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We've talked about fake bead materials before
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Posted by: Russ Nobbs Post Reply
04/28/2014, 16:05:07

I collected some of the info about imitation and enhanced stones and put them in a simplified form with pictures.

Are all beads from China fakes? How can you tell turquoise from magnesite? What does "stabilized turquoise" mean? Find some answers at the latest Rings & Things blog entry.
http://www.rings-things.com/blog/2014/04/28/how-can-you-tell-if-gemstone-beads-are-genuine-or-imitation


Related link: Imitation vs real gem materials

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Breaking beads to see what is inside
Re: We've talked about fake bead materials before -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Russ Nobbs Post Reply
04/28/2014, 16:15:28

We do a lot of that at Rings & Things. Remember the resin replica of malachite that I broke and burned? Here is a shot of some of the broken stones we've collected.

The "faux" malachite is in front, in the middle, Surface dyed purple turquoise on the right side. Various pieces of turquoise are in the rear. Some are stabilized, some are surface enhanced possibly with wax.

The big block in the back is compressed "azurite-malachite" made from probably dyed lapis and malachite held together with resin.



Modified by Russ Nobbs at Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 16:16:37

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The missing picture
Re: We've talked about fake bead materials before -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Russ Nobbs Post Reply
04/28/2014, 16:17:27

The "faux" malachite is in front, in the middle.
Surface dyed purple turquoise on the right side.
Various pieces of turquoise are in the rear.
Some are stabilized, some are surface enhanced possibly with wax.

The big block in the back is compressed "azurite-malachite" made from probably dyed lapis and malachite held together with resin.

Broken4BlogC011.jpg (176.6 KB)  


Modified by Russ Nobbs at Mon, Apr 28, 2014, 16:18:41

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Excellent info Russ...
Re: The missing picture -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Stefany Post Reply
04/29/2014, 07:29:14

additionally glass beads and shapes especially from China are or were often drilled from quality glass with no bubbles which makes it look like it must have been stone or crystal etc.

Hardness is a critical factor.

we used to find carved jade lookalikes in the olive or khaki range that were actually identified as bowenite, a form of serpentine, but having a slight translucency.



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Thanks for breaking beads with us!
Re: The missing picture -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: globalbeads Post Reply
05/01/2014, 09:29:36

Kathleen, Global Beads, Inc

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Maybe also compressed azurite-malachite?
Re: The missing picture -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Anansi Post Reply
05/02/2014, 04:24:15

Dear Russ,hope you can help me with the ID of this block. I already had my doubt about it. Bought the block a few months ago in Morocco and I know a lot of the "stones" they offer in Morocco are dyed but this one looked good. Seeing your picture I'm afraid it may also be 'faux', and not the real azurite and malachite they promised me.

Nel

Malachiet_en_azuriet,_voorzijde.jpg (90.9 KB)  Backsite_with_malachiet_en_azuriet.jpg (150.2 KB)  


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I think it is natural.
Re: Maybe also compressed azurite-malachite? -- Anansi Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: lopacki Post Reply
05/02/2014, 08:18:57



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I'd also guess natural
Re: Maybe also compressed azurite-malachite? -- Anansi Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Russ Nobbs Post Reply
05/02/2014, 23:27:14

It looks like real rock to me.

The compressed block made with lapis and malachite rarely has an host rock as these do.

The piece sticking up out of the first picture is a little suspicious, only because it's a common practice to salt a specimen by gluing a crystal or a 2nd piece of stone to make it more interesting. If that were the case you might be able to see some glue around the base of the outcropping.

