This post contains affiliate links. Which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. Read the full disclosure here.
Crystals have been used for centuries as conduits for energy and to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.
There are many different types of crystals, and each has specific meanings, properties, and uses. For example, some crystal healers use quartz for stress relief or amethyst improving sleep.
Many people think they can use these crystals to heal themselves or others, but unfortunately, this is not always the case.
Why? Because fake healing crystals are becoming more common than ever before due to the surge in popularity of spiritual and metaphysical practices like manifesting and witchcraft.
These fake crystals are made from materials that are not actually crystal, and some may even have dangerous toxins inside of them.
So how can you know that what crystal you’re using is helping rather than hindering your goals?
Spotting the difference between fake crystals and natural ones can seem complicated, but with these tips, you’ll be on the road to knowing how to tell if a crystal is real at home in no time!
- Is my crystal real or fake?
- Top tips for how to tell if A crystal is real Or Fake
- Decide for yourself – Man-made vs. natural
- 1) Invest in a high-quality crystal reference book
- 2) Crystals that are a little too perfect
- 3) Research your seller
- 4) Understand your crystal's value
- 5) Strong saturated colors
- 6) Crystal names that seem strange or are misleading
- 7) Try comparing it to glass
- 8) Moh's hardness scale
- How to test if a crystal is real
- Common misconceptions about real vs. fake healing crystals
- The most common healing crystals that are fake
- Conclusion: How to spot fake crystals + test if they a real
Is my crystal real or fake?
Before you start using any crystal to aid your goals, it’s crucial that you can be confident your crystal is real. Otherwise, those meanings, properties, and uses you’ve been researching will be rather redundant as they won’t match your gemstone, resulting in misaligning things.
As the popularity of crystals continues to grow, so does the demand for genuine crystals. But what’s the difference between a real crystal and a fake one? Here are our top tips to help you tell the difference:
Top tips for how to tell if A crystal is real Or Fake
Please keep in mind that you should never take one of these tips in isolation when figuring out how to tell if a crystal is real. Always review your crystal in as many different ways as possible before making your final decision on what you’re comfortable with.
It’s also essential to recognize that there are always exceptions to the rules because Mother Nature loves to throw curveballs at us!
Decide for yourself – Man-made vs. natural
Before we get started, there’s one thing you need to decide for yourself about your own distinction between fake vs. real crystals. Often you’ll see terms thrown around like:
Many treat these words like they are all equally interchangeable, but it isn’t always this simple.
Just because a crystal was made in a lab doesn’t instantly mean you should label it as fake. Common examples being that:
- Most citrine crystals you’ll come across won’t be natural citrine but instead heat-treated amethyst
- Or crystals like Blue Goldstone that are exclusively man-made as they don’t exist out in nature.
My point is that what you consider a real crystal vs. a fake isn’t always as black and white as it seems.
Only you can decide whether you’re comfortable with incorporating man-made or other manipulated crystals into your practices.
1) Invest in a high-quality crystal reference book
If you’re serious about learning how to know if a crystal is real, then you need high-quality reference images to compare things visually. There’s absolutely no point in trying to spot a fake crystal if you don’t know what genuine crystals look like.
While you can find plenty of crystal images on the internet, it’s hard to determine how accurate these really are. This is why getting a published reference that’s likely had a more rigorous review is a safer option.
Here are a few good options you can easily find on Amazon:
- Gemstones of the World by Walter Schumann (1,900 stones covered)
- Encyclopedia of Crystals by Judy Hall (500 stones covered)
- The Book of Stones by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian (455 stones covered)
Once you have a good source of reference images, spotting fake crystals will be much easier and make the following tips included much easier to understand.
2) Crystals that are a little too perfect
Beware of crystals that seem a little too perfect. By this, I mean you need to keep in mind that real crystals are created through natural and varying changes in the environment. So it’s unlikely (though not impossible) real crystals will have things like perfectly symmetrical patterns or be entirely one color with no variation.
The same is also true if a seller has multiple crystals of the same type. If they are identical, then it’s highly likely they are fake since every gemstone or crystal should be unique.
Likewise, just because a crystal has imperfections such as cracks and scratches doesn’t mean it’s fake either. While crystals are known for being robust, they can crack and become scratched if they come in contact with something harder than them or are exposed to things like water or sunlight for a prolonged time.
How to know if a crystal is real? Watch for:
- Perfect symmetry
- Solid colors with no variations
- Identical replicas
3) Research your seller
People often purchase crystals for healing and spiritual purposes, so it’s essential to make sure you’re getting them from reputable sources to ensure you’re getting the best quality crystals for your money.
