How to tell if you have real gemstones and crystals

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

are these authentic gemstones or crystals

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. 

Are these authentic gemstones or crystals

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.

Does it matter if my gemstones are authentic?

As a practicing witch, this is a complicated question.


The first part of this answer is whether you know what you are buying or not. When you feel the need to use a certain stone in your spell or magickal workings, well, then yes, it matters. You shouldn’t be a victim of a scam.


Should you be using stones that were possibly part of slavery, trauma, or processing? That’s up to you. The bulk of my stone family are authentic stones, chosen because I resonated with them and when asked, they wanted to come home with me. Some were chosen because they left hurt or unloved when I found them in a shop and I knew I could give them a good home and sense of companionship.


I haven’t met a stone that can’t be worked with, not matter it’s history, with some time and attention. But not all stones are meant to yours either. There are stones I that I knew I could give a good home to while I was seeking a way to make sure it got to its person, because of the energy it contained.


As witches, no we shouldn’t be supporting unfair wages and working conditions or scams. But this is something you need to dig a little deeper into your heart and intuition on when buying gemstones and crystals. Will you forgoing your purchase feed the miners tomorrow? Does the system need more reform than abstention could do? Be as conscious and aware as you can about the source, and then ask the stone.


No, you don’t actually have to buy specific stones for each and every kind of spell or work you plan on doing. Our witch ancestors made do with what they had. But they also didn’t have the ability to easily obtain stones from all over the world. I don’t think consumerism in and of itself is bad. It’s one force, one influence. It can be done with intention and care.


If you would like more information on how to spot authentic gemstones and crystals you can check out these sources:


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