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Fakes & FraudsFake Apophyllite flowers - beware

25th Feb 2020 03:40 GMTAnthony Scoffler

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I was in Tucson this year and saw this quite interesting and large apophyllite ball on stilbite with natrolite all on basalt, that for whatever reason I thought at the time was real, and I bought it for 300. I've known that these green apophyllite sprays could form in the shape shown in the pictures, but I hadn't seen one in person and thought I had quite a specimen.

When I brought it back home, I quickly noticed a couple discrepancies.

I was first concerned about the thin white-gray lines around many of the crystals, filling the deeper crevices, and much more prominent where it seems to "prop up" the larger crystals. As it turns out, this was glue. Most glues have a UV-active element added to them so you can easily examine your work after gluing two surfaces together. This is also a handy way to try and find fakes that have been glued together. I had a lot of glowing smudges exactly where the crystals connect to the center of the ball.

After discovering that, I looked for a couple more clues to help nail down that it's fake:

1. All the crystals end in various terminations. I see no evidence of secondary growth or reason why the crystals should be so different. Some white and some green, some ending in multiple points, some in truncated points and others in sharp points. There was too much going on.

2. The white crystals that were glued on last happen to have some holes below them, where I imagine it was hard to fit them further in. There was no effort to fill in these holes with glue, and based on the V-shaped crevices a lot of these crystals are shoved in and the smooth surfaces of the crystals without adhesive material, there is no evidence to suggest they were ever connected down to the center.

I took some photos of these and hope everyone can benefit and learn from my mistake. The company I bought from offered me a refund; please contact the sellers you purchased from if you're in the same boat as it may be an honest mistake.

Please be wary. I hope this post will help someone avoid making a bad choice!

25th Feb 2020 12:39 GMTPaul Brandes Manager

In (very small) defense of the dealer, they might not have even known it was a fake, since many dealers have no clue what they are selling. They may have seen a pretty, unusual specimen on a table and thought it would be a good seller, not aware it had been pieced together. While the dealer may be at fault for not disclosing it as a "manufactured" specimen, it is also the buyer's responsibility to know what they are purchasing before shelling out large amounts of money.

This appears to be a perfect example of "caveat emptor", both for the buyer and perhaps the dealer as well.

25th Feb 2020 13:00 GMTDavid Von Bargen Manager

Have you contacted the dealer directly? A lot of dealers stand behind what they sell and will take back a misrepresented specimen.

26th Feb 2020 02:41 GMTLawrie Berthelsen (2)

Anthony, I also bought a similar green apophyllite flower on white stilbite at Tucson this year. After reading your post I have been patiently waiting for it to arrive in Australia by post. It arrived yesterday, and I can also confirm that it is a fake, and that I bought it from Global Mineral Stones at the Hotel Tucson City Center. Luckily I only paid $100 for it.

Most of my green apophyllites have pointed terminations, and there are a few colourless crystals in the flower as well. Each apophyllite crystal has a cleaved base, and in many instances, there is an air gap at the base, with glue being used around the perimeter of each crystal to glue it to its neighbour. I will post some photos in the coming days.

Have you contacted the seller? I will be contacting him today to see if he offers any recompense.

27th Feb 2020 03:34 GMTLawrie Berthelsen (2)

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This is the fake apophyllite on stilbite that I bought.

I contacted Global Mineral Stones, and they have replied that they had bought them from a 3rd party, and were unaware that they were fake. They have offered me a full refund, which I am presently negotiating. I have no reason to doubt their sincerity.

27th Feb 2020 03:35 GMTLawrie Berthelsen (2)

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This closeup shows yellowish glue around the crystals, as well as an air gap below the cleaved base of a crystal.
 

27th Feb 2020 03:38 GMTAnthony Scoffler

Thank you, that is definitely good to know. I will follow up on obtaining a refund and meanwhile I might as well strike the company name from the post as it is no longer a relevant detail, if they're offering a refund and making themselves available, then they likely don't know.

27th Feb 2020 03:36 GMTLawrie Berthelsen (2)

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Another air gap under a cleaved base.

27th Feb 2020 03:37 GMTLawrie Berthelsen (2)

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And another air gap.
 
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