most commonly faked crystals! (updated for 2024)

most commonly faked crystals! (updated for 2024)

This article is regularly updated to have the most accurate information and to keep up with new fakes hitting the market. Last update: September 2023


When you are first beginning your crystal journey, it can be intimidating trying to tell fakes from genuine pieces when there is such a variety of crystals out there! It is always good to be educated and do your research when you are first getting into buying and selling crystals. The good news is that the majority of crystals on the market from crystal shops and small businesses are genuine, and avoiding the fakes is not as difficult as it may seem. Sometimes it can seem that everything is so easily faked that you can never be sure you're getting the real deal. Sometimes people fear that all crystals that come from China are fake. But it's not true, most crystal varieties are not as easily faked as people believe. Don't let the fear of fakes stop you from diving into the crystal world! And don't feel ashamed or embarrassed if you accidentally have bought or even sold fake or treated crystals. Most crystal collectors have made mistakes early on in their collection. I know I have, and I still have treated and man made crystals today! It's all part of the journey. 

As a crystal shopper, it's inevitable that you'll run into man-made, treated, dyed, and mislabeled crystals eventually. Even an experienced buyer or seller can sometimes be fooled by fakes. With the proper knowledge, you will be able to spot fake and altered crystals much more easily. If you do realize you have some fake pieces in your collection or you feel drawn to some of these crystals regardless, don't worry! There's nothing wrong with enjoying fake or treated pieces, as long as you know that they are artificial and you aren't getting tricked into buying something that you didn't expect. 

So what should you be looking out for when crystal shopping? I categorize fake crystals into four categories: heated & treated, dyed, man-made, and mislabeled. Let's take a look at some of the most common fakes on the market from each category. 

Heated & treated 

Heated and treated crystals are natural pieces that have been altered by humans in some way. Crystals in this category are widely accepted and loved by many in the crystal community because they are still a genuine stone as the base. These alterations can be heating to enhance color, or adding a coating on top to add a little extra pizzazz. 

Possibly the most common occurrence of heated crystals is the heating of amethyst to create artificial citrine. Many people still love heated citrine and argue that it does have the same healing properties as the natural. I do agree that heated citrine does have a place in the crystal world, especially since natural citrine is uncommon and can be very expensive. However it is important to distinguish between heated amethyst and genuine citrine when buying or selling these stones! Heated amethyst is more orange than natural citrine and is often found in clusters or points that have a white base. On rare occasions natural citrine does form clusters, but they look very different from heated amethyst clusters. The biggest way to tell the difference is the color and the price. Heated amethyst is much more affordable than natural citrine. 


Some fake citrine is also clear quartz, sometimes lab grown or reconstituted, that has been heated to turn an unnatural yellow color. This artificial citrine is unfortunately very common on the market and many people don't know to look out for it. This variety of fake citrine looks too yellow, almost yellow-green, when compared to the color of genuine citrine. It is also very glassy looking, and will be much cheaper than natural citrine.

Lemon quartz is another name for this artificially colored quartz. Lemon quartz is a very bright, lemony color and is usually opaque, low quality quartz. 


Irradiated fake citrine vs. lemon quartz 

Another well known and loved treated crystal on the market is aura quartz, or titanium aura quartz. These crystals typically start with a base crystal that is genuine, then they are heated in combination with metals to give it a colorful, metallic shine that bonds to the surface of the stone. While these crystals are altered, they still have healing properties and are well loved by crystal collectors. Aura quartz comes in just about every color and is easily identified by its iridescent shine. In person you may also sometimes see that the coating has rubbed off in areas which is a giveaway that the crystal has been altered. Aura quartz has vibrant, unnatural colors that make them very appealing. Again there is nothing wrong with purchasing these, and they often are a real, genuine crystal at its core. But anything with this unnatural, iridescent color has been treated. The word “aura” in the name of a crystal is the dead giveaway that it has been treated. 



These are often quartz or amethyst clusters, but you may also see fluorite, howlite, carnelian, agates, and other crystals with this aura coating on top. I think these add a fun uniqueness to regular crystals, as long as they are being advertised as treated and not natural! 

