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Trying to figure out if I have a fake

Posted by Anonymous User  
Anonymous User August 11, 2012 05:17AM
I recently purchased what was said to be a titanium druzy cabochon. While the front is quite pretty, the distribution of color has me suspicious. The back is not colored at all by the supposed titanium, and there are 2 spots on the side which appear to have held the quartz piece in place while it was sprayed. The colors on the front are very peacock-like - bright teal, purple, and gold. My thought is that I'm probably looking at a painted piece.

I can't find a description of how the titanium coating is put on quartz for this type of piece. The seller told me that their process doesn't cover the back, and I argued enough to get a refund. Not too surprisingly, the piece comes out of China, which only heightens my suspicions, as I know the titanium coating is an American innovation.

I want to know mostly because I'd like to be able to use this piece and label it accurately when I go to sell it. If pictures would help, I can upload them. I know there's a difference between the two that is visible with a loupe, but I don't own a loupe yet.

Steve Hardinger August 11, 2012 05:49AM
It would be easier for us to understand your question and give advice if you could post some pictures.
Rock Currier August 11, 2012 09:29AM
There are at least two processes that deposit thin films on drusy quartz that have been called titanium quartz. Give us a picture please.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Anonymous User August 12, 2012 08:44AM
i know what you talking about it's a botryoidal chalcedony cut in cab shape and coated with titanium the exact same way than they made all this aura quartz on market .each country in the world are able to coated minerals with thin metal layer it's not a secret you can see exactly how to do on internet.bye
Jolyon & Katya Ralph August 12, 2012 08:51AM
Kali -

I'm not sure what the problem is. You know it's a fake and the "titanium" coating is man-made. What you seem to be suggesting is that the coating wasn't done well enough - if that's the case just send it back.

To label it properly, you need to disclose that it has been artificially treated to give a metallic sheen.

Never did see the point of these "genetically modified" quartzes and agates myself. There's enough beauty in the natural mineral world without having to fake it.
Owen Lewis (2) August 12, 2012 10:30AM
The trouble with us, Jolyon, is that we are not sufficiently, 'New Age'. :-)
Barry Miller August 12, 2012 10:55PM
It sounds like the concern is that it's a fake fake.
Anonymous User August 13, 2012 05:24PM
get scam when what you want is a fake ! the cheap new age sellers are so hungry for money than they now make fakes of their own fakes. what next they will make man-made version of their ugly chunk of quartzite they sold for hundred dollars a piece.
Anonymous User August 15, 2012 05:01AM
Hi, sorry if I wasn't clear enough.

I know what I have is a chunk of probably agate that has a druzy pocket in it, which is coated with something. There's a chance it's quartz, but with that milky color, I think it's safe enough to go a touch more specific and say agate. It's not really my thing normally, but I saw it and had an idea about what kind of setting would suit the shape of the stone and the druzy.

What I don't know is if that coating is titanium (or another metal) or paint. I have a loupe on the way, and it looks like I might be able to tell if it's paint using the loupe if it's good, but I won't have it for several weeks. In the meantime, I want to start work on this piece, and I just want to be accurate and truthful in how I describe it when I put it up for sale. This question is mostly about protecting my integrity as an artist.

I have photos now to attach - I wasn't back sooner because we just got home from a trip when I posted originally, and it took me a bit to figure out where my camera was put. Anyhow, here are the pictures:

The first one is from the top -

Then, from the side - trying to show the demarcation between the colored and uncolored area -

And last, the back -

Anyhow, if anyone can tell if I'm dealing with a painted imposter or a "real" titanium coated druzy stone, I'd appreciate it.

Jolyon & Katya Ralph August 15, 2012 09:04AM
Don't worry, I think you have a genuine fake there, not one of those pesky fake fakes.
Steve Hardinger August 15, 2012 04:14PM
I think the coating (probably titanium, but indium and even gold can be used) was applied by the usual vapor deposition technique, and not painted on. It would be difficult, I think, to obtain that sort of iridescence with a paintbrush. So overall the specimen is not natural, but it's not a 'fake' aqua aura.
Anonymous User August 17, 2012 04:24AM
Thank you, Steve, that was EXACTLY what I was trying to figure out!
Tim Jokela Jr August 17, 2012 04:44PM
Dammit, I hate buying painted stuff when I'm trying to buy coated stuff.

