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Fake Crystals, Minerals, Gemstones, Lapidary and Fossils

By Justin

[Snip] Man Made Crystals

Man made crystals are wonderful teaching tools, often made of elements that are not found in nature, or rarely as exciting as crystals created in a controlled environment. Alumium and magnesium from refining operations are often sold as natural crystals, as well as the supposed smokestack, but truly, lab grown, zincite crystals. Sulfur stalactites are sometimes sold as natural occurrences, yet, form on the side of pipes, precipitating out the element. Lab grown crystals of Zircon, Emerald, and Ruby are often sold as the real thing, embedded in matrix in some extremes. Gemstones known for a rare source for desirable hues find labs searching for ways to duplicated them, such as “Siberian” amethyst or “russian” ametrine. Some specimens, like the crafted Malachite stalactites from the D.R. Congo, contain copper wires inside, with a layer of malachite produced by man, with druzy malachite glued to the outside.

Coated Crystals

Coatings or treatments of crystals are common as a way to create new items to market. The world can only take so many quartz crystals, geodes, danburite crystals and zeolites. Years ago it was discovered that you could take a somewhat tough mineral and place it in a vacuum chamber and fuse it with an element in gas form. The result is a durable bond of elements such as gold, titanium, indium and iron oxide, to the surface of the crystal, giving it a beautiful sparkle and color. Gold creates blue, or Aqua Aura, indium produces a violet hue, titanium produces a opalescent white coating and iron oxide colors the quartz a predictable orange, with a vibrant sparkle. Most dealers are very up-front about the origin of these specimens and most buyers are not turned off by this fact. The crazy colorful sparkle is something that could not be found in nature for such a price! The other treatment of quartz was a Teflon coating, which created “jelly quartz” in all sorts of bright colorful hues. Electroplating and similar treatments can be used to fuse quartz with chromium and produce bright green quartz clusters.

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