Is there a difference between a FAKE crystal and an ENHANCED crystal? Learn about the common processes that happen to a crystal between coming out the ground and landing on the shelf.
In our previous article, IS THIS CRYSTAL REAL OR FAKE? we looked at the best way to know if you’re buying the real deal. Essentially, the BEST way to avoid buying a fake is to know who you are buying from, and only buy from reputable sellers. The article went on to explain what questions to ask and what to look for in a seller to make sure they are legit! Now we’re looking at fake crystals VS enhanced crystals.
In this article, we’re looking into the crystal mining industry to learn a bit more about what happens to crystals between coming out of the ground and ending up on the shelf. You will find it easier to tell the difference between a fake crystal and an enhanced crystal if you understand some of the most common enhancements crystals go through.
Most (if not ALL) crystals undergo some sort of treatment between coming out of the ground and being seen on the shop shelf. The most common practices include:
- Cleaning (anything from pressure sprayers to acid baths)
- Shaping (can involve cutting, sanding, tumbling machines, polishing machines, corrosive materials, etc)
- Stabilizing (anything from acid dips to stone sealant)
The industry has done these processes for decades. They can be classified as stone ‘enhancements’. Let’s look at some examples of these.
Common Crystal Treatments
Here are some examples of very common treatments. The treatments alter the crystals appearances in some way but don’t make them ‘fake’.
SOFTENING THE EDGES
The mining company removes Calcite from the ground, then breaks it up into small rough pieces. Before they sell it to shops where you can buy it, they sometimes first dip the Calcite pieces in an acid “bath”. This softens out the razor sharp edges on each piece, making it safer to handle.
When Spirit Quartz first comes out the ground, it is covered in very thick, hard clay and is often also iron stained.
It requires high pressure hose cleaning, and often a series of chemical baths, to get it looking like the clean sparkly crystals you see on the shelves.
Here is a video of a crystal wholesaler showing the process, as well as the before and after of the crystals – it’s quite fascinating!
SEALING IN THAT GOODNESS
A mine or wholesaler may treat soft stones that are liable to crack, flake or crumble. A clear sealant will hold the stone together and bring out its beautiful colour. You can handle the stone more reliably, and its value increases. As a customer, you are getting a more stable product. It isn’t going to flake and fall apart on you later down the line.
This treatment can also enhance some crystals natural colour. Applying a clear sealant to a low grade Amazonite, for example, will bring out a much more vibrant colour.
Let me tell you why this sort of practice is not only ok, it is a GOOD thing. In the past (and still far too prevalent today – the industry has a LONG way to go) miners were terribly exploited. They could work for weeks or months and only find low quality stone, that they would not get anything for.
Now, ethical companies are changing the game by supporting these miners, and buying both the lower quality and the high quality stone.
They are willing to spend a bit of extra time cleaning and shining up the lower quality to make it more sellable, so that the miners can get paid better overall.
It also means as customers you have a budgetary choice – lower quality stones are more affordable at retail level too.
As long as you are buying from a reputable seller, you will see the price difference and grading difference in these products.