Expensive gemstones worn on the person can be a sign of success and style.
But what happens when the stones you wear are fake?
The popular trend of wearing gemstones as bracelets on the arm has grown in popularity over the past twenty years – maybe we can thank Johnny Depp for that? Unfortunately, many suppliers are producing cheap glass and plastic knock-offs of popular (and even rare) gemstones and passing them off as authentic.
Below, we will take a look at some ways you can tell if your gemstone bracelet is real or fake.
How to Tell if Your Gemstone Bracelet is Real or Fake
Cost: Is the Price Too Good to be True?
If you are a gemstone bracelet aficionado, you are probably aware that the price range for those items can range considerably. Often, that range is dictated by the (perceived) cost/value of the stone and any aesthetic extras (i.e. does it tie, contain additional artwork, etc.).
Often, you will be able to purchase a seemingly reasonable selection of gemstone bracelets in the range of $25-30. Everything from tiger’s eye to jasper and onyx to sodalite can be purchased from sellers across the world.
That said, if you believe you are getting an absolute “steal” on your bracelet, there’s a good chance it is made from artificial materials.
Spotting Cheap and Fake Gemstone Bracelets by Looking at the Price Tag
For instance, consider this green tiger’s eye bracelet from GT Collection. The cost is set at $180. For a bracelet with fifteen stones, each bead essentially costs the buyer north of $10. This is an indication that the stones may be legitimate.
Also, the description on the website notes that the bracelet is “hand-crafted by jewelry artisans” and uses “High-End Green Tiger Eye Stones.”
The same language appears on a listing for a hawk’s eye bracelet, as well as a note about the crafting process. It is less expensive than the aforementioned bracelet, but the price tag still suggests that the beads could be real.
Conversely, take a look at this “triple protection” bracelet from TEMU that supposedly contains tiger’s eye, hematite, and black obsidian. The listing price is a mere $3.27 – actually higher than some other listings on the website.
This is clearly an imitation gemstone bracelet, but what about those items that are in the mid-range?
This amethyst and aquamarine “cleansing” bracelet by EvolveMala is beautiful, but is it real? At only $20, each bead would cost slightly over $1. It is unlikely that you would be able to purchase quality amethyst or aquamarine for that price.
Description: How Much is the Seller Sharing About the Stones?
As we noted above, a website can claim to use “high quality” stones, but there is no guarantee that is what you will be getting.
Unfortunately, if you are ordering from an online store, there is no way to test or review the product before purchasing.
The more detail a seller can provide (even digitally), however, may alleviate some concerns.
Again, if you want to purchase authentic gemstone bracelets, you will likely be spending some money. Price is not the only indicator of quality (or authenticity), though.
If you plan to make a purchase and want the “real deal,” it never hurts to reach out to a seller ahead of time and ask about a specific bracelet, including the origin of the stones and the crafting process. If the seller cannot provide this information, consider looking elsewhere.
A seller should absolutely disclose if the stone they are selling is inauthentic, but you cannot bank on this type of transparency.
Consult an Expert: Getting Your Gemstone Bracelet Appraised by a Jeweler
While a simple gemstone bracelet might not warrant the same scrutiny as diamond or turquoise, it never hurts to have a jeweler inspect your item.
Now, keep in mind that jewelers tend to be many things, among them busy, skilled, and expensive. If clarifying the quality of your purchase is important, however, they will likely have the tools to determine whether your gemstone bracelet is real or fake.
Determining if it is Fake, even if it Looks so Real
Again, many sellers realize that the “look” is more important to the buyer than the actual quality (or perceived healing powers) of the stones in a bracelet. As such, they are able to get away with substituting a relatively low-cost, low-value stone in place of the “ticketed” gem.
Potomac Beads notes that roughly 90% of all stones sold as turquoise are actually knock-off stones (like howlite or magnazite). If you just want to wear something that looks cool, this isn’t necessarily an issue. If you are planning to resell your bracelet, however, or are simply claiming that it is an authentic gemstone, you may want to invest in an expert consultation.
Many jewelers are trained and have the tools to spot fakes. You can also do some research on specific stones that are often made by dying other stones or mixing them with agents (like copper) to give a particular look.