Myths and legends

How to tell if a stone is natural or not?

It’s hardly worth explaining that the ability to distinguish natural stones from fakes and synthetic substitutes can at least protect you from unreasonable large expenses. However, how can an ordinary person learn this? There are many popular methods, most of which make you smile, not to mention the fact that stores will hardly allow you to carry out such a check. For example, it is believed that a natural ruby ​​gives milk a pinkish tint, and if it is placed on the eyelid, it will remain cold for quite a long time, unlike a fake. And if you drop water on a real diamond, it should hold its shape for a decent amount of time. But this method is not suitable for products with small stones. In general, methods for determining the naturalness of a stone can be divided into three groups:

  1. visual;
  2. using available means at hand without special equipment;
  3. using special devices and tools.

In fact, it is usually very difficult to determine the naturalness of a stone by eye if it is a synthetic mineral. Methods for growing such stones are constantly being improved, so they are of very high quality, and special instruments are required to determine the nature of their origin.

The naked eye can only determine the naturalness of those stones in which the main thing is the optical effect. For example, star sapphires and rubies are easily distinguished from fakes. The multi-pointed figure formed in corundum due to rutile is characterized by mobility, that is, it changes its position depending on the viewing angle. It has not yet been possible to repeat this effect in laboratory conditions. Australian opals and other varieties of this stone, distinguished by their play of colors, can also be immediately separated from fakes or synthetically grown ones. But only if you know what real opals look like. Otherwise, there is a high risk of making a mistake.

Topaz, glass, blue kyanite, synthetic spinel or artificial quartz are often passed off as delicate transparent aquamarines. However, this gemstone is quite easy to identify without professional help – you just need to look at it from different angles. Real aquamarine changes its color slightly, but fake aquamarine does not.

A natural diamond can also be distinguished quite easily, but the method will only work with large stones without a frame. You should take white paper, draw a line on it, and put a mineral on top. You won’t be able to see anything through a real cut diamond, but a line will show through a fake one.

But all of the above methods for determining natural stone are not always applicable in practice, and also require quite a lot of experience in dealing with minerals. After all, it’s difficult to understand what an aquamarine should be like if you’ve only seen it a couple of times in a shop window and never held it in your hands. And even experts are not always able to determine the mineralogical identity of a stone without special tools.

So, what do professional gemologists study? Inclusions, their characteristics, uniformity of color distribution, microstructures of growth, characteristics of cracks and other internal features of stones. Thus, the presence of metals in a diamond indicates its laboratory origin. Surprisingly, almost all natural stones can be distinguished primarily by their internal imperfections. The absence of any inclusions indicates that the stone is unnatural. Of course, another important indicator is hardness. For a diamond, it is the standard among minerals, so you can also check the stone by trying to scratch a sapphire, emerald or other fairly hard stone with it. Or you can try rubbing the diamond with sandpaper. This will not harm a real jewel. However, it is doubtful that anyone would allow such a drastic experiment to be carried out.

It is now impossible to distinguish natural sapphires and rubies from grown ones without special research. You can determine the imitation of sapphire by immersing the stone in a special liquid. A real gem will sink to the bottom, while fakes remain on the surface. The mineral, which they try to pass off as a ruby, turns orange when exposed to ultraviolet light. You should also be careful when choosing emeralds. A very pale mineral may be beryl, and a very bright transparent mineral may be a synthetic stone of excellent quality. The latter in itself is not bad. Such inserts are very beautiful, durable and at the same time relatively inexpensive. There is nothing illegal in selling them, if, of course, the buyer is informed about the origin of the mineral. However, recognizing an ordinary fake is actually much easier than recognizing a grown mineral. Gemologists have long ceased to have enough of a magnifying glass, a polariscope, an ultraviolet lamp, a dichroscope, etc. Now this requires much more expensive and complex instruments. Therefore, buyers should not lose their vigilance, paying attention not only to the appearance of the stones, but also to the relevant documents and the cost of the products.

Jewelry with stones is very beautiful and, of course, expensive. But, unfortunately, many minerals used to decorate products have been manipulated. How to determine the original?

So how can you tell if a stone is real or not? There are a great variety of minerals, and each of them has its own characteristic features by which the original can be distinguished. Each stone is worth dwelling on in more detail.


