How to Tell If Agate Is Real or Fake?

How to Tell If Agate Is Real or Fake

Fake agate is mostly opaque. Real agate is translucent—light can pass through the stone. If you notice round bubbles, this means that the Agate is fake. Opaque appearance is a sign of a fake plastic Agate made. If you see scratches on the surface of the Agate, it is a common sign of fake Agate.

Agate is one of the most abundant semi-precious stones which has exuberant designs and hues. Thus, they are widely used in jewelry making and allow the creation of fascinating patterns and designs.

The use of agates dates back to the prehistoric age, and it holds its importance to this day. These stones are not only used for fashion and styling; the benefits of real agate make them a valuable element in the world of astrology, manifestation, and healing.

But the challenge here is how to tell if agate is real or fake. Purchasing stones and crystals can be taxing if you are not proficient enough to discern between the real and fake. Here are some tested ways to help you land the right piece of agate. 

Can Agate be Faked in Any Way?

Fake agates are formed by a variety of materials, and the most commonly available elements include semi-opaque glass, plastic fibers, and the use of chalcedony in low-level agates.

Generally, the fake ones are highly radiant and fine in unnaturally bright hues like emerald green, neon blue, bright pink or Fuschia, and even uniform black.

These are created from fake agate mages of chalcedony dyes. 

Fake agates fail to transmit light.

This means if no light passes through the stone and it is completely opaque, it is an indicator that the stone is fake and made of plastic or jasper.

Also, such agates hold several scratches, which can be seen on the surface itself.

Sometimes, fake agates also contain round bubbles within the stone. This happens when glass particles pose as agates. 

How to Tell If Agate Is Real or Fake?

If the agate is fake, then the material could be glass.

While real agate is transparent, it will diffract when you shine a ray of light through the stone.

This implies that the light will bend at certain angles in place of simply passing through it.

Also, real agate has considerable weight while glass is lighter. 

1. To Tell if Agate Is Real or Fake, Check the Fibrous Structure

A critical feature of agate is its fibrous structure which is impossible to replicate in fake agates.

Even though agates are made of microscopic quartz, they are never randomly oriented.

They are organized in bands of parallelly arranged crystals which are referred to as fibers.

These fibers are sometimes not visible to the naked eyes.

So a sure way to determine whether your agate is natural is to place it before a flashlight and observe the surface closely.

A natural agate consisting of concentric banding comes with fibers like gossamer or spider webs.

These lines will operate perpendicularly to the banding and be strongly visible in the boundary.

2. To Tell if Agate Is Real or Fake, Check the Coloration

The first step towards how to tell if agate is real or fake is to check the color of the agate.

You can never find swirls or bubbles in real agate.

On the contrary, there will be bands of different hues.

It is mostly found in muted, soft colors rather than bright and dashing colors.

Real agates come in a broad array of colors, often ranging from light yellow to milky brown or white, light orange, reddish brown, and light and dark brown.

The presence of multicolored bands forming in horizontal layers or circles makes the agate real.

3. To Tell if Agate Is Real or Fake, Check the Patterns

Many people collect real agates for their inclusions or patterns, and some of them include.

  • Moss agate. It looks like moss growth or hose-like tubes that are oriented in different directions. While moss agate is often milky clear or white in color, they often have inclusions in several colors. This green color is brought about by iron oxides or chrome. 
  • Tube agate. It appears like a test tube, work, or straw. In most cases, the tube gets filled, but hollow tubes are also visible at times. 
  • Dendritic agate. This refers to thin and delicate two-dimensional inclusions that appear like trees. In most cases, milky or clear white agates have inclusions that are red, brown, or black. The black is formed from manganese oxides, while the brown and red are derived from iron oxides. 
  • Metallic inclusions. Marcasite, pyrite, chalcopyrite, and copper inclusions are found in agate. 
  • Eye agate. These inclusions are orbs that are concentrically banded, which makes them appear like the bull’s eye. The shape of these eyes is a hemisphere, and the flat surface is pointed at the outer face of the stone.

