Authenticity is important in any sales scenario. No matter what’s being exchanged, you want to know that everything is above board in terms of the description given by the seller.
This is especially true in the case of precious gems. So what does it take to pinpoint inauthentic examples, and how can you root out legitimate examples? Here’s an overview of some things you need to know, and techniques you can try yourself.
Understanding the Core Traits of Authentic Crystals
Identifying authentic crystals starts with having a basic understanding of their core traits. Let’s take diamonds as an example. Here are some things to know about them, and what it takes to test if they’re legitimate or not:
- Hardness: Test this by scratching materials like glass or ceramic tiles. If these surfaces scratch easily, there’s a higher probability that it could be legitimate. We’ll talk about this in more detail later on.
- Brilliance and Fire: Authentic diamonds often emit bright white light from within and reflect all colors of the rainbow onto nearby surfaces when light passes through them. This is known as fire, and once you’ve seen it, you’ll know what it looks like when weighing up future purchases.
- Refraction: If you place your diamond flat on a printed text and can still read through it clearly, chances are it might not be authentic.
Being clued up on these salient features associated with crystals like diamonds will leave you equipped to spot impostors.
However, it’s worth pointing out that the lab-grown diamond engagement rings that women love on the market today. Lab diamonds are identical to mined diamonds, so they will look the same and have the same physical properties.
The key here is making sure that you know what you’re buying, because sellers must be honest about the origins of crystals. If everything is laid out transparently, and the pricing is appropriate, the brilliance of lab-grown diamonds should sway all sorts of modern customers.
Spotting Variations in Luster
Another crucial indicator of a crystal’s authenticity is its luster. This is the way light interacts with a crystal, and it can provide valuable insights into whether it’s as-advertised, or designed to dupe you. Keep the following in mind whether shopping for quality diamonds online or viewing them in-store:
- Quality Crystals and Light Reflection: Authentically formed crystals will evenly reflect light from their surfaces, while impostors often have uneven and dull reflections.
- Variation Across Crystals: Not all crystals sparkle the same. This varies depending upon their internal structure and surface features. Understanding these differences could save you from potential deceptions.
In essence, when judging the authenticity of any crystal, close observation for variations in luster should never be overlooked. It’s another case in which having first-hand experience with verifiable precious gems will give you the experience and eye to make accurate deductions further down the line.
Close-Up Inspection Techniques
Closer inspection might be needed when determining the authenticity of any intriguing crystal. With a magnifying tool, such as a jeweler’s loupe, certain dead giveaways come to light. Look out for:
- Imperfections or Inclusions: Most genuinely formed crystals have minor imperfections called inclusions. A higher quantity gives a better probability of it being authentic. Conversely, costume jewelry which is made with glass or plastic will be unnaturally perfect, and should reveal itself when magnified.
- Shape and Construction: If production lines, mold marks or bubbles under the surface exist, these can be strong indicators that the gem has not been formed beneath the earth or produced in a diamond foundry. Instead, you are likely looking at a product made of everyday materials using much simpler manufacturing techniques.
In short, close-up inspections help spot small details that could make a world of difference when distinguishing between genuine and knock-off crystals. Consider it equivalent to negotiating a good business deal, where you leave no stone unturned in your preparations.
Performing a Scratch Test on Suspected Counterfeit Crystals
As mentioned earlier, a widespread method for testing crystals’ integrity is the scratch test. This approach, although simplistic in nature, often proves to be quite revealing. To implement it:
- Use Harder Materials: You can use more robust materials like stainless steel and porcelain plates to check if your crystal scratches these surfaces without sustaining any damage itself. We all know that diamond is the hardest substance around, so it should shrug off interactions with lesser materials if it is authentic.
- Exercise Caution: Although effective, this technique should only be used as a last resort, because there is of course the potential risk of damaging genuine items.
While the scratch test isn’t foolproof or suitable for all scenarios, it does provide another layer of scrutiny that might just tip the balance when spotting impostors amongst legitimate crystals. And if you are thinking of parting with a large chunk of cash for a given crystal product, it is better safe than sorry.
If in doubt, communicate clearly with the seller and ask them if performing a scratch test is a possibility. If they refuse without good reason, run for the hills!
Thermal Conductivity and What it Reveals About Your Crystal
Thermal conductivity is another fundamental attribute that can help distinguish between genuine crystals and poorly made stand-ins. In simple terms, this refers to how swiftly the crystal conducts heat. Options include:
- Testing at Home: You can gently place a heated needle against the crystal. The faster it cools down, the higher its thermal conductivity.
- Diamonds Outshine Others: Due to their exceedingly high thermal conductivity compared to other minerals, diamonds disperse warmth rapidly. So if a product you encounter is claimed to contain honest-to-goodness diamonds, applying the heat test will prove whether or not this is the truth.
As with the scratch test, this is an approach that is a bit more involved than simply looking closely at the crystal in question. However, getting to grips with these properties of authentic gems is better than being burned, pun intended!
In a nutshell, spying on the differences between authentic and counterfeit crystals demands honed observation skills and some knowledge of their unique properties. Whether it’s for an investment or personal adornment, being armed with these tips will give you the edge, and allow you to spend your hard-earned cash with confidence that you’re getting what you’ve paid for.