Tourmaline is a high-value gemstone.
The name of the Tourmaline came from the word tummala.
It means mixed-colored stone.
Two or more colors in a single crystal are the indication of authentic Tourmaline stones.
Many sellers try to make counterfeit copies with cheaper materials.
It is better to learn how to tell if Tourmaline is real or fake to ensure you get the authentic crystal.
People carry Tourmaline to increase feelings of love.
They also keep it to repel negative emotions.
You will not get these healing benefits with the fake Tourmaline stones.
How to Tell if a Tourmaline is Real or Fake?
The simplest way to tell if black tourmaline is real or fake is to scratch the side of the crystal with a steel knife. If the knife becomes blunt or scratched, the stone is likely genuine. Tourmaline is an extremely hard stone and therefore should not scratch.
You can identify the Tourmaline crystals by checking their physical features.
Some tests can also help you distinguish between authentic Tourmaline and counterfeit copies made of plastic or glass material.
It is expensive to make Tourmaline in labs as there are different types of chemicals in crystal.
The cost of manufacturing Tourmaline is higher than acquiring one from the market.
Sellers are only left with a choice of imitating Tourmaline with cheaper materials.
You can start by learning the naming system for different colored Tourmaline.
You can check the tourmaline color from different angles to find its authenticity.
Hardness tests and surface luster can provide hints about the stone’s authenticity.
You can also look for inclusions and ask about the origin information from the seller.
It is better to estimate the value of the tourmaline gem by its size and cut quality.
1. To Tell if a Tourmaline is Real or Fake, Understand How Colour Affects Nomenclature
You can get colorless to black Tourmaline crystals on the market.
You may find different colors along the length of the Tourmaline.
You can call it bicolor Tourmaline if it has two colors.
Tricolor Tourmaline has three colors along the length of the crystal.
Uvite and Dravite are crystals from the Tourmaline crystal group with many ornamental applications.
You may find a black crystal in the market by the name Schorl.
It is also a Tourmaline with a different market name due to its black color.
- The black or brown Tourmaline crystals are known as Dravite.
- You can get Uvite in dark shades of green and brown.
- Schorl has a black or blue-green color.
- Elbaite has the most shades and colors in the Tourmaline crystal class.
- Chromdravite has a dark green color.
2. To Tell if a Tourmaline is Real or Fake, Search for Pleochroism
Pleochroism is a phenomenon that allows a crystal to show two colors when viewed from different angles.
If you have a crystal that changes color when you change its direction, you can call it a pleochroic crystal.
Some people think that pleochroism is the same as color zoning.
These are not the same things.
Zoning is due to different color impurities in the crystal.
Pleochroism is due to the specific way light reacts to the crystal structure.
You will not see a change in color from different angles in the case of zoning.
You can also use your mobile camera to take pictures of the Tourmaline from different angles.
The authentic Tourmaline crystals will show a different color from different angles.
These colors are not subjective, as the mobile camera will show the same colors from the same angle as your eyes.
A fake Tourmaline crystal will not show pleochroism.
You will see the same color from all angles.
The Tourmaline crystals with green and brown colors will show a strong pleochroism effect.
You may see the cat’s eyes effect due to pleochroism in some tourmaline crystals.
Light bends inside the Tourmaline crystals to concentrate at the center.
It will give the appearance of the cat eye pupils on the crystal.
3. To Tell if a Tourmaline is Real or Fake, Check the Luster
All types of Tourmaline crystals give a vitreous luster.
You will see a glass-like shine on the surface of the tourmaline stone.
Some sellers try to sell you counterfeit opaque rocks without vitreous luster instead of Schorl.
Sellers will tell you that it is a rare Tourmaline crystal with a metallic shine.
They may also sell fake matte crystals.
You should never accept such crystals as they are fake.
It is essential to look for the glass-like shine.
A surface made of plastic material will also give a different appearance.
When the sellers make counterfeit crystals from glass, you can use a hardness test to distinguish crystals.
4. To Tell if a Tourmaline is Real or Fake, Do the Hardness Test
Tourmaline is a hard crystal as you cannot scratch it with most of the materials available in your home.
Tourmaline crystals have a hardness score of 7 to 7.5 on the Moh Hardness Scale.
You can use a glass to check the authenticity of the Tourmaline crystals.
In the first step, you can use the glass and try to scratch the crystal’s surface.
If glass produces scratches on the crystal’s surface, it is a fake Tourmaline.
Authentic Tourmaline has a higher hardness score than glass.
You can also use the Tourmaline to scratch the glass surface.
Authentic tourmaline crystals will make a scratch on the glass surface.
Steel knives have a hardness score of 5 on the Moh hardness scale.
The knife will not make a scratch on the Tourmaline surface.
It is a perfect test to identify counterfeit Tourmaline crystals made of glass and plastic.
These materials have a lower hardness score.
5. To Tell if a Tourmaline is Real or Fake, Find the Place of Origin of Your Tourmaline
Information about the place of origin can reveal the crystal’s identity.
You can ask about the place of origin of the crystal before finalizing the deal with the crystal seller.
- Most brown and yellow Tourmaline crystals come from Sri Lanka.
- Pink Elbaites and Brown Uvite Tourmaline crystals come from Mynamar.
- Russia is the source of pink and blue Tourmaline crystals.
- You can get the green Tourmaline crystals from Namibia.
If you do not get accurate information from the seller, you can consult experts before finalizing the deal.
You can ask the seller about the Brown Tourmaline origin.
They should tell you it is from Sri Lanka.
If they tell you it is from some other country, you need to do more tests to confirm the crystal’s identity.
6. To Tell if a Tourmaline is Real or Fake, Search for Inclusions
Inclusions are one of the crucial factors to identify the crystals.
All gemstones have some inclusions because minerals trap inside the crystals during the formation process.
Tourmaline crystals have specific inclusions.
Manufacturers cannot add these inclusions to the synthetic crystals.
- Irregular cavities in the shape of threads are most common in the Tourmaline crystals.
- You can see the flat film made of black minerals in the Red Tourmaline Crystals. This film will appear from a specific angle.
- Some Tourmaline crystals from Brazil have metallic yellow inclusions.
- Color zoning is also a type of inclusion in the Tourmaline crystals.
7. To Tell if a Tourmaline is Real or Fake, Take a Look at the Cut and Size of Your Tourmaline
It is hard to find a piece of Tourmaline crystal with fewer inclusions.
Jewelers cut a part of Tourmaline crystal to get a part with fewer inclusions.
These crystal pieces have a high value.
You will not find a large crystal without inclusions from retail around the corner of the street.
Only a high-quality reputed seller has access to these crystals pieces as they sell them at higher prices.
If unsure about the stone’s identity, you can ask about its origin.
It is also possible to get help from experts when you want to make an expensive purchase.
- Most Tourmaline crystals have a step-cut pavilion with a cut crown at the top.
- You may see trap-cutting in blue and green Tourmaline.
- You will find thin slabs of watermelon-colored Tourmaline crystals.
To Summarize: How to Tell if Tourmaline is Real or Fake
It is essential to check the authenticity of the Tourmaline crystals to avoid fake crystals in the market.
You will save your money and time by following some crucial points.
- There are specific names for Tourmaline crystals of different colors.
- All authentic Tourmaline crystals should have pleochroism.
- Tourmaline crystals should have a glass-like luster.
- A hardness test can distinguish fake and authentic Tourmaline crystals.
- Place of origin information and presence of inclusions will give you confirmation of Tourmaline authenticity.
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Last Updated on March 16, 2023 by Roger