Some crystal sellers may not be as reputable as others, while others may simply be misinformed, so it’s important to do your research before buying. Check out online reviews or ask around to see if anyone you know has any good experiences with a particular crystal seller.
Don’t be afraid to ask a seller questions and if their responses don’t make you feel confident in your purchase, then always trust your gut.
Ideas to find quality crystals and gemstones:
4) Understand your crystal’s value
I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for, so when it comes to telling if your crystal is real, the price can be a huge indicator.
You see, the market value of crystals is based on their rarity, beauty, and popularity, as you’ll find them used in a variety of applications, from jewelry to technology.
Crystals have been around for centuries. Their market value has only increased over time as the market for crystals has grown rapidly, as more people have become interested in their metaphysical and healing properties.
To get an idea of the value of your crystal, you can try doing searches in Google like “amethyst value” and look at several different results to get a ballpark figure. Often you’ll find Google’s pretty good at cherry-picking the price ranges for you, but you may need to dig a little deeper for your individual price range.
You can also simply search for different sellers of amethyst to get an idea of the range of prices. Any prices that seem to be excessively lower are potentially a flag for being fake.
Alternatively, if you want something more exact and robust, your best bet is to look for a market tracker. But be aware such tools usually cost money and aren’t really worth it unless you’re seriously into trading gemstones and crystals.
How to tell if a crystal is real or fake? Watch for:
- Overly cheap crystal deals compared to other sources
5) Strong saturated colors
As mentioned previously, crystals that seem too perfect can be a red flag for spotting a fake crystal. The same is also true when it comes to colors. Ideally, you’ll want a crystal identification guide (like this one or this one) with high-quality photos to know the colors considered normal, as some crystals break this rule, like Amazonite or Red Jasper.
How to know if a crystal is real? Watch for these red flags:
- Overly bright
- Saturated colors
- Perfectly uniform in color
- Abrupt changes in colors or banding without any blending
6) Crystal names that seem strange or are misleading
You can identify some crystals as fake by their weird or even exotic names. If you come across a strange crystal name, it could be completely made up and the crystal itself entirely fake. Or it could be the name is misleading and that it sounds like some rarer type of gemstone when actually it’s more common than it seems.
Some examples are:
- Mexican jade – This is actually green marble that’s been artificially dyed.
- Simili diamond & strass diamond – both of these are simply glass made to look like diamond variations.
However, spotting these more weird names might be tricky unless you’re familiar with what’s normal.
Again this is where having a comprehensive reference of crystal images and names becomes invaluable for helping you learn how to tell if crystals are fake. In fact, this specific reference of over 1,900 gemstones even covers details on imitations, synthetic and combined stones.
How to tell if a crystal is real? Watch for:
- Crystal names you can’t find in reliable references or seem “new”.
7) Try comparing it to glass
If it looks like glass, feels like glass, and weighs similar to glass, you might have a fake. It’s much easier to compare if you have a similar-sized glass stone for comparison, especially if you’re new at trying to test if your crystals are real.
Crystals should feel heavier than glass and generally have imperfections and color variation and may even appear cloudy, whereas glass counterparts tend to be more crystal clear. You’ll often find glass fakes used for crystals like clear quartz and diamonds.
On the other hand, natural crystal imperfections shouldn’t be in the form of air bubbles. Natural crystals usually do not have air bubbles, so if you spot any inside your crystal, this should raise a red flag that your crystal might be a fake. If you’re unsure if what you’re looking at is air bubbles or not, try using a magnifying glass or the macro setting on your phone’s camera to get a better look.
How to tell if a crystal is real? Watch for:
- Crystals that don’t feel heavier than glass
- Crystals that are too clear and easy to see through
- Air bubbles
8) Moh’s hardness scale
Mohs hardness scale is a system used to measure the resistance of a crystal to scratch or break. The scale ranges from 1 (the softest) to 10 (the hardest). A mineral with a Mohs hardness of 1 can be scratched with a fingernail. While a mineral with a Mohs hardness of 10 can only be scratched with a diamond tool.
This scale is one of the most popular methods used to identify if a crystal is real or not but beware, it can result in damaging your crystal! So it’s best to explore all other options first before moving on to this or other more damaging tests that I’ll talk about later.
Look for the scratch test below for the details on how to test whether your crystals are real using this method.
How to test if a crystal is real
When figuring out how to test if a crystal is real or fake, it can be tempting to jump in with the first test you come across. Please keep in mind that tests involving scratching, hammers, and other things may damage your crystal or, worse, completely destroy it. Because of this, exercise caution when testing your crystals and explore all non-damaging options first!