Some crystals are heated to change or enhance the natural color. Sometimes this change can be so subtle it goes unnoticed. For example- red tiger's eye is regular golden tiger's eye that has been heated to give it a more red color. Smoky quartz is also often deceptive! If smoky quartz is extremely black and so opaque that you can't see through it, it likely has been heated. You may also notice heated smoky quartz has a white base with a black point. Natural smoky quartz typically has a brown hue and is more transparent, even if the color is extremely dark. 



Crackle quartz, also known as fire & ice quartz, is natural quartz that has been heated and then quickly cooled to give a unique, cracked appearance. Cracks can form naturally in crystals, however it won't be as intensely fractured as these. 

Apatite is another extremely common crystal to be heated. Much of the apatite on the market is a bright blue color, but it is most often naturally found in a more teal color. Apatite can naturally be found in blue, but a lot of low quality material is heated to improve the color which makes it unnaturally bright and patchy looking. I have also occasionally seen fluorite heat treated, which gives it an unnaturally bright color. Carnelian is another stone that is often heated to improve the color, but most people don’t know about it. Carnelian is commonly found in a less appealing reddish brown color, and can be heated to bring out the red and make it more vibrant and desirable. 

Hematoid quartz, also known as fire quartz, is commonly heated to enhance the color of the iron inclusions. These are quite easy to spot, as the natural variety is brown and the heated variety is a bright red. 


Natural vs. heated fire quartz

A new material on the market is black rose quartz. This popped up around the same time blue rose quartz was gaining popularity, so black rose quartz was enticing to buyers. Unfortunately, this is heated rose quartz. There is no natural “black rose quartz” found in nature, and wouldn’t that just be smoky quartz anyway? Blue and lavender rose quartz are genuine and found naturally, though the name blue rose quartz does raise some questions on if this is the proper name for it, as rose quartz is defined by its pink color. 




Man-made crystals are exactly as they sound; they are completely artificial and not found in nature. This can be lab grown, glass, or plastic. 

These clusters below are completely man-made lab grown crystals from China. They can be advertised as chlorite quartz, phantom quartz, ghost quartz, or even amethyst and smoky quartz. Of course there are natural crystal clusters, but the natural version actually barely looks like these imposters! An indication that a piece is fake is the texture. These fakes can appear fuzzy on the surface, which is not a natural formation. You can also tell that the faces of the points are not flat and glassy like real quartz, but are uneven and rough looking. They also all look almost identical with no inclusions or imperfections. Sometimes these clusters can be confused with spirit quartz, a natural stone that these clusters try to imitate. When comparing the two, you can see that the natural piece forms in little crystal points, whereas the fake has a bizarre fuzzy looking texture with no real crystal structure. When looking at clusters, check around to see if all of them look extremely similar in shape and size, or if the crystal structure looks unusual. Fake clusters like this will often all be pretty much identical! The points are all facing in the same direction on every piece, and the base is perfectly round. 



Alunite is a lab grown crystal on the market that is often advertised as real. This crystal is absolutely not naturally occurring. There are many varieties of man-made lab grown crystals that are very unique and interesting, however it is important to label them as such and not claim that they are natural. At first glance they can appear to be a fantastic and beautiful amethyst cluster, but they are artificial. I’ve even seen pink varieties being sold as rose quartz! Similar to the other lab grown clusters, these pieces all look very similar in shape and size. 



Fake malachite is a man-made crystal that I see on the market often. This is completely fake and made of resin plastic with no properties that a genuine stone would have. Synthetic malachite has blocky, solid stripes with no imperfections and little color variation. Synthetic is matte, plastic-y and lightweight. Authentic malachite is expensive and noticeably heavier than plastic. Malachite has complex patterns, swirls, stripes, and a wide range of greens, whereas the fake usually has simple blocky lines with no depth or dimension. Synthetic malachite is commonly sold as beads or jewelry, so when buying malachite beads be sure to double check that you're getting the real deal. When comparing fake malachite to a genuine piece side by side, it is pretty easy to see the difference.  



