Here’s a comprehensive guide of how to tell if amethyst is real or fake. Read on to find out more!
I’ll be answering some of the most frequently asked questions in this article including:
- What does a fake amethyst look like?
- Where can I find real amethyst?
- Is there a difference between synthetic and natural amethyst?
How to Tell If Amethyst Is Real
A natural amethyst is a crystal found in pegmatites and alluvial deposits. It’s a dark purple and lilac purple colored quartz variety. Quartz, on the other hand, is one of the most common abundant minerals that you can find on earth. Plus, it’s a species that’s responsible for other healing crystals and gemstones including:
- Rose quartz
- Smoky quartz
- Crystal clear quartz
Treated Amethyst Vs Natural Amethyst Stones
Most gemstones usually receive some form of treatment. Some treatments tend to impact the value while other are quite the opposite. Heat treatment is one of the easiest ways that labs enhance the color of gemstones like natural sunlight does or how heat on earth works for mined gemstones.
Amethyst materials occur in a range of purple hues. People can buy amethyst crystals in different shades. For instance, the highest quality amethyst stone spots a medium dark purple hue when it comes to fine jewelry.
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Treated amethysts are equally natural albeit with less value. Amethyst stones need no treatments since they’re relatively cheap. They’re not subjected to any form of heat treatment for color enhancement.
Amethyst stones usually become citrine when subjected to heat treatment. Most citrine available on the market are typical heat-treated amethyst stones. What’s more, they can be heat treated to enhance their color to that of smoky quartz.
Synthetic Amethyst Vs Natural Amethyst
For the most part, gemstones usually have lab created or synthetic variants of themselves. Natural amethysts are quite common and inexpensive which makes the demand for manmade amethyst stones relatively low. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t exist. They’re cheaper and easier for the buyer and seller alike.
Synthetic amethysts are authentic amethyst stones. They have the same optical, chemical and physical properties like their natural counterparts. The origin of the gem is the main difference between synthetic and natural amethyst stones.
Synthetic gemstones are usually produced in a laboratory-like environment. This means that synthetic amethyst stones are lab created crystals as opposed to fake crystals. If you’re a scientist, then you can recreate the process the earth uses to form authentic amethyst stones using the exact properties that like earth mined amethysts.
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You can’t tell if amethysts stones are natural or lab created since most of the natural ones always come crystal clear. That’s why it’s always advisable to buy amethysts from reputable dealers with gem certificates from legit grading labs. You can barely find one that’s certified when it comes to amethysts. This is because gem certifications are only used for gemstones like diamonds, sapphires, emeralds and rubies.
What Are Fake Amethyst Stones?
Fake amethysts are rare because these stones are reasonably priced and are equally in abundance. Don’t worry so much about authentic amethyst jewelry when making a purchase from online retailers with lots of positive customer reviews and testimonies.
However, if you’re looking for an amethyst engagement ring made in yellow gold or white gold on different marketplaces like Etsy, then you’ll probably find some fake gemstones as well. Fake stones can be real gemstones or fake. Besides, these stones can be made of other materials like glass.
One of the most common gemstone imitations on the market is glass stones and cubic zirconia. The latter is produced cheaply and comes in a range of colors. Light purple and dark purple cubic zirconia resemble fake amethyst stones at first sight.
Trade Names of Amethyst Stones
- Lithia amethyst
- Japanese amethyst
- Bengal amethyst
- Siberian amethyst
- Desert amethyst
- Rose de France
- Chevron amethyst quartz
Difference Between Real Amethyst and Fake Amethyst
You might find trouble telling real and fake amethyst apart especially if you’re not a gemologist or an expert. However, there are many different ways to ascertain whether a gemstone is authentic or not although they don’t work remarkably well on amethyst stones.
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You can perform some tests on the amethyst stone itself with different objects or through observation. You might also need genuine equipment to tell if the amethyst stones are real or fake. However, the easiest way to ascertain if the amethyst stone is legit is by observing it. In this case, a magnifying glass or jeweler’s loupe will come in handy.
