is made from melting quartz in the presence another compound (called a flux) which lowers the melting temperature. Glass is not crystalline, whereas quartz and other minerals (with few exceptions) are crystalline. Most people can’t tell the difference, but glass is optically isotropic (doesn’t polarize light) whereas quartz is anisotropic (polarizes light). Glass also has a lower density, which you might be able to detect by its heft, and “smelt quartz” usually has unnatural looking streaky patches in it or are usually dyed. “Smelt quartz” does not have any of the properties of true quartz, which is one of the main types of crystals used in shamanic healing.

Quartz Crystal and glass are both made up of silicon dioxide.  One major difference between glass and quartz is its subatomic structure. Glass is amorphous, meaning it has a random structure. Quartz on the other has a perfect, repeating molecular structure. It is crystalline and this is what gives it its healing power. It is this internal structure that makes it a crystal. Smelt quartz loses this crystalline structure and with it its ability to amplify and direct energy.

Citrine vs Fake Heated Citrine

Citrine is a naturally yellow variety of quartz crystal and has a hardness of 7. Also called lemon quartz, it is known in the metaphysical realm for its ability to promote prosperity and abundance. Energetically, it helps dissipate negativity and promotes optimism. Citrine aids in manifestation by inspiring confidence and motivation and aligning the user with his/her true will. Citrine is linked with the sun and acts on the solar plexus chakra. Citrine’s yellow colour is created by aluminium and lithium trapped inside the crystal structure that has been exposed to naturally occurring radiation. It is created in almost identical circumstances as smoky quartz with the same elements present. It is only the ratio of lithium to aluminium trapped in the crystal lattice which determines whether the crystal turns smoky or citrine when exposed to gamma rays. This is why there are smoky citrines; that Li: Al ratio often falls somewhere between what would create a citrine and smoky quartz.

Now back onto the topic and discuss heated citrine and real natural citrine.  The “Citrine” top right, Notice how the colour is an orangish yellow.  Also, see the diamond shape? This crystal was broken from a cluster of amethyst crystals on a matrix, like the clusters shown down further in this document.  Heat treatment changed the colour to a bright orangish-yellow. Since amethyst is found in abundance, most “citrine” sold on the market is actually heat-treated amethyst. Unfortunately, with all the heat-treated amethyst flooding the market, it can be challenging to find real citrines.  If you are looking at citrine for its metaphysical properties, be certain it is not heat-treated amethyst because it will not have the same healing properties as real citrine. Heated-amethyst “citrine” properties are almost identical to untreated amethyst. Now the Citrine on the top left is natural citrine and can tell a big difference from heated amethyst and citrine. Citrine is a member of the quartz family with a hardness of 7 which means it’s pretty strong.  Its colour comes from Iron within its trigonal crystal clusters.  It can range from very pale yellow to deep amber, nearly orange.  It was named by the French.  Citrine meant lemon.  Most natural Citrines are a pale yellow colour.  It does have the energy vibration sometimes resembling Smokey Quartz since they are related and sometimes look identical.

Difference between Turquoise and dyed Howlite

Did you know that 90% of the Turquoise on the market is actually dyed Howlite? Howlite is an absorbent white mineral that can be dyed in almost any colour imaginable. So how do you tell the difference? The ideas we will discuss for telling them apart are:

  • Appearance – Real Turquoise has a unique and identifiable look
  • Colour stability – Can the colour be removed?
  • Price – If it looks too good to be true it probably is

The beauty of Howlite is that it can be dyed any colour imaginable. The most common colour you will see it dyed is, of course, Robin’s egg blue. The same blue that the Persian Turquoise is known for. This way the cheaters can sell the imitation Turquoise for a high price and get the most profit. The other benefit of using Howlite is the natural webbing or matrix that occurs in this mineral. It is almost identical to the webbing in natural Turquoise. Since this webbing is basically impossible to manufacture it is easier to use an existing mineral that has the same properties. Below is a side by side picture of white Howlite (this is how it looks naturally), natural Turquoise and dyed Howlite. You can see how similar the webbing and matrix look.

surface dyed howlite Turquoise imitation

The dye used on Howlite only penetrates the surface of the stone. The inside is still white while the outside is a vibrant blue. Some very cheap dyes will actually run with a bit of water added to it. These are the cheapest versions and many people complain about their pieces losing colour during raining days. We suggest buying turquoise from reputable sources, especially those who are experts dealing with turquoise. Before you buy your interesting piece of jewelries, make sure you know which mine the turquoise comes from and who the artists are. Ask them, do it has other related turquoise products, how long have them dealing with turquoise, etc. We hope you all find your ideal piece turquoise!

Dying of Crystals


Dye plays a role in mineral fakes, as many rocks would not sell readily en mass as drab clear, colourless and light brown/grey rocks. With several ways of processing, agates from Brazil can be dyed to green, blue, red, black and purple quite readily. One of the main reasons for colouring a mineral can be a lack of contrast. In the case of the uncommon mineral Okenite, the white puffballs on white quartz matrix did not have much contrast, but the okenite would draw in food colour willingly, making colourful blue and yellow okenites a common sight on eBay. Howlite was a very common material from southern California, commonly dyed blue to mimic turquoise. Now, as howlite has become scarce, magnesite from Africa is being marketed by Chinese lapidaries as howlite. Dyed agates are very common, making these various shades of blue, orange, green brown and pink to grace bookshelves and windchimes the world over as shown above image. Note that most dyed crystals are sold via ebay and etsy



6 Replies to “The Difference Between Fake and Genuine Crystals”

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