One of the first tests you should always do is a visual test. Get yourself a good crystal reference book and compare your crystal visually to the photographs you have. (Or if you prefer something more healing crystal-focused, this is a good option.)
Play a game of spot the difference and note any differences between your crystal and the photo references.
Once you have a list, can any of these differences be explained by other things? Like is it possible:
- Your stone is a normal variation of color or pattern
- Your stone is a different cut
- Your stone is raw or tumbled or polished
In the end, this list will give you an idea if there are any warning signs that your crystal might be a fake. But as always, you analyze your crystal using several different methods to see if there is more than one reason to believe a crystal is not real.
Also because every crystal is unique you should always do dedicated research on it as sometimes you may find the particular crystal you’re checking breaks some of these rules.
If you are trying to test if a crystal is fake, it might be worth checking if it has any magnetic properties. Some crystals like Magnetite and Bismuth are noticeably magnetic, while others require heating to become magnetic. (Keep in mind heating may change other properties of the crystal, like color.)
Depending on which category your crystal falls into, testing with a magnet could be a quick and non-damaging way to test if a crystal is fake. If it requires heating to test, you may want to skip this test in favor of others, as heated crystals can be not only be damaging but also dangerous.
Crystals tend to weigh more than their fake counterparts and glass of a similar size. Thus you can weigh your crystal with something like a digital kitchen scale and compare it to a similar sized piece of glass or crystal you’ve confirmed not to be a fake.
If your suspected fake healing crystal weighs less, then you’ve likely got a fake crystal on your hands.
Specific Gravity / Water displacement test
A gravity test requires accurately weighing and measuring water displacement, so how easy it is to test your crystals at home will highly depend on the tools you have. A digital kitchen scale should be fine, but you may find any measuring jugs you have lacking.
This method also won’t guarantee whether your crystal is real or fake, as unfortunately, some crystals are closely similar in terms of gravity.
You’ll also need to actually know what the gravity of your crystal is supposed to be, which requires researching or checking a crystal reference book.
How to test if a crystal is real using a gravity test?
- First, you’ll want to weigh your jug or alternative water container and your crystal individually.
- Fill your jug with enough water to cover your crystal but also enough to easily measure like a rounded-up amount.
- Make a note of the weight of the jug and water.
- Next, add your crystal to the water and make a note of where the water line has moved to
- Subtract the original water amount from the new water line to get the amount of water displaced.
- Remove the crystal and all water from the jug except for the displaced amount.
- Weigh the displaced amount of water and subtract the weight of the empty jug you noted down at the beginning.
- Take the crystal’s weight and divide it by the weight of the displaced water. If done accurately, the number you get should be around the Specific Gravity number. If it’s not, you may have spotted a fake crystal.
The next few tests can damage your crystals, so use with caution!
Some fake crystals can be other crystals dyed to look like something else; if dye is suspected with your crystal, then you can do a color test to see if any of the dye comes off.
To do this, use a cloth or something stronger like a cotton wool bud and nail polish remover. You can rub this into a less visible crystal area to see if any colors come off.
If dye does come off and the cotton bud color changes, you have a dyed and most likely fake crystal. Many believe that dye can mute or reduce your crystal’s energy, so you’ll want to avoid them or take the time to remove it yourself.
You’ll often see this trick with white howlite being dyed blue to fake turquoise.
As explained earlier, using the MOHS hardness scale can help you identify fake crystals. You do this by what’s called a scratch test which will physically test the hardness of your crystal.
How to know if a crystal is real using this test?
First, you need to decide what mineral you think you have. This can be done by looking up its properties using a reference book such as the one I’ve linked to at the beginning of this article or this more healing crystal-focused one. Or you can go with what you’ve been told the crystal is.
Once you’ve identified your mineral, then you need to find out how hard it is. Likely you’ll find this in your reference book if you have one, or you can try searching for the value online. Just be sure to check a few different sources to ensure the numbers match up.
Next, find a stone with a lower number on the scale. You need to be confident this stone is real and not a fake. Otherwise, your results will be messed up. Or you can find another item with a lower MOHS hardness, like a steel knife (6.5).
Try to scratch the suspected fake crystal with the item lower on the scale. Do this in a place that won’t be super visible, especially if you’re worried about ruining the appearance of your crystal.
If the suspected fake crystal becomes scratched, then it’s likely you have a fake as an item lower on the MOHS scale shouldn’t be able to damage a higher one.
It’s well worth inspecting the scratch and any debris as this can provide clues as to what kind of stone you have. You may find a different color underneath, for example.
On the other hand, if the stone doesn’t get scratched, it may be that your crystal is real or the fake is made from a harder material. This is unlikely, though, as many fakes resort to cheaper materials like glass, plastic or softer crystals.