Pictures of salted specimens show up regularly in the The fakes and frauds section of Mindat.org



Modified by Russ Nobbs at Fri, May 02, 2014, 23:31:26

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There is no glue to be seen so I do hope it's real!
Re: I'd also guess natural -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Anansi Post Reply
05/06/2014, 10:51:47



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School of hard knocks......I mean rocks......
Re: We've talked about fake bead materials before -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
04/28/2014, 18:28:39

Russ, this is a super crash-course, thank you for sharing this!
Everyone interested in stone beads can benefit from this, even if not interested in the newest stuff out on the market. The education is super important in this changing world! ( I remember a horrid thing called "candy agate" in the retail store I worked in a few years ago....whitish, with dyed lavender/green blobs, and smelling like cotton candy........mmmmm, good! Watch your fillings, tho...)



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Just a couple brief comments about blue and yellow sapphire
Re: We've talked about fake bead materials before -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
04/28/2014, 18:53:23

Russ -

Heat treatment of sapphire started back in the 1970s when the Thais imported milky white "geuda" sapphire from Sri Lanka.

"Geuda was frequently stored in large drums or used to gravel home gardens prior to the 1970s discovery that heat treatment can drastically alter the stone's color." --Wikipedia

The Sri Lankans were mighty peeved when they discovered that the Thais had been buying geuda for pennies, heat treating it to blue, and then selling it for thousands.

So, not yellow to blue, but milky junk to blue.

Good deep yellow sapphire used to be rather scarce, and then it was discovered that diffusing beryllium into the crytal matrix at high heat would impart beautiful yellow and padparascha (pink/orange) and orange tones.

Boy, did the poop hit the fan when gem dealers discovered that the rare padparascha sapphires they'd purchased were treated and not naturally colored stones.


Related link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geuda

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Thank you so much Russ! Just what I needed to know about current stone beads and
Re: We've talked about fake bead materials before -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: paeonia Post Reply
04/29/2014, 03:53:25

Are these real good turquoise from US natives? The seller told me that her father brought it in the 60' from US and then it stayed all the time in a drawer. Were stones already enhanced at that time ? Thanks for your advices.
paeonia

IMG_2999web.jpg (74.9 KB)  IMG_3000web.jpg (41.1 KB)  


Modified by paeonia at Tue, Apr 29, 2014, 03:54:44

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Look natural to me
Re: Thank you so much Russ! Just what I needed to know about current stone beads and -- paeonia Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: lopacki Post Reply
04/29/2014, 09:25:38

Paeonia,
The turquoise in your images look natural. If in fact these are as old as you were told and treated in this time period the matrix in the stone would not be dull but shiny with no pits. Also the stone itself would have more of a shine not the rather dull look.

All my best ........ Danny



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Your strand appears to be untreated
Re: Thank you so much Russ! Just what I needed to know about current stone beads and -- paeonia Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Russ Nobbs Post Reply
04/29/2014, 09:30:52

Thanks for posting your strand. It's not possible to be sure from a photo but I'd guess that your beads are natural turquoise.

I don't see any tell-tale puddles of plastic filling the crevices. Neither do I see darkening in the crevices typical of shoe polish or other "enhanced matrix" tricks.
Some stones appear to have absorbed body oils and deepened in color.
Most are a light blue typical of mid grade stone.

Turquoise has been enhanced for a long time. Early on with grease & oils, later with wax and colored wax. Sometime in the 50's resin or epoxy was first used to stabilize turquoise.

I don't remember when shell workers in the Philippines began to make heishi to supply the US market. I suspect the shell heishi on your necklace is from the Philippines rather than being made at Santo Domingo Pueblo.



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Ahh good news ! Thank you very much Danny and Russ. I finally hold some natural stones.
Re: Thank you so much Russ! Just what I needed to know about current stone beads and -- paeonia Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: paeonia Post Reply
04/29/2014, 10:09:28

It became so difficult to find natural stone beads I had to look at the vintage string hoping they are good. I can now wear the necklace proudly. I don't understand why they make all that surreal stone colors as Joyce said... my photos weren't very good so here's another one hoping it better.