Since these stones are girls’ best friends, most often they are the ones that raise doubts. How to identify a diamond at home?

  • Diamonds are very hard. And to identify such a sign, you can try to scratch the surface, for example, with sandpaper. There will not be a single trace left on natural stone.
  • Place the stone in the water. It will continue to shine if it is natural. But the fake will become almost invisible.
  • Examine the stone in the light, turning its front side towards you. If it is natural, then the back edges, like mirrors, will reflect the light, so you will see only one luminous point. The fake will transmit light well.
  • Try to breathe on the mineral. If it is original, then there will be no perspiration.
  • A real diamond does not attract dust, unlike fakes.


Real rubies are very beautiful and have a number of specific properties that can be used to determine authenticity.

Methods for determining the naturalness of a ruby:

  • First of all, it is worth assessing the color. It should not be too bright and saturated.
  • Due to its low thermal conductivity and heat capacity, the stone will appear cold even when held in the palm of your hand.
  • Examine the mineral through a magnifying glass. You may notice microscopic bubbles and inclusions. But they should not differ in color from the stone itself. In fakes, they may be lighter or hollow.
  • Place the stone in a glass container. If the mineral is real, it will turn reddish.
  • If you put ruby ​​in milk, it will take on a pinkish tint.


Precious stones such as emeralds are considered one of the rarest, and therefore are very expensive. And, of course, they are actively counterfeited. But you can protect yourself from deception. Take a good look at the mineral, preferably through a magnifying glass. If you see parallel lines, this indicates that the stone was created by nature itself and grew without human intervention. But the craft may have spirals or twisted veils.


Sapphire is incredibly beautiful, especially if it is natural. How to distinguish an original from a fake? It is very difficult. Hardness can be assessed. There should be no scratches on such a mineral. When immersed in water, it will drown, as it is quite heavy.

In addition, the original may contain intricate inclusions of irregular shapes. Still, fakes can have the same properties, so it is better to seek help from an experienced jeweler.


Pearls are also one of the most beloved stones of all women, so they are counterfeited very often and quite skillfully. But how can you avoid being deceived?

  • Try scratching the bead. If you see an obvious scratch, or even more so peeling paint, then this is definitely a fake. If the pearl is real, then the scratch will also remain. But run your finger over the surface and it miraculously disappears.
  • You can try a stone on your tooth. If the pearl is real, it will creak a little, which is due to the fact that it consists of tiny mother-of-pearl scales.
  • If you put the bead in your mouth, you can taste the sea sand.


How to determine whether the topaz in front of you is real?

  • If the stone is in the ring, then vigorously rub it with a woolen cloth. Place pieces of paper napkin on the table. Bring the product to them. If the stone is natural, it will attract particles.
  • Feel the mineral. It is cool and also very smooth, slippery you might say.
  • Natural topaz cannot be perfectly pure; inclusions may be found in it.


Although such a stone is not considered very expensive, it is still very popular. You can determine its authenticity in the following ways:

  • Try setting fire to amber. If it is natural, then you will smell the resin, but not melting plastic. If the mineral is immature, a dark spot will appear on its surface. If the stone is compressed, it can become sticky.
  • Rub the mineral with wool. It should become electrified.
  • Amber will not sink in a salt solution. To test this, dissolve 10 teaspoons of salt in a glass of water and immerse the mineral in the composition. If it floats on the surface, it is most likely natural.


A natural pomegranate cannot be too large; in size it does not exceed the grain of the pomegranate fruit of the same name.

This mineral has magnetic activity. And to reveal it, use a cork, scales and a magnet. Place the cork on the bowl first, then the pomegranate. Bring a magnet to the stone. If the scales needle starts to fluctuate, then the mineral is real.


True alexandrite has pleochroism, which means it can change its color under different lighting conditions. A fake will have one constant shade.


Real turquoise may have irregularities, inclusions and pores. But there can’t be any bubbles in it.


If you look at real aquamarine in the light, you will find inclusions reminiscent of white chrysanthemums. In addition, this mineral can change color when viewed from different angles.


Although moonstone is considered semi-precious, it is also counterfeited. You can identify the original by the play of thousands of colors in the light, as well as by the sparkles flickering inside.

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