How to spot fake beads - Bead Shop Red Deer

How to Spot Genuine Gemstone Beads Like a Pro

Hey there gemstone enthusiasts! Ever wondered if those shiny beads you’ve got are the real deal or just fancy imitations?

One of the biggest questions we get asked, is how can you tell if a bead is real or fake?

Well, fear not! We're diving into the world of gemstone authenticity to help you separate the gems from the fakes. Here are some rock-solid tips to ensure you're getting the real deal every time:

  1. Know Your Stuff: Before you start inspecting those beads, it pays to have a little background knowledge. Each gemstone has its unique characteristics, from color and luster to hardness and transparency. Familiarize yourself with these traits to better identify the real McCoy. Check out the stones' geology, what are their overall traits and colors.

  2. The Scratch Test: No, we're not talking about damaging your precious beads! But did you know that you can use a scratch test to identify some gemstones? For instance, real quartz won't easily scratch, whereas glass or plastic imitations will.

  3. Weight Matters: Genuine gemstone beads tend to be heavier than their synthetic counterparts. If your beads feel surprisingly lightweight, it might be a sign that they're not the real deal.

  4. Temperature Sensitivity: Gemstones are known for their thermal conductivity. Try holding the beads in your hand for a while and notice if they warm up. Genuine gemstones should quickly take on your body temperature, while synthetic ones might feel already warm and will adapt quickly to their surrounding temperatures.

  5. Check for Flaws: Imperfections can be a good thing when it comes to spotting genuine gemstones. Natural stones often have inclusions or slight irregularities, whereas synthetic ones tend to be more flawless. Like amethyst will show some cracks or different inclusions. Only when you get into high quality like A Grade precious stones do you see more clarity.

  6. Color Consistency: Natural gemstones usually have slight color variations throughout the beads. If you notice uniform coloration across all the beads in your strand, it could be a sign that they're not the real McCoy.

  7. The Water Test: This one's a classic. Simply drop your bead into a glass of water. Genuine gemstones will sink due to their density, while imitations might float or behave differently. Jet for instance as this is a coal, it is very light and may not sink.

  8. Seek Certification: When in doubt, seek out certified gemstones. Reputable sellers often provide certificates of authenticity, detailing the gemstone's origin and quality. 

  9. Trust Your Instincts: Sometimes, your gut feeling can be your best guide. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Trust your instincts and opt for reputable sellers with a track record of authenticity.

A few beads that are sold under false names with claims of being natural are:

  • 1. Malachite - if this has defined black veins and a bright green, that is typically a fake stone
  • 2. Moonstone - holographic glass beads or aka mermaid glass is often sold as a moonstone or even a quartz.
  • 3. Onyx - most onyx beads will be dyed or color enhanced, but some sources may try to electroplate glass beads and sell them as onyx, this one can be much harder to determine if its fake. Break a bead open and you wil know for sure!

Now, let's delve into the different types of gemstone beads you might encounter:

Natural Gemstone Beads: These are beads made from genuine gemstones that are mined from the earth. They retain their natural properties and often have unique imperfections that add to their beauty.

Our Amethyst and Rose Quartz Beads are examples of genuine natural gemstone beads.
Synthetic Gemstone Beads: These beads are created in laboratories to mimic the appearance of natural gemstones. While they may look similar, they lack the same geological characteristics and may have a more uniform appearance.
Stones like Opalite and Goldstone and Cherry Quartz are examples of man made stone, so they are more uniform in appearance but still have properties of natural stones.
Stabilized Gemstone Beads: Stabilized gemstones are natural stones that have been treated to improve their durability and color. This process involves injecting resins or other substances into the stone to fill fractures or pores, resulting in a more stable and vibrant bead.
Stabilized Turquoise Pink Bead
Stabilized Turquoise is an example, it comes in a large variety of colors, some with abalone shell
Dyed Gemstone Beads: Dyed gemstones are natural stones that have been artificially colored to enhance or alter their appearance. While the dye may fade over time, dyed gemstone beads can offer a wide range of vibrant colors not found in natural stones.
Galaxy Tiger Eye is a very popular bead because the deep blues and purples, this is a dyed gemstone. All our stones are marked if they are color enhanced.

By understanding the differences between these types of gemstone beads and employing the tips mentioned earlier, you'll be well-equipped to identify genuine gemstones and make informed purchasing decisions. Happy beading.

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