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How to distinguish real malachite from artificial one?

Justification. Since its discovery, malachite has not been considered a rare stone, but increased demand has led to the depletion of most deposits, and counterfeits are increasingly found on the markets [1, 2]. Goal — demonstration of methods for determining the naturalness of malachite and popularization of knowledge about the variability of fakes and imitations. Methods It is quite easy to identify fake malachite. A series of simple manipulations will allow you to establish the naturalness of the stone. You need to pay attention to the following criteria:

  1. Mass of stone. This aspect allows you to identify plastic and glass counterfeits. It should be noted that malachite is heavier than most other natural minerals used to create an imitation of the real mineral.
  2. Dullness. Natural stone does not shine through in the sun. It lacks transparency, the surface is matte, with little shine. A simple way to check is to shine a flashlight on the stone or raise it to the sun. If light passes through it, then this is a fake gem.
  3. Heterogeneity. Malachite mined in African countries has beautiful, even rings, but the patterns on two gems cannot match. The effect of similarity can be achieved only by making the stone yourself, in an attempt to realize its exact imitation. To check the gem, you need to examine the samples presented nearby. The pattern of the concentric rings will vary slightly, but will vary. If the gems are similar to each other, then this is a fake.
  4. Shades. The differences are present not only in the pattern, the color of the stone itself says a lot. The master will use various paints when creating an imitation of malachite. For example, a coil can be “touched” in order to sell it under the guise of malachite. This is a natural stone, but its price is much less. The key difference is the shade: malachite has a deep emerald green, while serpentine has a marsh color.
  5. If you have a stone and you doubt that it is real malachite, you can check the stone by the color of the line by scratching it (Fig. 1). To do this, however, you will have to ruin one bead. The color of the malachite streak will be green – from light turquoise to very dark green. The color of the pseudomalachite streak will always be lighter than the stone itself.
  6. The ammonia and acid test is one of the best tests to determine the authenticity of a stone. Most fakes can be visually distinguished, but high-quality and expensive imitations can be misleading. It is worth considering that experiments will lead to a change in the appearance of the stone, so you only need to work with the back part of the gem or jewelry. The first test involves applying a drop of ammonia to a small area of ​​malachite (Figure 2). The area on natural stone will fade after a few minutes. The ammonia will turn blue. Sometimes you need to wait more than 5–7 minutes; even a natural gem is coated with varnish, which can prevent the drop from contacting the surface of the stone. The second test is to apply acid to the stone. You need to add lemon juice to warm water and then apply it to the gem. The surface should bubble if the malachite is genuine. The reaction time depends on the presence or absence of varnish.

Rice. 1. Determination of the color of malachite trait

Rice. 2. Ammonia test

Do not forget that malachite produced under artificial conditions passes the above-mentioned tests, since it has a similar chemical formula. Unfortunately, there are no methods for determining laboratory stones, so in this case you can only rely on the honesty of the seller.

Results. Verification tests have been proposed to determine the naturalness of a stone.

Conclusions. Buyer awareness of the different types of counterfeit and how to identify it will significantly reduce the number of cases of fraud involving counterfeit malachite.

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Justification. Since its discovery, malachite has not been considered a rare stone, but increased demand has led to the depletion of most deposits, and counterfeits are increasingly found on the markets [1, 2].

Goal — demonstration of methods for determining the naturalness of malachite and popularization of knowledge about the variability of fakes and imitations.

Methods It is quite easy to identify fake malachite. A series of simple manipulations will allow you to establish the naturalness of the stone. You need to pay attention to the following criteria:

