I haven't always loved treated crystals. In fact, for a long time, I considered myself a gemstone "purist" - I wanted nothing to do with aura quartz, heated citrine, or outright "fake" stuff, like opalite or goldstone.
But I've come a long way since then. Somewhere along the line, I decided to give them a chance: Here's why I think you should, too.
Why treat crystals, anyway?
One of the reasons we all love crystals is because of their beauty - THEY COME OUT OF THE EARTH LIKE THIS (mostly - there's often some cleaning and polishing that goes on but, basically, they are natural). Amirite?? Total magic. They are from the Earth, the remind us of the Earth: they are pure nature. And I think that that is why, for many of us, treated stones can be so off-putting: It came out of the Earth just fine; why would anyone choose to DO this, to an already beautiful stone??
Is that a familiar thought? It was, for me. So why do people DO this? Who ever decided to treat crystals in the first place?? I don't know the answer to the latter question: but the answer to the former question is: DRAMA. Plain and simple.
Did you know that amethyst can be treated to make it darker? It's true. Clear or lightly smoky quartz can be irradiated to produce a much darker-colored smoky? Yup. Amethyst can be super-heated to turn it yellow, like citrine?
And there's more: quartz can be heated and then quickly cooled, to create internal fracturing that produces dozens of rainbows in a single point (fire and ice quartz); tiny copper particles can be mixed with glass to produce goldstone; and heavy metal vapor can be fused with natural stones, to produce an iridescent, often swirly coating known as "aura." These kinds of enhancements are all used to make crystals look more dramatic, unique, and, of course, attractive to people. But are they really still crystals?
Again, my answer for a long time was a resounding "NAH." I wasn't sure why people loved this stuff. "Just give me the real stuff!" I'd think, as I walked around shows or watched people touting the newest green apple-colored quartz cluster they bought. So what changed my mind??
Changing my mind
To be honest, I'm not really sure. It could just be my old age 😂 Or, it could just be finding specific treated crystals that resonate with me. Even now, I see treated amethyst-citrine that I HATE. Someone's buying it - so there are people who do like it. But I'm not one of those people. That said, every now and then I come across some heated citrine that I LOVE - and so I buy it. Same with aura-treated stones: For every aura stone I buy, I see at least 10-15 other pieces I wouldn't even touch. Just because you like SOME treated stones, doesn't mean you have to like ALL treated stones. 😉
But what about...
I will say that there are some treated stones I just can't get behind. These are usually stones that have been dyed - literally, injected with some kind of colored dye, to change their color. You've seen this with agate: That bright purple standing piece? Dyed. Hot pink (okay, okay; I've been IN LOVE with one or two of these before...)? Dyed. Turquoise? You get the idea (And don't even get me started on fake turquoise. Did you know that much of the "turquoise" on the market is really dyed howlite, that's actually being passed off as "real" turquoise?? It's true.). Most of the time, these make me sad for the crystal - I'm not convinced that these "enhancements" do anything for the beauty of the crystal.
Another thing I've seen recently is dyed citrine. "What?!" you say? That's what I said, too. The color was so unnatural it was actually...syrupy, would be how I'd describe it. It was likely heated amethyst (citrine) which was lighter in color that desired; so, then they injected it with dye. The result was...well, real weird, in my opinion.
Should you use them?
So what about the energy of these stones? You've been waiting for me to address this, yes? Here's my opinion: I think it depends on what you think about the stone. Simply put: If you don't like it, it's not for you.
I have heard that angel aura quartz (the clear-ish, rainbow-y one) is a great stone for working with a really high vibration. The color on this one is typically achieved by fusing quartz with silver or platinum particles in a vacuum. Does it do that? Does it have that vibration? Do the metallic particles add to (or detract from) the quartz energy? To be honest, I'm not sure. What I do know, is that I've purchased some pieces that I am absolutely in LOVE with. I travel with them; I use them to meditate with, and I love watching them sparkle in the sun. For me, that's enough.
Same with the citrine I mentioned earlier: It's heat treated, and I am totally cool with that. I love natural citrine; but if I'm attracted to treated citrine, I'm fine adding it to my collection. As we've chatted about before, one of the things that make heated amethyst citrine (and not just "orange amethyst") is that the color has been changed.
As you know, color is seen as color because of the wavelength at which light travels, when it bounces off of the object. So, the frequency the stone has is now that of the orange/yellow spectrum - not purple/violet. I would think the same for aura-treated crystals: They are now vibrating with a range of colors, instead of just their natural color (usually colorless/white, but I've seen aura-ed amethyst, too; so, in that case, purple).
But what about entirely man-made crystals?
"Well okay, I guess that makes sense," I hear you saying, "but what about the stuff that's just REALLY fake? Like opalite? Or goldstone? Or fake moldavite??" I think that that depends, specifically, on what it is.
I actually feel very differently about the examples above. I am pretty tolerant of goldstone and opalite: for me, these fall under the slightly different category of "man made" crystals, as opposed to (outright) "fake" crystals. Like my citrine and aura quartz rationales above, I think they can be really pretty - especially in the shape of a sphere. Blue goldstone looks like the galaxy to me; I totally get the appeal, and I've bought and sold it for that reason. Same with opalite: If you know it's not coming straight from the Earth and it still appeals to you, I just don't see a problem with it.
The real fakes
What I do have a problem with, however, are things that are sold as "crystals" that are, in fact, clearly not. For me, these are the "fakes": the intentionally-mimicked "stones" that people are actually trying to trick you into buying, when there is a real version somewhere else (often priced higher, so the fakes are targeted toward people who just want to purchase them cheaply and may not know enough to do their homework).
Moldavite is one of these. Moldavite comes from only one region (Ever. Period. End of story. No "new find" kinda stuff, for this guy): the area in what was formerly Czechoslovakia, near the Moldau River (see the naming inspiration here?). It's becoming harder to find and is privately owned; so, of course, a few sellers control all of the market. What has happened is that some sellers have tried to "replicate" this space glass (we all know that moldavite is actually "space glass," formed from a meteor impact, right? It's not a crystal or a rock), using similarly-shaped molds to reproduce glass with a similar color and texture. That's NOT real moldavite. Making it this way is not enhancing anything (except some sellers' wallets, perhaps...) and, in my book, it's not okay: it's totally artificial. It's like trying to pass glass off as clear quartz: It's just not the same thing. This is why you always want to be sure that you know where your moldavite is coming from - and if anyone ever tries to sell you moldavite from anywhere else in the world, you (politely) decline and move on with your hard-earned cash.
Are we being duped?
I actually think that's another big reason why people are initially turned off by these "treated" stones: that feeling of being "duped" by someone, or being "tricked" into buying a "fake" or "unnatural" stone. None of us want to feel like we're buying one thing, when we're actually being sold something else. I've definitely heard from people before that they were surprised to find out that their "aura" crystals didn't come out of the ground that way - and they were (understandably) upset!
The good news is that, with some knowledge, you've got a great chance of being able to ferret out most of the "fake" stuff. The other good news here is that, if you really take some time to figure out what these "fake" or "treated" crystals actually are and how you feel about them when you know exactly what they are, you may just decide that some are worth a chance. I have.
What do you think? Did I give you any perspectives on "fake" crystals you hadn't considered before? Would you be willing to try out an aura-treated crystal? Or a piece of goldstone? Or are you still strictly "all natural, all the time"? Let me know in the comments! We have a few aura crystals in stock if you'd like to check them out!