With new resin craft and better production, it’s getting harder and harder to tell if the gemstones you have just bought are the real deal.
In fact, walk into many souvenir shops and you are likely to find a bin of brightly colored stones too shiny to resist. But are they really authentic gemstones?
Here are some things to remember about stone authenticity
Brightness of Color vs. price: Color is one of those things you pay extra for when it comes to a good grade of the stone. If the stone you are looking at is hot pink, some neon color, or just very brightly colored AND really cheap, it’s time to look deeper.
Authentic stones can have their color altered, as well. A heating process can change the color of the chemicals in certain stones, like amethyst. So if you a unique colored amethyst, it’s probably been heat treated. Amethyst, when heat treated, can change color so dramatically that it can be passed off as citrine.
Now hot pink stones are still stones. If it’s banded parts of it are see-through, it’s agate. If it’s marbled and a solid not see-through stone, it’s howlite. Other stones can which are commonly dyed as well, but if you’re talking about the stones in the bin at the souvenir shop, this is pretty much what they have.
But these aren’t the natural color of the stones. These stones have been processed, heated, dyed, and polished. In this case magickal color doesn’t apply to the properties of the stone, the stone will either have the properties of howlite or agate, not hot pink properties.
As long as you can identify the stone, you can work with its properties. But do consider how the stone might be “feeling” after all the processing that’s happened to it and consider whether you can help the stone to have a fulfilling existence after being so altered.
Uniformity of Color vs. price: The image above from Creative Jewelry by Marcia, shows a common fake job. Howlite is often dyed to look like turquoise. Turquoise has become an increasingly rare stone to find without paying a lot for. The better the aqua color, the more expensive the stone is. But dyed stones don’t contain the natural variation of color that authentic stones do.
Howlite or Magnesite contains the natural veined look that turquoise has and if you dye it aqua-colored, it looks like a high-grade and expensive piece of turquoise.
Another common way to “fake” a stone, is to take remnants and dust from the authentic stone and pour it into resin to create a new “stone” from the leftover pieces. These can look fairly uniform in color, as a high-grade stone might. Looking to see if there are any natural looking variations in the stone can you figure out if it’s authentic or not. Look up examples on the web of real vs. fake stones to get a better idea of how good some of these fakes can be.
Lab or factory created: If your stone is magnetic or has an auric sheen to it, it’s been either created or processed.
Hematite is not magnetic, but it’s lab-created cousin is.
While quartz and some other gemstones do sometimes have a rainbow type sheen to certain parts of them, this is due to the natural solidification of the chemicals in the stone. When naturally occurring, it usually doesn’t happen over the entire stone, only certain pockets within the stone. If the rainbow sheen is all over the outside of the stone, it’s been processed with heated titanium.