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Things Aren't Always What They Seem

posted on 29 September 2016 | posted in Articles

At the shows, we're often pointing out to people that the bright yellow or barley-sugar yellow "Citrine" is not real and that Citrine simply doesn't occur like that.

So thinking about it, here are 6 things, that are not fakes and forgeries, but rather are simply some things you should be aware of.

1) Citrine
Go to any crystal shop or visit any Mind Body Spirit show and there will be someone there selling Citrine tumblestones for between 80p and 1. They are very easy to obtain practically anywhere. The first thing to notice is that they will be yellow, either a bright lemony yellow or a darker barley-sugar or orangy yellow.

The second thing to notice is that nearly always they will not be uniformly yellow. There will almost certainly be some white patches on them extending from about 10% of the surface area up to sometimes 50% of the surface area.

Now, although all the world sells this as Citrine, they will almost certainly be Amethyst that has been heat treated to make them turn yellow.

Amethyst is Quartz that has been, quite naturally, coloured purple by the presence of Manganese as the Quartz was forming. It also has Iron in it and the more Iron present in the Amethyst, the darker purple it is.

If Amethyst tumblestones are of low quality, they are frequently heated to about 200 degrees Celsius and this then oxidises the Iron content in them turning them yellow and - hey presto, you have "Citrine" which is much more marketable than low grade Amethyst !

There is always the possibility that some of this heat treated Amethyst could be natural if one imagines hot lava flows for example running past Amethyst that has already formed and which is then heated up by the presence of the lava. This would be a small possibility though.

"Real" Citrine on the other hand is actually quite a rare or unusual stone and is Quartz that has been naturally coloured a very pale straw yellow colour by the natural presence of Iron within the crystal structure itself.

The sad thing is that so many people believe that heat treated Amethyst is the real deal that we even have to sell it ourselves alongside real and proper Citrine - although we do clearly state that it is heat treated.

2) Cats Eye
Natural Cats Eye is a rather boring dull grey stone which occasionally in some pieces displays a "flash" of colour as found in a cats eye - hence the name. Most pieces are flat "battleship grey" though.

Now look at the Cats Eye offered for sale in the marketplace and you'll see that they are post box red, vivid orange, luminous green, passionate pink and a variety of other bright colours. They also nearly all have a great "twist" inside them rather like the old fashioned glass marbles.

These are easy to make, because they are 100% glass, exactly like the old fashioned marbles themselves !

3) Agate Slices or Brazilian Agate
The Brazilians love bright colours and many of the Agate Slices and tumbled Agates on the market are bright green, bright blue, bright yellow, bright pink etc.

This is because, like almost no other stone, Agate soaks up dye like a sponge and all of those bright coloured pieces are simply dyed.

There are many, many types of Agates and they come from all around the world and the overwhelming majority are completely natural. The Brazilian ones are frequently dyed though and, to be honest, they are quite easy to tell from their overly bright colours.

If you want to "un-dye" your Brazilian Agate, put it in warm water and watch the dye run out !

4) Opalite
There is not a trace of Opal in Opalite. It is quite simply manufactured glass.

It is extraordinarily popular at present and is fashioned into angels, hearts, tumble stones, jewellery, wands and even polished points !

It is a lovely opalescent pale blue and if you hold a piece over a piece of white paper it casts an unusual orange shadow. However, it is still just glass and even the Victorians knew how to make Opalite Glass, and they used it for lamp shades and decorative bottles.

5) Blue Howlite or Turquenite
Like Brazilian Agate, Howlite is another stone that soaks up dye readily.

Howlite is only ever found as a white stone with thin black veins running through it - and no other colour. It is frequently dyed blue though and sold as Blue Howlite even though no such thing exists.

Some dyed Blue Howlite is thought to resemble the much more expensive Turquoise and is often sold as Turquenite. Side by side though the two are easy to tell apart.

6) Sunstone vs Goldstone
Sunstone is a perfectly natural stone with a shimmering golden colour, often sold as a tumblestone and frequently made into jewellery.

Goldstone, on the other hand, is a manufactured stone slightly darker and browner than Sunstone and with more of a high sparkle rather than a gentle shimmer.

It is made by adding Copper Salts to glass in a furnace. The heat "smelts" the Copper Salts back to Copper which then crystallize in the glass. The Copper platelets formed this way are suspended in the glass and give it its characteristic glitter. Sometimes dyes are added to produce a Blue Goldstone or a Green Goldstone.

Goldstone is sometimes also known as Stellaria, Aventurine Glass and Sunstara to name but a few.

In Conclusion,
Just keep your eyes open for the above examples and for goodness sake don't start worrying that all crystals are fake, man-made or glass !!!

There are some 4,600 crystals known to us now days and we've highlighted 6 here that you should just simply be aware of. The vast overwhelming majority of crystals are still what they have always been - wonderful, beautiful, elegant, inspiring and above all - created by nature, 100% natural.

Enjoy them to the full !


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