Patterns and Colors
Not all amethyst stones are purple. Amethyst stones come in different shades of pink and purple. The purple saturation isn’t always the same throughout the entire piece. These gems are also subject to color zoning just like their counterparts in the same category.
Color zoning tends to happen when there are light and dark colors in the same crystal. Some glass pieces that pose as legit gems can’t replicate the actual color zoning of an authentic gemstone. However, there are marketplaces that pass off real gem materials with dyes as amethyst stones.
In this case, you can observe the color of the gem to check if the seller is passing off a fake amethyst stone injected with dyes as a real one. If you notice any pigment patches in the cracks then it’s a fake amethyst stone.
Body temperature is quite simple although it’s best suited for larger amethyst stone pieces and not faceted gems. It’s a lot easier with cut and polished amethyst cabochons, raw crystals and crystal points. However, this is not a surefire method of testing if the amethyst stone is fake or real.
An amethyst stone should be cool when you hold it in your hands with your fist closed around it. It’s not amethyst if it warms up. Amethyst stones remain at low temperature even when exposed in the sun.
Inclusions are the real indication of actual crystals albeit not in amethyst stones. Some gemstones usually have very little or no inclusions at all which is quite normal. However, you should steer clear of heavily included, opaque faceted and translucent amethyst stones.
People are learning about Mohs hardness scale when buying engagement rings. A mineral or gemstone’s hardness level determines its resistance to scratch from dirt and dust in the air. Not all of us know that the dust and dirt in the air is microscopic quartz pieces.
Air particles can scratch a gem after several wears every day. This is usually outside the normal wear and tear you subject it to. Some gemstones are delicate and a bit soft, best suited for wearing occasionally. In this case, you might need to replace it over time if you choose to wear it daily as a ring.
There are stones that you can easily replace since they’re relatively cheap. However, premium grade gemstones like opal engagement rings are quite expensive to replace.
One of the most common misconceptions about the hardness of a gemstone is that it automatically equates to its durability. On the contrary, Mohs scale only indicates the gem’s ability to be scratched by objects like glass or steel as opposed to its wearability.
The hardness level of amethyst stones is 7 on Mohs scale. It’s a tough stone with good wearability considering other factors of gemstone durability.
The Streak and Scratch Test
One of the most common ways that you can test the hardness of a gemstone is through the scratch test. This test doesn’t necessarily let you know the type of material or stone but helps you ascertain whether the amethyst is fake or real.
Try dragging the purple stone on a glass surface. The stone is probably a fake amethyst if it leaves a white streak on the glass surface.
Specific Gravity of Amethyst Stones
Specific gravity test is more complex as compared to others in our list. You can test the specific gravity value for different gemstones. The specific gravity of a gemstone is usually the density as it helps you tell if its fake or real. However, you need equipment for carry out this test:
- A glass or beaker
- Set of scales
- Put the glass or beaker on the scale then record its original weight. Once you’re done, remove it and repeat the same process for the amethyst gem.
- Add some water in the glass/beaker ensuring the amethyst can fully submerge in it. Indicate the amount of water you have added.
- Put the stone in the glass/beaker and note down how much the water rises. Take the result in the first step and subtract it from the second step. The result should tell you the amount of water the stone displaced.
- Remove the amethyst stone and drain off the water. Once you’re done, fill up the glass/beaker with amount of water the stone displaced in step 3 and weigh the glass/beaker again.
- Take the original weight of the glass/beaker and subtract it from the result you got in step 4. It’s probably an authentic amethyst stone if the result is 2.65.
There are different ways to ascertain whether an amethyst stone is real or fake. However, one of the easiest ways is to take it to any local jeweler or gemstone expert. Avoid places like Jared or Kay because most of their staff aren’t gemologists.
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Always buy amethyst stones from a reputable dealer with a gem certificate to avoid running into fake ones.