Similar to malachite, rhodochrosite is another crystal that can be faked by resin. The first photo below shows man-made resin labeled as rhodochrosite. Rhodochrosite is another rare and expensive crystal, so a piece with such a solid, bright pink color as shown by the first image would be very expensive. Artificial rhodochrosite has a matte color and blocky, solid stripes, or even no pattern at all. Genuine rhodochrosite often has inclusions such as pyrite, layers, texture and complex patterns. A solid colored high quality rhodochrosite is called "gel rhodochrosite" and is very expensive and hard to find! The second photo shows a crystal that is commonly labeled as rhodochrosite, but is actually banded calcite or "pork stone". It is not rhodochrosite at all. The third photo shows rhodonite, which is sometimes labeled as rhodochrosite. They can look very similar, but they are not the same mineral. When shopping for rhodochrosite, you should expect to be paying a lot for a high quality piece. If the price looks too good to be true, it probably is!


Synthetic rhodochrosite, pork stone calcite, rhodonite, genuine rhodochrosite 


Cherry quartz is a man-made glass also known as smelted quartz. I have also seen this in blue, white and yellow varieties, but is most commonly red. You can tell that it is man-made glass by the texture of the colored inclusions within. There are no natural structures or impurities, just color with a wispy, fluid texture. There is no natural variety of red quartz that looks like this, so if you see cherry or red quartz it is artificial. 



Opalite is a common and well loved man-made crystal. Opalite is a glass but is believed to still hold spiritual properties. It can sometimes be confused with real opals, but the biggest difference between the two is the price. Opals can be extremely expensive, whereas opalite is very affordable. Opalite also does not have the rainbow color flashes that real opals do. While opalite does have a bit of a glowy appearance, it is the same color and texture throughout with no flashes of color.  Air bubbles or swirling texture can also be seen in opalite since it is glass. 


Synthetic opal is commonly found in jewelry pieces. It is beautiful but it is not found in nature. You can usually find these cut into fun and interesting shapes. Synthetic opal is harder to tell apart from genuine opal than opalite is. Synthetic opal is lab created and looks the same throughout whereas true opal has more depth and variation. Synthetic opal may also be lighter in weight than a natural piece. Synthetic opal may also be composed of multiple layers, so it is important to inspect the opal in person. The backing of a synthetic opal is typically completely smooth, whereas a natural opal often has a matrix included. 


Synthetic opals vs. genuine Ethiopian opals 


Goldstone is another well loved man-made crystal. This stone comes in copper, dark blue, and dark green. It is occasionally labeled as sandstone, gold sandstone, or even sunstone. Goldstone is a glass with copper flecks within and can come in blue and green varieties as well. You can tell this apart from a genuine stone because it looks completely the same throughout with no texture or imperfections. 


This fake blue obsidian is making the rounds again on the crystal market! This is just dyed glass and actually comes in many different colors. Don’t be fooled by any red, yellow, green or blue glass being sold as obsidian. While obsidian is technically a glass, this does not mean all glass is obsidian. Obsidian is volcanic glass that occurs naturally when a melt cools too quickly to form crystals. Natural obsidian can have some color to it, but is most often found as solid black. Sheen obsidian, snowflake obsidian, mahogany obsidian and rainbow obsidian are all authentic, but these vibrant and transparent imposters are not.  


Cat’s eye, also known as fiber optic stone,  is a man-made glass created to mimic the natural chatoyancy that some stones have. A lot of these look just like satin spar selenite except in crazy colors. You can tell that these aren’t dyed satin spar because of the even distribution of color throughout, whereas dyed satin spar appears very patchy. Satin spar also has a very low hardness of 2, and cat’s eye glass will be much harder. 



Due to its rarity and high price, moldavite is often faked. Many of the moldavite fakes are super easy and obvious to spot, but others are more tricky. Fake moldavite is usually very glassy, too brightly green, and/or too perfectly round. Moldavite is also very expensive, so if you’re getting a suspiciously good deal, it might be fake. A large chunk of moldavite can be thousands of dollars! Another red flag to look for is a certificate of authenticity. I’ve bought many pieces of genuine moldavite from reputable sources, and NEVER have gotten a certificate of authenticity. Certificates can be easily fakes, and are usually created by the seller themselves to add legitimacy to their listings. Unless it is a certification from a reputable agency like GIA, they really don’t mean anything. 

