Purchasing crystals can sometimes be quite tricky. For one, many vendors try to sell fake gems in place of the real deal, especially if they see that the buyer has no experience. Luckily, certain tricks can help you recognize genuine crystals every time.
If you have purchased a piece of quartz and want to make sure it is authentic, read on. Here’s how to tell if a quartz crystal is real, from looking at its appearance to gauging its temperature.
How to Tell If a Quartz Crystal Is Real
1. Air Bubbles
This test is suitable for clear quartz. As its name suggests, clear quartz is almost entirely transparent. Thus, if you spot a crystal with air bubbles inside, you can be 100% sure that it is fake. In most cases, such crystals are actually tiny pieces of glass.
When glass forms, tiny spheres appear on its surface. As the material hardens, some of these spheres remain trapped inside, giving the piece an easily recognizable bubbly look.
On the other hand, there are no air bubbles around as the process of crystallization takes place. In the case of clear quartz, the molecules stabilize without any disruptions, making the crystal transparent.
Authentic crystals are cool to the touch. On the other hand, glass is always at room temperature and can get even hotter when exposed to direct sunlight or any other heat source.
To check whether your crystal is the real deal, simply leave it on your kitchen counter or desk for a few hours. When you pick it up, it should be cool against your skin. If it is similar to your skin temperature or even warmer, you will know that you are actually dealing with glass.
3. Check for Imperfections
Although quartz has no bubbles on its surface, it is not completely perfect. In fact, authentic crystals always have tiny blemishes, cracks, and misty spots both on their surface and deep inside.
Conversely, glass usually has no imperfections save for the air bubbles, and even they are perfectly round and of the same size. Therefore, if you come across a crystal that is perfectly transparent or has no specks in its color, it is safe to assume that it is fake.
When newbies shop for crystals, they are often easily fooled by pieces that look flawless. That is why it is essential to know that natural crystals take thousands of years to form and can, therefore, never be absolutely perfect.
If you’re into crystals, you have probably heard about the Mohs Scale. This qualitative scale measures the hardness of different minerals and crystals (from 1 to 10) by assessing how successful they are in scratching softer surfaces.
Most real crystals, including quartz, rank at around 7 on this scale, with some going even higher. So, all you’d need to check whether a crystal is genuine is some material with a lower score. Glass comes in handy yet again, as its score is around 5.5.
To test your crystal, you will need a piece of glass you do not mind scratching a little. Simply drag your crystal across the surface of the glass, applying moderate pressure.
If the crystal manages to scratch the glass without much effort, you can rest assured that it is real. After all, quartz is almost two points higher on the Mohs scale than glass, so, naturally, it can puncture it.
But if the crystal cannot scratch the glass at all, the piece you are holding is most likely fake. The same is true if you have to apply a lot of pressure for that to happen. Ultimately, the closer two materials are on the Mohs scale, the more difficult it is for one to leave a mark on the other.
Aside from being transparent, quartz can also be pink, red, yellow, green, brown, blue, and even multi-colored. However, natural crystals are never uniform in color. If a stone is red, you’ll be able to see dozens of shades of this hue swirling on the surface. The same applies to all other crystals.
Therefore, if you buy crystals and come across one that is perfectly burgundy or the clearest pink you’ve ever seen, it’s pretty safe to assume it isn’t real. So, keep looking further and only purchase crystals that do not look flawless or uniform.
6. Thermal Conductivity
As already mentioned, sellers usually offer glass instead of quartz because the two look similar enough, both transparent and colored. However, they differ regarding one important matter: thermal conductivity.
Namely, glass is a great insulator. In other words, it does not conduct heat well, which is one of the reasons why people use it in their homes in the first place. But the same is not the case with gemstones.
In fact, most gemstones can conduct heat, even if it is in small amounts. Quartz is one of them, and you can confirm it with any gem identification tester on the market. This tool can tell you whether the material you are testing is a conductor or not, making it easy to tell glass and quartz apart.
Of course, this method is only a viable option for those who have a gem tester or can afford one. If you don’t, sticking to other options on the list can still help you see whether your clear quartz is real.
7. The Price Matters
Many shops manage to sell fake quartz by offering it for unbelievably low prices. If they also pair such prices with stones that appear perfect to the naked eye, they manage to fool a lot of people.
To avoid this situation, you need to be realistic. At the moment, quartz prices range from $1 to $7 per carat or around $10 per gram. Some stones can even reach $15, especially if they have a rare color.
As a result, you cannot expect to buy a piece of quartz for just a few dollars. In most cases, you will have to pay at least $50 for a decently sized gem. That is probably the best price you will be able to get.
Thus, do not fall for flashy ads that offer quartz gems for extremely low prices, especially if you are shopping online. If you do that, you will most likely end up with a useless piece of glass instead of the crystal you wanted in the first place.
8. Check the Weight
If you already have a piece of quartz at home, you can easily check whether the new stone you got is real. All you need to do is compare their weights.
Since fake quartz contains air bubbles or is mixed with materials such as resin or glass, it weighs considerably less than the real deal. So, get your scale and weigh your crystals. If their weight is similar, you’ll know you made the right decision buying the new stone.
9. Hitting a Hard Surface
Another feature that separates quartz and glass is their breakability. Namely, if you drop a piece of quartz on the floor, it will either stay intact or chip a little as it hits the surface.
However, glass behaves differently. A lump of glass would shatter immediately upon hitting a hard surface. You’d be left with countless little bits of the material, which would never happen with a gemstone.
Moreover, when a piece of quartz breaks, it has rough edges that are often covered in swirling patterns. Conversely, broken pieces of glass are usually smooth to the touch and have a clear fracture surface.
So, if you get a big chunk of quartz that you want to take apart to get smaller bits, you can see whether it is authentic as soon as you fracture it.