4. To Tell if Agate Is Real or Fake, Perform the Scratch Test

With a real agate, you can even scratch a glass.

This is because agate is a kind of cryptocrystalline quartz, and its hardness matches that of quartz.

It is so hard that a knife won’t be able to cut or scratch it.

On Mohs Hardness Scale, the hardness of agate ranks at seven, whereas glass ranks at 5.

This explains why agate can easily scratch glass.

It’s worth mentioning that the Mohs hardness scale is used to measure the relative hardness of various elements along with how far they can resist scratching. 

What Are the Signs of a Fake Moss Agate?

Consider Checking the Seams and Periphery on the Stone

Real moss agate comes in different patterns and seems to resemble landscapes with moss, trees, and ferns.

And this magnificent effect is brought about by the crystal of chlorite.

The primary difference between real and fake moss agate lies in transparency.

In the real crystal, you will find an intriguing dark green bond on the grayish-blue backdrop.

On the other hand, the body of a fake crystal will be completely opaque. 

A sure means to tell whether the moss agate is artificial is by looking at the border of the jewel for seams.

If it is created artificially by solidifying two glass layers, a joint can be spotted easily where two glasses are pasted.

On the contrary, a natural agate will never display such a joint or seam which looks like translucent sheets. 

What Are the Common Types of Agate and How to Identify Them?

1. Fortification Agate

It refers to the age-old banded stone that has an inward formation stemming from the cavity walls.

But they may also have a hollow at the center with the quartz crystal coming out.

There is a huge variety of colors, and the name fortification agate is derived from the clear bands which look like layers of walls. 

2. Fire Agate

Fire agate manifests an iridescent color that is similar to the mother of pearl.

You will be surprised to know that both of them have similar properties.

However, fire agate generally comes in the shades of red, yellow, bright green, or blue present across a darker backdrop.

This often gives them the hues of fire opal and black opal.

Thus, it is favored by jewelers and gemstone collectors alike. 

3. Onyx

Onyx agate refers to a parallel banded variant of a silicate material called chalcedony.

Onyx and agates are forms of layered chalcedony that have differences only in the band forms.

While agate comes with curved bands, an onyx will sport parallel bands only.

The tint of these bands can be of any color, while black and white are most common. 

4. Iris Agate

It is a type of banding that reflects an iridescence of beautiful rainbow colors.

It produces a fine display of various shades when properly cut and illuminated from a point sending light through the thin bands.

It is called iris agate since the word iris means rainbow-like color display.

This is mostly found in Brazil and Mexico. 

What Are the Differences between Agate and Chalcedony?

Chalcedony is an umbrella term for referring to a microcrystalline type of silica.

On the other hand, agate is a form of translucent chalcedony.

Chalcedony contains very fine growth of moganite and silica.

Without any presence of impurities, chalcedony appears to be transparent and absolutely colorless.

But the existence of impurities at the time of formation determines the color of agate.

This can range from red, yellow, and blue to grey, white, and even some colorless shades that lie in between. 

Agate, being a form of translucent chalcedony, allows light to pass through and also forms various shades based on the impurities that go within during formation.

In some instances, it may also lead to the formation of concentric banding within the nodule or cracks of rocks.

Sometimes, agate is also formed in cavities of fossils which also explains the reason why some fossils become agatized. 

Is Agate Only Found with Concentric Bands?

The inclusions in an agate can be of various forms, and it is not always restricted to concentric banding.

There are several variants of chalcedony that are classified under agate.

While some may have inclusions that resemble spots, others may have mineral inclusions that are present all over the surface.

Sometimes, spore-like inclusions are also seen on the crystal surface, and they are called moss agates. 

To Summarize: How to Tell if Agate is Real or Fake

While there is an abundance of fake agates in the market, they can nowhere match the beauty and shine of a real one.

Thus, it is important to find out how to tell if agate is real or fake.

And this can only be achieved when you are sure about the physical properties and unique qualities of this rock.

When buying an agate, it’s important to pay attention to the fibers, banding, translucency, and color that can help you steer clear of fake stones or plastics.