The color of genuine moldavite does vary a bit, and it can range from very matte to glassy. Genuine moldavite is irregularly shaped with texture and air bubbles. 


All fake moldavite 



Stones are often dyed to enhance the color of a low quality stone, or to mimic an entirely different crystal. Stones such as agate, calcite, satin spar selenite, amethyst and quartz are often victims of being dyed. Bright, saturated rainbow colors are usually not a natural occurrence for most crystals. When it comes to agate, there are no bright purple, blue, or pink varieties found in nature. Satin spar selenite is also often dyed. Satin spar selenite only naturally occurs in white or peach colors. Rainbow crackle quartz is another commonly dyed stone. 



Dyed crystals are usually pretty easy to spot, especially if you are looking at a set of amethyst clusters or quartz tumbles that are every color of the rainbow. Most of the time the same extremely vibrant, unnatural dyes are used on many different crystals. Crystals that have been dyed often have dye buildup within the cracks of the rock. These colors might even rub off on your skin! While many dyed stones are very obvious, some are much more subtle. A good way to test if a stone is dyed is to use acetone. Acetone will usually be able to rub off any dye within the stone, but be sure to rest a raw piece where the dye would be accessible. You won’t get the best results if you do this test with a polished piece. 

Some stones are dyed very slightly just to enhance the color of a low quality piece. This is common with green aventurine, lapis lazuli and rose quartz, specifically in smaller pieces like jewelry. The best way to identify these subtle enhancements is by looking for dye accumulation in the cracks of the stone. 



Beware of purple dyed agate being sold as amethyst in jewelry. You can tell agate from amethyst because agate has banding and stripes. Sometimes with dyed pieces like these you can also see the dye within the stone. If amethyst has white at all, it is usually seen in a chevron pattern as opposed to perfectly parallel bands like agate. The dyed agate bracelet is way too dark and saturated to be genuine amethyst. 


Dyed purple agate vs. natural chevron amethyst 

Tiger’s eye is another stone very commonly dyed, especially in jewelry! Genuine blue tiger's eye is a more subtle blue gray color, and its dyed imposter is very bright blue. Natural blue tiger's eye is often found in combination with standar golden tiger’s eye. Tiger’s eye can also be dyed artificial colors such as purple, red, green and pink and sold as natural. They look very beautiful, but it’s important to be aware that natural tiger’s eye is only found in gold and grayish blue. 


Natural blue tiger's eye vs. dyed tiger's eye


One fake crystal that doesn’t get enough attention is fake ruby zoisite! The left photo shows the imitation, and the right shows genuine ruby zoisite. The biggest indication of it being fake is the presence of large crystal structure, white spots, patchy look, and potentially unnaturally vibrant colors. The fake version looks similar to unakite or granite with its large crystal structure. Genuine ruby zoisite is much more fine grained, and has genuine rubies within. The fake has splotchy looking red patches that mimic real ruby. 



Howlite and magnesite are often dyed blue to mimic genuine turquoise. There are some very believable fake turquoise pieces out there, but most of the time it is very obvious. If you see tumbled "turquoise" for an affordable price, it is not authentic! Genuine turquoise does not tumble perfectly and comes at a hefty price. While most people are aware of dyed howlite, there is also dyed magnesite which makes a much more believable fake turquoise. Beware of anything labeled “white turquoise” as well. White turquoise is real, but it’s very rare and expensive. Howlite, magnesite or even just plastic are sometimes sold as white turquoise. 


Dyed howlite and dyed magnesite 


Sometimes labradorite is dyed to change the color of the stone while keeping its beautiful natural flash. I’ve only seen dyed labradorite in cabochons and jewelry, usually dyed pink or red.


A new dyed crystal on the market is dyed moss agate created to look like a unique combination of moss agate and carnelian. Moss agate can form with carnelian, but unfortunately a lot of material on the market coming from China is regular moss agate with red dye. It can be hard to tell the difference between the fakes and the real deal, but sometimes you can easily see the dye within the fakes. 