IMG_3003web.jpg (129.7 KB)  


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Very nice! I like the hand-made look of these, and soft matte finish. Enjoy them!
Re: Ahh good news ! Thank you very much Danny and Russ. I finally hold some natural stones. -- paeonia Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
04/29/2014, 19:00:42



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As usual, excellent info from R&T
Re: We've talked about fake bead materials before -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Luann Udell Post Reply
04/30/2014, 06:47:44

I'm always amazed (pleasantly so) at the integrity and generosity of you & your company. I came to appreciate early on that I could rely on quality and support from Rings 'n' Things. I tell every new bead stringer I meet about your products, and your resources. The first I learned about "blueberry quartz" and "African turquoise" was on the R&T website.

I actually bought this strand (marked as turquoise and priced accordingly) years ago at an R&T roadshow. But when a bead broke, it turned out to be something other. Now I can see the worn spots on the tops and bottoms of the rondelles that obviously point to "not turquoise".

No regrets, though. R&T staff said they'd check the rest of the stock. I felt better, because I know they'd been fooled, too! And I'd already SAVED so much money by not investing in other misrepresented stone beads I see elsewhere, thanks to R&T's resources, I didn't mind. In fact, I like them so much, I still use them in some designs.

There are now so many new products, and "new" stone beads, I always check in with Russ or his staff whenever I come across a puzzler. I think the ready availability of beads at places like Michaels and Joann Fabric and even Walmart, and the proliferation of craft books and magazines, have greatly increased the desire for vivid colors (bright purple, magenta, etc.) that just don't occur in nature, or even in ordinary glass without enhancements and coatings.

So a huge thank you, Russ, for all the work you put into educating and enlightening us all!

20140430_093048_(590x332).jpg (125.3 KB)  
Luann Udell artist & writer Ancient stories retold in modern artifacts LuannUdell.com

Modified by Luann Udell at Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 06:48:02

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We learn new stuff every day in the bead business
Re: As usual, excellent info from R&T -- Luann Udell Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Russ Nobbs Post Reply
05/01/2014, 15:52:16

Thanks for your kind words about Rings & Things, Luann.

There are always new names and "new" stones in this business. Some are truly laughable like "turkey turquoise." (Go on!Google it.) Others are misleading and give our industry a bad name. I enjoy the hunt trying to find out what these new things are.

We've made our share of mistakes too. We've had to quickly change our names, tags and website descriptions when we bought something that wasn't what we thought it was.

Bead & stone research and education is an ongoing process.



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They would have been smarter to pass it off as fordite!
Re: We learn new stuff every day in the bead business -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Luann Udell Post Reply
05/05/2014, 13:59:02

I would have bought some. :^)

Luann Udell artist & writer Ancient stories retold in modern artifacts LuannUdell.com

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The Hammer Test...
Re: We've talked about fake bead materials before -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
05/02/2014, 21:34:51

I came by a strand of low-risk "turquoise" beads last weekend, strung with dyed branch bamboo coral. They're all close to 10mm long, and breaking a bead shows that the color is all the way through. There's a nice color variance, and the shapes remind me of Chinese, though the color had me thinking of American at first. Any feedback on these?

Broken bead is seen on the lower left of the first image, lower right of the second image.

chturq1.jpg (42.9 KB)  chturq2.jpg (59.9 KB)  


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Re: The Hammer Test...
Re: The Hammer Test... -- Joyce Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Russ Nobbs Post Reply
05/02/2014, 23:18:02

I'd guess American or Mexican but it could be Chinese.
Stabilized with clear treat - no dye added.
No black dye to simulate matrix.

Cracking open the bead really helps.



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Thanks, Russ,
Re: Re: The Hammer Test... -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
05/03/2014, 19:24:58

They string to a nice bracelet length, well worth the 10.00 I spent. And it surely is worthwhile to break a bead, at least at the price I paid for them.



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Super thread by Russ in 2008
Re: We've talked about fake bead materials before -- Russ Nobbs Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
05/05/2014, 07:16:47

This begins with some Chinese millefiori, but read the whole thing.


Related link: Imitiations Stone from China...Magnesite, also dyed block material

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