Ever since 10 to 15 years ago – when the price of Moldavite skyrocketed from about 2 USD per gram to today’s more then 30 USD per gram – Moldavite has been the target of counterfeit operations from Asia and Africa.
What used to be little back yard operations where green bottles were melted down and then acid washed to form the fake Moldavites has become highly sophisticated industry manufacturing hundreds of kilograms of top quality synthetic “Moldavite” – incredible perfect looking large pieces, all nearly impossible to identify.
With prices for Authentic Moldavite increasing astronomically due to high demand and zero supply the quality of fake Moldavite went from laughable to nearly perfect. It happened in matter of only a few short years. Fake Moldavites these days are nearly impossible to be identified! Even experienced collectors have trouble telling a fake from the real thing in 2013.
This is what fakes looked like back in 2002.
Then 2007 came and the market got flooded with high quality fake Moldavite.
Some fake Moldavite sold today looks almost exactly like the real thing.
I’m sure you’ve all seen this famous Moldavite picture.
Why is it so famous? Because it’s perfect. Well, what if I tell you I can have them manufactured for $5 a piece, time to delivery 14 days, minimum order 100 pieces?! It’s frightening isn’t it?
It’s a real mine field out there. All fake Moldavites are being advertised and sold as Authentic Natural Moldavite. Sadly even some online shops in the Czech Republic are now complicit in those shady practices – simply because their supplies of real Moldavite have dried up. Some experts estimate that up to 80% of all Moldavites online might be counterfeit.
Luckily, there are some guide lines to follow in order to avoid being scammed online:
1. Always buy from a reputable Moldavite dealer
Don’t you prefer to pay a little more to a reliable Moldavite seller than spend years worrying that you’ve been ‘ripped off’? Communicate with the dealer. Ask for detailed pictures. Do they offer Money Back Guarantee?
Stay away from online auctions and websites selling whole sale Moldavite.
Above all, anything with any connection to Asia has “fake” written all over it!
2. Low price should be a giveaway
Is the price too good to be true? Even though there is no guarantee, manufacturers of fake Moldavite are in it for the quick buck so low price should always be the first giveaway. Even though some skilful counterfeiters deman higher prices, as well as some resellers who are sometimes not even aware what they’re selling! If it’s cheap it ain’t Moldavite! As a rule of a thumb be very wary of anything with a price tag of less than 20 USD per gram. Quality Authentic Natural Moldavite will certainly be more expensive than that these days.
3. Always buy only Natural Rough Moldavite
Counterfeiters often hide the fact they’re selling bogus Moldavite by using it in a jewelry. Those are absolutely the worst offenders. Absolutely avoid the following:
- Faceted Moldavites
- Sculptured Moldavite
- Moldavite Pendants
- Moldavite rings and other types of jewelry such as necklaces and ear rings
Stay away from anything polished or wire-wrapped. Buy only Natural Rough Moldavite (so you can inspect the quality yourself -fakes of Natural Rough Moldavite are much easier to spot). Have it made into jewelry yourself if that’s what you prefer.
4. If it’s “too clean” or “too perfect” it’s probably fake
Something to keep in mind is that Moldavite is 100% natural material which spent 15 mil years in the ground. So most quality Moldavites have bubbles inside of them, clay stuck in the edges, heated sand stuck on or inside of the specimen, lechatelierites (little white quartz looking crystals included on the Moldavite), and the shape should almost never be perfect. Fake Chinese pieces are perfect, with great color and no flaws. That lack of natural “imperfections” is clear indication you are looking at a fake!
5. Transparency and Color
Even though some counterfeiters are replicating the color, texture and bubbles almost close to perfection, some less quality lab-created fakes will look wet or shiny, have more opaque or bright vibrant green color and ridges and spines are less crisp.
Authentic Moldavite can be so deceptive because when on a table it is quite dull looking stone but hold it to the light and the color is just astounding. Depending on how thick the specimen is the Moldavite should look almost black when viewed with no direct light source shining through it.
One typical Moldavite feature is very difficult to fake. Varied glass density. Since Moldavite is molten rock, some parts of it will be denser than others and it will clearly show in transparency.
So to recap: Is it near black when not viewed with any light? Is the surface smooth or very detailed and deeply etched? Does it have any inclusions like bubbles, clay, melted sand, or lechatelierites on or inside of it? Does it come from the Czech Republic? Is it at least 20 USD per gram? No? Walk away from the transaction right now!