Genuine moss agate & carnelian vs. dyed moss agate 


Fake crystal pendants, jewelry, and beads are all over the market. Fake turquoise is a very common fake used for jewelry. Much of the "turquoise" on the market is white howlite or magnesite that has been dyed blue, and some of it is just plastic. This dyed howlite that mimics turquoise can sometimes be called turquenite. Fake malachite, rhodochrosite, and man-made glass are also often found in this pendant form. Sure some of these that you buy in bulk may be genuine, but many of them are not. Avoid buying pendants or beads from places like Amazon, craft stores, Wish, or AliExpress if you're looking for the real deal. Sources like these that are selling pendants for dirt cheap are not reliable. 



How to test for fakes  

A great way to reduce your chance of getting fake crystals as a beginner is to get crystals in their raw, natural form. Although this does not prevent against crystals that have been color enhanced by heat, you will be sure that you are not getting anything that is glass, plastic, or lab grown. Purchasing from reputable and educated sellers also will limit your chances of getting fooled. If you are looking to buy a new crystal or you see something that you've never heard of, give it a quick Google search to see what it is supposed to look like. The best way to educate yourself on fake crystals is by experience and starting with a reputable shop who knows what they're selling. If you're new to crystals, you may find yourself stumbling upon international wholesalers who seem to have every crystal that you're looking for and it may be tempting to buy from these sources (ex. TikTok lucky scoop live sales). They may directly message you asking for your attention and showing you pieces they have to offer for amazing prices. However, many times wholesalers are incorrect in their labeling of crystals. This feels counterintuitive, but sometimes the sources themselves are doing false advertising and selling fakes as real crystals! Many times wholesalers, especially on TikTok, focus more on making sales than quality of the crystals sold. Many people who have been enticed by the amazing prices from wholesalers report that their crystals came broken, were low quality, or even fake. This is why it is best to shop from a local crystal shop or established online business who takes the time to find the best suppliers and picks out the highest quality pieces. Sometimes even if something is being labeled as "natural", that doesn't mean it is true. While researching, I found many of these fakes being labeled as natural. This is why it is best to support more local, small shops who put in the hard work to find the best, ethical, and reliable wholesale sources for their crystals. Support small shops who put in the time to educate themselves on genuine crystals and bring only the real deal to their customers! 

Unfortunately there is no one size fits all test to see if your crystals are fake or not. Many of the tests out there also only test to see if a crystal is plastic or glass, and won't tell you if the stones are dyed, lab grown, or mislabeled. The best way to tell if your crystals are fake or not is just by research and experience. Knowing what to look out for when crystal shopping will be the biggest help for you to avoid fakes. 

One way to tell if your crystal is the crystal that you think it is, is to do a scratch test. There are many misconceptions out there about the scratch test, leaving many people not sure how to actually do one. It is a misconception that if your crystal can be scratched that it is fake. Many also say that if your crystal can't scratch glass then it is fake. That's not true at all and is a very oversimplified explanation of the scratch test! Every mineral has a hardness ranking on the Mohs hardness scale, with 1 being the softest and 10 being the hardest. A mineral can be scratched by anything that is an equal or higher level of hardness. A quartz crystal is a 7 on the hardness scale, so it is able to scratch anything that is 7 or below. Selenite ranks at only 2 on the scale, therefore is very soft and easily scratched by many other minerals. This method can be helpful for testing if a crystal is really the mineral that it is supposed to be. If you're going to do a scratch test, just be sure you look up the hardness of the mineral that you are trying to test and what tools are needed to test that level of hardness. 

