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Fake Garnets

Posted by Oya Paugh  
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Oya Paugh March 12, 2019 07:41PM
Bought 2 strands of garnet beads at the San Diego Gem Faire, originally priced at $15 each but got them for $5 each.
When I looked at them more closely at home, I became suspicious that they might be fakes. They were strung on clear nylon and I could see spots of red colour on the string. I checked them with a magnet and they were not magnetic, although curiously I found a few in the batch that were magnetic. When I soaked them in acetone, the red colour peeled off the stone. I have attached a photo.
Unfortunately, I didn't keep track of the merchant I got them from. Fortunately, I'm not out much money and I consider this a very valuable and fascinating learnig experience.

I'm very curious to find out if anyone has seen this and also wondering why anyone would bother to fake garnet beads. Does anyone know the process that was used to make these fake garnets? They seem to have coated a white stone with red colour. Wouldn't this be more expensive than using real garnets which are relatively cheap?

Would love to hear what you all think.
open | download - Screenshot_20190312-121959.png (849.1 KB)
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Gary Weinstein March 12, 2019 09:51PM
Oya,
Anything can be faked in order to sell for less. Glass can be made in any color and these factories, mass producing these, can make more, faster due to their softness of glass as compared to stone. I do shows with Asian dealers selling beads and have noted that over the years they added more glass and carried less stone. This is due to people being 'cheap'. The same can be said for dyed stone, bone, coral, etc. And, yes, you could purchase genuine garnet, nuggets, like yours for the same money.
Best,
Gary
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Ian Nicastro March 13, 2019 11:36PM
A lot of cheap beads tend to be dye enhanced, stabilized, or are man made simulants. I would have thought red glass would have been easier to work with than surface coating clear glass or quartz, I would be curious if you hardness test those... if they end up being glass or quartz. My guess is they are quartz. I'm not the biggest fan of the Gem Faire overall because there isn't much in the way of mineral specimens besides the basics, but there are vendors with genuine stone beads there.
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Oya Paugh March 15, 2019 01:00AM
Hi Ian,
I think it's glass. It looks very uniform (no inclusions) and is quite hard but can't scratch glass. They tagged the 19"string of beads for $15 but I got it for $5. It's so weird that this is not just red glass made into beads but glass that was coated with red color. I would think that it would be cheaper to just make red glass beads rather than coat beads with color. They are pretty and I'll use them for some sort of home decoration project not for jewelry. Interestingly, most beads were not magnetic. I only found about 10 that were magnetic.
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Douglas Schonewald March 15, 2019 05:03AM
It takes special additives to make glass that kind of red. It is cheaper to coat clear glass with colored epoxies than buy the additive to make glass that red or to purchase the glass already made.
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