  1. Mass of stone. This aspect allows you to identify plastic and glass counterfeits. It should be noted that malachite is heavier than most other natural minerals used to create an imitation of the real mineral.
  2. Dullness. Natural stone does not shine through in the sun. It lacks transparency, the surface is matte, with little shine. A simple way to check is to shine a flashlight on the stone or raise it to the sun. If light passes through it, then this is a fake gem.
  3. Heterogeneity. Malachite mined in African countries has beautiful, even rings, but the patterns on two gems cannot match. The effect of similarity can be achieved only by making the stone yourself, in an attempt to realize its exact imitation. To check the gem, you need to examine the samples presented nearby. The pattern of the concentric rings will vary slightly, but will vary. If the gems are similar to each other, then this is a fake.
  4. Shades. The differences are present not only in the pattern, the color of the stone itself says a lot. The master will use various paints when creating an imitation of malachite. For example, a coil can be “touched” in order to sell it under the guise of malachite. This is a natural stone, but its price is much less. The key difference is the shade: malachite has a deep emerald green, while serpentine has a marsh color.
  5. If you have a stone and you doubt that it is real malachite, you can check the stone by the color of the line by scratching it (Fig. 1). To do this, however, you will have to ruin one bead. The color of the malachite streak will be green – from light turquoise to very dark green. The color of the pseudomalachite streak will always be lighter than the stone itself.
  6. The ammonia and acid test is one of the best tests to determine the authenticity of a stone. Most fakes can be visually distinguished, but high-quality and expensive imitations can be misleading. It is worth considering that experiments will lead to a change in the appearance of the stone, so you only need to work with the back part of the gem or jewelry. The first test involves applying a drop of ammonia to a small area of ​​malachite (Figure 2). The area on natural stone will fade after a few minutes. The ammonia will turn blue. Sometimes you need to wait more than 5–7 minutes; even a natural gem is coated with varnish, which can prevent the drop from contacting the surface of the stone. The second test is to apply acid to the stone. You need to add lemon juice to warm water and then apply it to the gem. The surface should bubble if the malachite is genuine. The reaction time depends on the presence or absence of varnish.

Rice. 1. Determination of the color of malachite trait

Rice. 2. Ammonia test

Do not forget that malachite produced under artificial conditions passes the above-mentioned tests, since it has a similar chemical formula. Unfortunately, there are no methods for determining laboratory stones, so in this case you can only rely on the honesty of the seller.

Results. Verification tests have been proposed to determine the naturalness of a stone.

Conclusions. Buyer awareness of the different types of counterfeit and how to identify it will significantly reduce the number of cases of fraud involving counterfeit malachite.

Malachite is the most “Russian” stone. The deep color and intricate pattern of this fabulous mineral can be admired endlessly. Since the end of the 18th century, malachite was actively mined in the Ural mines. Craftsmen created real masterpieces from it: vases, furniture with bronze plates, boxes, candlesticks. Malachite was used to line palace interiors, and products made from it were given as gifts to high-ranking diplomats and officials.

Malachite was once found in large quantities. Altai, Ural, Kazakhstan – previously rich deposits are now depleted. Nowadays, malachite is practically not mined in Russia. The African Republic of Congo is now considered the largest supplier of the green mineral. African samples differ from Ural malachite by larger rings and a more contrasting pattern.

If you manage to find real malachite, you are lucky! Due to the depletion of natural sources, fewer and fewer samples of this valuable mineral are found. Many jewelry manufacturers resort to outright fakes. But fake malachite can be different. What imitations exist, and how to distinguish natural stone from fake – in our article.

Malachite chips. This option is common. Similar imitations were made from small crumbs after processing a large nugget. The crumbs are glued together with epoxy resin – the material is ready. Of course, the mixture is also made from natural stone, but the finished version will lack the unique pattern for which real malachite is so valued.

Grown in a lab. Malachite is successfully produced under artificial conditions. In its appearance and chemical formula it is no different from its natural counterpart. An excellent option for those for whom the natural energy of the stone is not so important.

Crude fakes. We are talking about painted stones of a different type, plastic and glass. They are easy to recognize even with the naked eye. Plastic is much lighter and warmer than natural mineral. Low-grade fakes often repeat the pattern; the rings on them are too contrasting – they do not have a rich pattern.

It is quite simple to distinguish natural malachite from counterfeit. Hand-painted samples have a maximum of 3-4 shades. Nature is a more dexterous artist! Real malachite is rich in dozens of shades of green and has a complex pattern.

If the stone sparkles with gloss, this is most likely a fake. Real malachite is characterized by a noble, light matte finish.

Malachite is often passed off as another natural, but much less valuable mineral – serpentine. Malachite has complex emerald colors, while serpentine has marsh tones.

Malachite can be checked for authenticity using acids and ammonia (if, of course, you are allowed to do this). If you drop a drop of ammonia onto real malachite, the area will turn pale and the drop itself will turn blue.

If you apply lemon juice mixed with water to a natural stone, bubbles will appear on the surface of the water. It should be noted here that drops of the solution on the mineral do not act immediately, since the stones are often coated with a protective varnish.

It is almost impossible to check whether a synthetic mineral grown in a laboratory is of natural origin. It has the same chemical formula, and the pattern of each stone will also be different from the other. There is only one rule here: to purchase quality products, you should choose reliable sellers.

You can please yourself and your loved ones with top quality jewelry, each of which has been tested by the best jewelry experts, at ourgold.ru

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