The beauty and variety of nature's bounty is endless, but it's never enough, is it?

I swear, the older I get, the weirder this world gets.
Jim Houran August 17, 2012 07:25PM
Tim Jokela Jr Wrote:
> Dammit, I hate buying painted stuff when I'm
> trying to buy coated stuff.
> The beauty and variety of nature's bounty is
> endless, but it's never enough, is it?
> I swear, the older I get, the weirder this world
> gets.


Please disregard insensitive and flippant remarks like these. This type of disrespectful attitude reflects poorly on Mindat and the hobby in general, but thankfully the hobby is filled in its majority by helpful and respectful people who offer assistance, support and education to fellow hobbyists.

I'm glad your question was answered adequately. Mindat is about education, not ridicule.


Rock Currier August 17, 2012 08:37PM
I sympathies with you. We even sell some of these items. We even have some of them made from agate "cabs" with drusy quartz. I originally stayed away from them, but customers kept asking for them. We say exactly what they are but they eventually find their way to ebay and described in all kinds of ridiculous ways. After buying and selling a few zeolites from India that had been "painted/tinted" at the begging of one of our good old time suppliers, we finally drew the line and said no more of that kind of stuff. It causes too much confusion and hard feelings down the line.

It seems that humans are never satisfied with things the way they are. We are always diddling around trying to make things better especially if we can get paid for it. We all trim specimens, washing and cleaning them in different ways. Others putting silicon spray on them and filling in cracks with plastic and a lot of other things. Where you draw the line is pretty much up to the individual. Ladies use make up and there is even make up for guys now. Its depressing, but that's the way things are. We can try and change them, but you can make yourself crazy if you chase it too far.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Steve Hardinger August 18, 2012 07:32AM
Rock, I plan to buy the $2400 benitoite in your inventory and have it coated with indium or titanium by the vapor deposition process. It will look so pretty.
Rock Currier August 18, 2012 09:08AM
Ahh! another convert.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Jim Houran August 18, 2012 02:01PM

I would hope you wouldn't "sympathize" with anyone who ridicules people on this site (or anywhere for that matter). Having personal opinions is fine, but expressing them in a manner that disrespects others should be immediately confronted here.

What culture and values does Mindat stand for I wonder?


Alfredo Petrov August 18, 2012 02:21PM
Jim, interpreting nuances of emotion in the written word is always harder than in face-to-face conversation, but I think you're being a bit hard on Tim. I did not see in his words any personal ridicule of anyone, but rather just an interjection of humour into the conversation. Acceptable and welcome, in my opinion, although I understand that others may interpret it differently.
AJMI August 18, 2012 03:04PM
I agree with Alfredo Petrov's post - I don't see Tim Jokela Jr's comment as insensitive or flippant, just humorous.
Reiner Mielke August 18, 2012 03:16PM
I know Tim personally and that is just his sense of humour, which by the way I find very funny!
Don Saathoff August 18, 2012 06:37PM
I don't know Tim personally but very much enjoy the sense of humor exhibited in his posts....

Jim Houran August 19, 2012 01:51PM
I don't find mocking (public or private) of other people to be funny... no matter where it happens or by whom.


Kelly Nash August 19, 2012 02:34PM
Jim, where were you when I needed you, when I said dowsing appears to work for some people, that a small rock pick is a handy tool, and several other times when I've been mocked? I know Jolyon removes posts that go over the top, but it does take a bit of a thick skin to post here sometimes. I'll be looking for backup next time I get all mystical.
AJMI August 19, 2012 03:10PM
Jim Houran,

I don't find attempts to stifle the free speech rights of other people to be appropriate... no matter where it happens or by whom.

Regardless, it's not up to you or I to determine what is and what isn't appropriate speech here in the forums - that's the job of the Mindat Administrators.

