While crystals can often be obtained cheaply, it is getting harder and harder to tell if the rocks, jewelry, or beads are real or fake.
One of the ways to spot a fake crystal bead or rock is to use a lighter in your examination.
This article explains why this does (or does not work).
How To Tell If a Crystal Is Real With a Lighter
The established practice is to hold the supposed crystal over a lighter flame for 10-20 seconds, and then observe what happens.
A real crystal would survive the flame, while plastic would certainly not.
Why This Works (Sometimes)
While plastics melt at different temperatures, most commonly used plastics in jewelry in place of crystals do not require significant heat to melt or warp.
This is why even a brief toast over a lighter flame can cause a fake crystal to change.
A crystal (such as quartz) does not burn or melt until very serious heat has been applied to it (definitely more than a lighter flame’s heat)
If you put a bead over a flame and it smokes, smells, or melts, it is definitely not a real crystal.
Why This Might Not Work
Cheap plastic melts at relatively low temperatures.
But glass, on the other hand, won’t.
In fact, you’d need to apply a pretty significant heat to a piece of crystal you suspect to be glass to cause it to warp or melt.
If you put a bead into a flame and it doesn’t melt, you can’t say for sure that the bead is the crystal you think it is, or real at all.
But the flame should help you rule out plastic.
Tips When Trying Out The Lighter Trick
When you put a real crystal into a flame, the stone will likely still turn black.
This is not the stone burning, and the black marks should be cleaned off easily.
If you try and burn a stone finished with a commercial polish, the burn mark should be able to be cleaned off, but the stone underneath might be returned to its previous shine without additional polishing.
When you put a real stone into a lighter flame, you should not smell anything burning, or see any wisps of smoke.
The rock will not change shape if it is not plastic.
If your rock is plastic, the surface of the material qill quickly bubble, warp, give off a smell, and might even catch flame.
Other Tips To Identify a Real Crystal
If you have managed to confirm that the material is not plastic, you will still need to confirm that the material is not made of glass.
If your crystal is quartz, you know that its hardness is is around a 6-7.
Glass, on the other hand, is only in the range of 5 to 5.5.
Quartz cannot be scratched by a kitchen knife, while glass can.
Quartz cannot be scratched by a fingernail or copper penny.
Quartz cannot be scratched by a piece of glass either.
You can try these various scratch tests to determine the hardness of the material and further rule out that your material is made of glass.
Can You Be Sure That The Crystal Is Real With A Lighter Plus a Scratch Test?
This depends on what your crystal is, and what you expect it to be.
There are many crystals that look very similar, and also have similar hardness ratings.
There are many names for the variety of colors of quartz, and some quartz is artificially colored with heat or dyes.
Scratch tests and flames will not help confirm the identity of your kind of quartz, or confirm whether the stone is natural or synthetic.
But these tests will help at the very least rule out glass and plastic.
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