History of use

How to distinguish real stone from plastic?

I really love natural stones and when traveling around India I always buy them for myself, for gifts and for sale, precious and semi-precious, and of course, in order to buy a stone and not a fake, you need to understand at least a little about natural stones and their properties.
Just now my mother’s friend called and complained that half of her stones, as it turned out during testing, were fakes, and not even stones, but just plastic.
So I decided to write very simple tips on how to distinguish a natural stone from a fake on the go: plastic, glass, ceramics, because unfortunately, in Russia and even in India, not only precious stones are counterfeited, but even semi-precious and ornamental ones.

Preface. Stone price

A natural stone with a cut or polished cannot cost 10 kopecks, simply because its processing costs more, so if you want to buy something cheap, you will a priori get a fake.
Let me immediately note that such natural stones as turquoise or malachite are not only not cheap, but quite expensive, because there are almost none of them left in nature. They learned how to counterfeit turquoise back in the Middle Ages, so there is simply no such thing as cheap turquoise, everything that is sold in non-jewelry stores and in 1 cm pieces is a fake. The same applies to cheap amber; now they have learned to blow bubbles into fake plastic amber and immure insects in it. And now simple ways to distinguish a natural stone from a fake by ear, weight, and heat. For a sample, take a guaranteed natural stone, for example, a small pebble from the road, with it you can compare the qualities of the stone you want to buy.

Testing natural stone with heat

Natural stones and pearls, unlike fakes, are always cold, while plastic and ceramics are initially warm!
Place the stone on your lips or chin, it will remain cool for a few seconds, but the plastic fake will immediately heat up, and the ceramic will also heat up, albeit more slowly.

Natural stone by ear

Natural stones produce a characteristic sound when tapped on glass or metal, which distinguishes them from fakes. Again, compare the sound of the stone you are buying with a sample – a pebble; if they slip you a fake, you will hear the difference.

Natural stone by weight

Natural stones are always heavier than plastic and most ceramics; to check, you will have to find a pebble of the same size as the one you are buying and compare the weight.

Natural stone nail

All minerals are distinguished by their hardness; I will not touch class 1 precious stones with high hardness, but I will tell you a little about some popular inexpensive and not very expensive stones.
Garnet, tourmaline and quartz (aventurine, agate, rock crystal, amethyst, citrine, cat’s eye, hawk’s eye, tiger’s eye) have a hardness of 7 and will scratch glass.
Opal, rutile and feldspars (moonstone, adularia, sunstone, etc.) have a hardness of 6, scratch glass, but can be scratched with a file.
Hematite, lapis lazuli, apatite have a hardness of 5, they no longer scratch glass; on the contrary, with force they can be scratched with a piece of glass or a knife.
Fluorite has a hardness of 4 and is easy to scratch with glass and a knife.
Calcite (Iceland spar, satin spar, marble onyx, marble, etc.) have a hardness of 3, just like silver, gold is slightly harder.
Plaster has a hardness of 2 and can be scratched with a fingernail. Gypsum is associated with fractures, but this mineral forms very beautiful crystals and arrays; it is used for jewelry and crafts, treated with durable varnish on top. Thus, wonderful selenite with silky tints may well be passed off as a more expensive and hard moon or sun stone. True, you also need to be able to scratch, taking into account the crystalline structure of the stone, so it is better to ask the seller to demonstrate the hardness of the selected stone; normal sellers always have special pencils or testers for this. Advanced ways to distinguish a stone from a fake are described in the article Diagnostics of precious stones, and I described one example of diagnostics using the property of luminescence in the article Verifying the Authenticity of Gemstones. Ultraviolet test PS I would be grateful to those who share their experience of testing or other ways to distinguish a stone from a fake Author and source of publication: achadidi, especially for indonet.ru Natural stones look very impressive and unusual, and can also retain their natural appearance for years. This is the best gift option for fashionistas and beauties who love to wear beautiful jewelry accessories and original jewelry. Fraudsters and manufacturers of counterfeits often take advantage of the popularity of natural stones to enrich themselves and try to sell low-quality goods to gullible customers. Ordinary, but processed and painted glass is often sold under the guise of natural minerals. To avoid becoming a victim of deceivers, we recommend that you learn the basic rules that will help you easily distinguish natural crystals from fakes.

Popular groups of gemstones

  • Natural minerals are formed under natural conditions. Most of these crystals are practically not used in their raw form, since such a crystal is very expensive;
  • Synthetic minerals are grown in laboratory conditions. Such stones have the composition and physical properties characteristic of similar natural crystals. This group of beads is created artificially, so it costs a little less than natural minerals;
  • Imitations of natural stones are also produced in factories. Visually, these minerals resemble rhinestones of natural origin, but the properties and chemical composition will be radically different. These include glass beads.

Please note that the group of natural crystals of natural origin includes rubies, sapphires, emeralds, pearls, diamonds, etc. All other beads are produced in a laboratory or are of semi-precious origin.

What stones cannot be faked

Fraudsters have learned to create fakes of any natural minerals. There is a group of stones, the counterfeiting of which does not bring the expected profit, and is also technically very difficult. This group of stones includes peridot, garnet, agate and topaz. Cheaper counterfeits of these minerals are very common, but such goods can be identified very easily, and there will be few people willing to purchase an obvious counterfeit.

How to quickly distinguish natural stone from fake

To increase the value of costume jewelry and jewelry, many manufacturers call imitation and artificial stones gems. To avoid becoming a victim of unscrupulous sellers and buying a fake, you should carefully check the condition of the jewelry. You can cope with this task even on your own without the help of experts. To do this, we recommend following simple advice from experts.

Auditory testing

Just take natural stone and solid material that has different properties. A piece of glass or an ordinary sea stone is perfect for this experiment. It is necessary to tap the materials on a metal or glass surface. Natural stone is characterized by a muffled sound; you can clearly identify it against the background of the ringing sound of glass or sea stone.

Comparing weight

The weight of a natural stone will always be lower compared to a fake. To verify its natural origin, you just need to take an artificial stone of similar dimensions and compare the two options.


Natural stones never have a low price. The reasons for the high cost are the complexity and high cost of processing processes, as well as production. The cost of natural minerals will range from one hundred dollars and above, and also depends on the rarity of the crystals, the complexity of processing and the size of the sample.

Structure control

It is never possible to leave mechanical damage on the surface of a natural mineral with a fingernail or a sharp object. Serious damage to natural stone can only be caused by strong force with a sharp knife or other tools. In jewelry with artificial minerals, even the pressure of a nail can damage the insert.

Checking with glass

We suggest running a natural stone over the surface of the glass. A mark will remain on the glass coating, but the mineral will be unharmed. Such experiments can be carried out only in jewelry with garnet or quartz; scratches may remain on the surface of other stones.

Stone evaluation using professional expertise

The most effective way to verify the natural origin of a mineral is to visit a specialist who can perform a professional examination. The analysis provides a list of activities that are aimed at inspecting the condition and assessing the properties of the mineral. An examination will help confirm or refute the authenticity. During the analysis, the specialist performs several tasks:

  1. Determining the type of stone.
  2. Confirmation or refutation of the authenticity of the origin of the mineral.
  3. Classification of the crystal in accordance with international standards for the evaluation of precious items.

Based on the information received, the specialist determines the exact cost of a particular stone. If you need jewelry expertise, a team of jewelers is hired to carry it out. Each of the individual specialists conducts an independent analysis, evaluates the method of origin of the stone, determines its type and physical properties. The results of each examination are entered into a special form in order to ultimately make a final decision.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button