So how about we let the Admins do the policing and instead the rest of us focus on more mineral-related topics. :-)

Kelly Nash,

If you're going to "get all mystical" in a forum whose focus is hard science, then you should probably expect the skeptics here to be particularly incredulous. ;-)
Jim Houran August 19, 2012 05:11PM

Sorry I didn't see your posts or the negativity that followed. Had I seen anyone ridicule you, I would've spoken up as well!


You don't seem to understand that Mindat doesn't have "anything goes free speech rights"...

You also seem to miss my point... people can hold personal opinions, but that doesn't give them to "right" to ridicule and mock on Mindat. I'm all for focusing on mineral-related topics, which is why I confronted this unacceptable behavior on a website that is supposed to stand for education, not personal ridicule directed at people asking legitimate questions.

When I see mocking behavior not being confronted by Mindat admin, then it should be the "job" of its membership to police bad behavior that reflects poorly on the culture of the site. Mindat is a community. And mocking others is not a discussion of "hard science, so when it happens you should probably expect the skeptics here to be particularly incredulous :)


AJMI August 19, 2012 07:04PM
Jim Houran wrote, "Having personal opinions is fine, but expressing them in a manner that disrespects others should be immediately confronted here." and "I confronted this unacceptable behavior".

Jolyon, creator of Mindat wrote:
"We have a few basic rules about the use of this site that I need to make clear again here:2. No offensive, abusive, rude or overly-confrontational behaviour."

Enough said.
Anonymous User August 22, 2012 04:27AM
Well, if it's any comfort, I didn't take offense at the comments. Roll my eyes? Yes. But then, it sounds like several people did that when I asked what I asked.

Look, guys, this sort of thing isn't my taste either. I prefer a good piece of lapis or malachite, and I've got a particular soft spot for pale blue sapphires, and lately I've been doing a lot of low-end labradorite. I want a good finish on my stones, but I don't like dyed stones. I bought it to make a piece from because right now, this stuff sells. I suppose it doesn't bother me as much as the dyed stones because with these, there is no attempt to pass them as anything but altered stones. As an artist with a very limited budget, I often can't afford the stones I'd like to work with, and I need to make a return on what I make - better yet, generate some attention towards my work. If that means I have to use what is 'in', so be it. The buyer wants what the buyer wants, and my tastes being different from theirs won't change that.

I just wanted to be accurate about what I was using. People are going to expect better longevity out of a titanium-coated piece than a painted piece.

As things stand, because of the blank back and my nerves about whether this is titanium-coated or painted, I may just make it into a pendant to be a gift for my sister. She'd like this sort of thing. (In all seriousness, when buying gifts for her, I often look at things and go 'What here is the farthest from my tastes?')

Jolyon & Katya Ralph August 22, 2012 09:27AM
Thanks Kali,

I'm glad my comments were not taken the wrong way.

I don't think that it's possible it could have been painted with anything to create the effect you see, but one possibility is that it has been coated in the normal way as aqua-aura quartz is, and then protected with a layer of lacquer or similar.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph August 22, 2012 09:35AM

1. If you are interested in the rules of behaviour on, please remember that we request contributors do not use pseudonyms and use full, real names on the site. This rule is not enforced for those who make infrequent contributions on the board, or those who have just come to ask a simple question. But for those who are regular contributors or who want to get involved in serious debates about how the community behaves, it's essential.

If you make comments, you should stand behind them. Anonymous comments on the internet lead inevitably lead to bad behaviour.

2. You are confronting the comments made by Jim Houran. Your point is therefore invalid. Whether you think the comments made previously were disrespectul or not, Jim has every right to make the comments he did because he wants our community to be a more friendly and harmonious place.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/22/2012 12:32PM by Jolyon Ralph.
Norman King August 22, 2012 11:24AM
What's pretty is in the eye of the beholder. After all, faceted diamonds have been modifed by humans. Why aren't we satisfied with natural diamonds? There are well-faceted diamonds and poorly-facted diamonds. So, do we have well-done "fakes" and poorly-done "fakes"? The argument is the same.
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