Fire / Heat Test
I do not recommend doing this test unless it is a last resort, as heating crystals almost always changes their properties, whether it’s color, magnetism, shape, or simply burning the crystal.
Hot crystals can also be very dangerous so take precautions to protect your skin, face, and eyes, especially if you suspect a fake crystal since you cannot know what material you are dealing with.
One of the easiest ways to use heat to test your crystal to see if it’s a fake is to use a hot needle, be careful to hold the needle securely with something heat-proof!
Try to pierce the gemstone with the hot needle. If the crystal melts, you are most likely dealing with a fake crystal made of glass or plastic.
Common misconceptions about real vs. fake healing crystals
Tumbled vs. raw
It’s often misunderstood that tumbled crystals and gemstones are fake. However, this isn’t true. Tumbling has minimal impact on the properties or energy of crystals as it’s simply a process of cutting crystals into small pieces and then smoothing them.
While you may prefer raw crystals vs. tumbled, know that either option is perfectly valid. And that tumbled crystals are a very accessible and affordable way to begin collecting healing crystals for your collection.
In fact, I think these little gems are all you really need as while they are small, they are still packed with energy.
Marks and cracks
Another common misconception I see is that crystals with marks and cracks must be fakes. When in fact, the reverse is true – crystals are created in nature, so each piece should be unique with its own individual flaws, including marks and cracks.
It’s the perfect crystals you need to watch out for because while such crystals do exist with little to no imperfections, you should expect perfection to be reflected in the price.
The most common healing crystals that are fake
Quartz – Clear, Rose, Smokey
Crystal quartz is commonly faked because of how closely it can resemble glass. Some quartz, like Rose quartz, can also be quite rare, so imitations are created to keep costs down. When trying to figure out how to spot fake crystals like quartz, look for:
- Uniform coloring
- Air bubbles
- Light weights
- Lack of lines or cracks
- Too clear when looking through
Maybe it’s just me, but I find Citrine to be a huge contradiction. You’ll most likely find citrine in 2 forms:
- It’s natural muted and milky yellow form, usually found in a point-shape
- Or the more vibrant lemon to honey yellow form with a distinct white base and usually in geode form if it’s not been polished or cut.
Ironically, the latter bright yellow version of citrine isn’t citrine at all. It’s amethyst that’s been heated, sometimes referred to as heat-treated citrine.
Confusing right? If you want citrine rather than heated up amethyst, look for natural citrine rather than anything labeled as heat-treated to be safe.
It should be easy to recognize natural citrine as it’s a creamy-milk yellow that’s see-through like you’d expect clear quartz.
Things to distinguish natural citrine:
- Clear rather than a white base
- Pointed rather than geode form
- Milky-yellow rather than lemon-yellow
- Labeled as natural rather than heat-treated
When looking for healing crystals to add to your collection, amethyst is quite a popular addition for its spiritual, calming, and third-eye chakra properties.
This makes it important to ensure you’re using the real deal; otherwise, your efforts might turn up flat. So what can you look for to avoid wasting money on fake amethyst crystals?
How to tell if a crystal is real or fake? For amethyst look for:
- Air bubbles
- Other debris inside
- Uniform color
- Not clear
Real Turquoise is surprisingly rare, making it incredibly prone to being a fake crystal. When it comes to turquoise fakes often, you’ll find its white howlite dyed blue.
The easiest way to detect fake turquoise is to do a visual test, as often, the black webbing pattern will become bluer due to the dying process.
If you think this is the case, start with the color test explained above, and if the blue starts to come off with nail polish remover and a cotton bud, then you know you’ve found a fake.
Things you can look for to spot fake turquoise are:
- Uniform colors
- Black webbing seems bluer or less contrasting
Conclusion: How to spot fake crystals + test if they a real
Remember that just because your crystal meets one of the tips used to identify a real crystal from a fake one doesn’t instantly mean your crystal is a fake.
Often you’ll need to look at several different factors and weigh up if enough of these raise red flags before deciding your crystal is fake.
I recommend only doing more damaging tests once you’re reasonably confident you have a fake because these tests can leave irreversible marks and imperfections.
Overall, there are many methods on how to tell if a crystal is real or fake, but knowing which method is best can be a bit of trial and error.
As a general rule of thumb, start with a visual check to begin with, and then work through the tips that won’t risk damaging your crystal first.
If you end up with many red flags, it’s worth considering you might have a fake. But if you’re still not sure and feel it’s essential to find out because you want to use your crystals for healing rather than just decoration, then you may need to ask an expert.