At-Home Crystal Testing and Identification
Do you have a crystal you'd like to test to see if it's genuine or fake? Or do you have a crystal that you don't know what it is? The good news is that there are various methods for testing crystals yourself that do not require the purchase of pricey equipment!
Learn how to analyse and identify crystals in your own house.
Make your own crystal testing kit.
Fluorite Testing and Identification at Home
Making your own crystal test kit is simple, and most of the ingredients should be readily available in your home. A basic kit includes the following items:
glass that is solid (aka a glass plate)
your ring fingernail
white unglazed porcelain tile (aka a streak plate)
black unglazed porcelain tile (aka a streak plate)
steel nail or file magnifying glass knife copper coin magnet
Visit our Mohs scale of hardness page to get a better picture of what a crystal test kit would look like.
Color is used to identify crystals.
At-Home Crystal Testing and Identification
Raw crystals in various forms
Before you start scratching or burning your entire crystal collection, get yourself a crystal book that organises crystals in order of colour (The Encyclopedia of Crystals by Judy Hall and The Crystal Healer Volumes 1 and 2 by Philip Permutt are great books for this). Assume you have a pink crystal and are unsure whether it is Rose Quartz, Pink Opal, Rhodonite, Rhodochrosite, or Pink Mangano Calcite... Compare your crystal to the other pink crystals in the book (or search for pink crystals on google and compare your crystal to the images online). This is frequently an easy way to determine what crystal you have. Other non-harmful tests include using a magnifying glass to examine patterns and a magnet to hunt for magnetic crystals.
Identify and test crystals using the Mohs hardness scale.
Identifying and Testing Crystals at Home Raw Blue Calcite
You may be asking what a fingernail or a shard of glass has to do with crystal testing... All of these tools can be used to test the hardness of a crystal using the Mohs scale of hardness.
Mohs' hardness is a phrase that means "scratch hardness" and was coined in 1812 by German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs. Mohs devised a system in which minerals were tested for hardness with a pointed object, with 1 being the softest (for example, talc, which will be scratched by a fingernail) and 10 being the hardest (for example, diamond, which is the hardest mineral on the scale and will not be scratched by softer crystals).
You may also use your own crystals to scrape other crystals to discover if they are softer or tougher than your Apatite (Apatite rates as a 5). If you don't want to damage your crystal, don't undertake any of the scratch tests (or choose an inconspicuous place to test).
Here are several examples:
You can have a Clear Quartz crystal that you're not sure if it's real Clear Quartz or a fake made of glass. Testing the crystal's hardness will quickly indicate what you have... A Clear Quartz crystal can scratch glass, but glass cannot scratch a Clear Quartz crystal.
You're not sure if you have a Calcite or a Selenite piece. You would use a fingernail for this test because it is rated as a 2-2.5 on the Mohs scale and can scratch Selenite, which is ranked as a 2. A fingernail, on the other hand, will not be able to scratch Calcite because it is stronger than a fingernail and is ranked as a 3 on the Mohs scale.
Using streak testing, you can identify crystals.
Identifying and Testing Crystals at Home Raw Hematite
Another method for testing crystals is to perform a streak test using either unglazed white porcelain tile or unglazed black porcelain tile. Some crystals leave a highly telling stripe of colour on the tile (the crushed mineral powder) that will help you determine what it is. Here are several examples:
Hematite, which might have the appearance of grey, silver, red, brown, or black, will leave a reddish stain on the tile.
Fluorite will leave a white streak on the tile if it is green, purple, blue, yellow, transparent, or a combination of these colours.
When tested, Pyrite, which looks extremely similar to Gold, leaves a black streak on the tile, whereas Gold leaves a yellow streak.
Calcite, which might be pink, blue, green, yellow, red, orange, or transparent, will always produce a white streak regardless of its real colour.
If you're not sure whether you have Lapis Lazuli or Sodalite, Lapis Lazuli will leave a blue streak and Sodalite will leave a white streak.
How to Determine Whether Your Crystals Have Been Dyed
Dyed Blue Crystal Testing and Identification Howlite
You can tell if your crystals have been coloured by doing the following tests:
Wiping the crystal with a cotton bud dipped in nail paint remover. If the cotton bud has colour from the crystal and the crystal now has a paler patch, you've got a dyed crystal.
Scratching the crystal with something with a high Mohs hardness (make sure you scratch with a material higher than what the crystal to test is). The crystal under examination should scratch readily, allowing you to reveal the true colour underlying.
How to Determine Whether Your Crystals Are Plastic
Amber Testing and Identification at Home
A hot needle test can be used to determine whether you have a genuine crystal or one manufactured of plastic. When employing this approach, insert the opposite end of the needle into a piece of cork so you have something to grab onto without burning your fingers. As an example:
If the turquoise is plastic, it will melt; if the turquoise is real, it will burn.
Genuine Amber will have a little pine scent.
If you don't have any crystals to test and want to perform scratch testing, use the Mohs scale to test Shungite, Onyx, and Black Obsidian crystals. They'll all appear identical at first glance, but you should be able to determine which is the Shungite because both the Obsidian and Onyx can scratch it. The Shungite, on the other hand, will not be able to scratch the other two crystals.
Finally, see our How to Spot False Crystals blog for further information on what to look for in coloured or fake crystals.