Other popular tests for testing fake crystals include the burn test and temperature test. I don't recommend burning your crystals and I don't find it to be necessary. However if you choose to, it's important to know what your results actually mean. Unfortunately since this has become trendy on TikTok to burn your crystals, many people just try it and get confused by the results. Here's what you should be looking for. A fake crystal made of plastic will melt or bubble up and probably smell like burning plastic. If the crystal is left with black marks, this is not because it is fake! Any item stuck in fire will be affected in some way and be left with soot on it. This does not mean your crystal is fake! These black marks should easily wipe away, whereas with a fake stone made of resin or plastic it will be permanently damaged. But when it comes to fake crystals made of plastic or resin, they are usually noticeably fake. Anytime I have encountered a plastic imitation crystal, I could tell it's plastic just by looking at it and feeling its weight- no fire required. If you do choose to burn your crystals, just be careful and know what results to be looking for. If you want to watch me burn fake crystals so you don't have to, I have a whole youtube video about it HERE :). 

The temperature test is simply feeling the crystal to see if it's cold or not. Glass or plastic should be warmer to the touch than a genuine crystal. I also don't love this test as I find it to be a little bit arbitrary, and not every crystal is going to be cold. For example, selenite is one that won't be cold to the touch. 

A common misconception is that crystals with perfect clarity and no imperfections are glass. While there are definitely glass fakes out there, especially for clear quartz, high quality pieces can have almost perfect clarity. Genuine pieces with perfect clarity will be higher in price than a man-made lookalike. You can also look for air bubbles within the piece to see if it is glass. Clear quartz is tricky because it can look exactly like man-made glass, so it is best to buy from a reputable seller. The scratch test can be used well in this situation, because quartz is harder than glass. If a piece of glass can scratch your quartz crystal, then it is not truly quartz! Your genuine quartz should be able to scratch glass. 

Just remember that more likely than not, your crystal is real if you are buying it from a reputable crystal shop. Avoid purchasing crystals from unreliable wholesalers, craft stores, Amazon, AliExpress, and Wish and then you should not have to worry at all about having crystals made of plastic. Experienced crystal business owners put in a lot of time and effort to find the best wholesalers of genuine stones for their shop. Most crystals can not be faked well enough to look identical to a genuine crystal. Remember that genuine crystals usually have imperfections, they have texture, inclusions and variations. While some crystals can be created in a lab, there are so many features of genuine stones that just can not be recreated in a believable way. If your crystal looks real, it most likely is!! The beauty of crystals such as labradorite, moonstone, sunstone, carnelian, malachite, lepidolite, sodalite, etc. just can not be faked in a way that doesn’t look silly! So if you are feeling lost and confused in the beginning of your crystal journey, don't worry. With a little bit of practice and experience it will become very easy to spot a fake right away. You can do it! 


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  • Luuk

    Irradiated Fluorite is one more common fake. Original fluorite is made bright blue by irradiation.

  • IK

    There are genuine China crystal sellers in Shopee live. These genuine sellers will tell you what to look out for, take their time to examine the crystal in detail and refuse to give in to any bargain. They can also give you their address, should you wish to visit them in China. Of course, it’s easier if you can type in Chinese but the top sellers understand English and there are always other helpful viewers who can translate. Then, there are also DIY sellers, who sell genuine but cheap low grade crystals meant for mass production. These sellers are also alright as they will tell you to look out for design, instead of stone quality. Pretty honest to me. You can spot the fake sellers once you browse around and listen to different live stream comments. All in all, when in doubt, just don’t buy. Happy Shopping!

  • Jenn

    I did not realize that fake ruby zoisite was a thing! I have always thought testing the stone under a uv longwave light would help me identify a real stone because the ruby part reacts under it. However, I guess that synthetic ruby would glow also if it were chemically the same? So very disappointing! Thanks for posting this!

  • Derick

    Man..I’ve been bidding and watching all these beautiful Phantom Quartz that all these sellers from China are listing..some are HUGE 10 15 20lbs selling for Just what I stopped bidding at $50,$75 etc..I know something was off seeing so many sellers with the same exact type of photos and crystals so Perfect. I’m like How are all of these so Perfect coming out of the ground? Lol
    Some they’ve sold and listed for thousands of dollars but I notice No listings say “Natural” but alot say Newly Discovered..Yeah Ok.

    Thanks for your post.

  • Christopher

    Was shopping the other day and spotted some Ruby pendants ( had to ask the price) was shocked how cheap they were, turns out they are dyed red agate, buyer always beware🕉🙏

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