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The history and future of fake Moldavite

The History of Fake Moldavite

Moldavite started growing in fame and popularity around the time of the Jubilee Country Exhibition in Prague in 1891. In the exhibition there were several fine jewellery pieces which featured beautiful faceted Moldavite along with river peals from the Vltava and Otava rivers. Unfortunately, producers started replacing faceted Moldavite with bottle glass in the 1890s causing the fame of faceted Moldavite to disappear. The fakes were nicknamed the “bottle stone”.

Interesting fact! Five sets of Moldavite jewellery (bracelet, brooch and earings) from the Museum of Decorated Arts in Prague were studied. Only one set had real Moldavite! The remainder were made from bottle glass!

Large amounts of fake or imitation natural Moldavite first started to appear around the market in 2010. They were seen at a mineral show in Hong Kong, then traded to other countries including Minas Gerais in Brasil, Hanoi in Vietnam and Tucson in the USA. A large batch of imitation Moldavite entered the market in 2013 via a mineral show in Hong Kong; with tens of kilograms with surface sculpting almost visually identical to the natural. The fake Moldavite sold often had unusually high lustre or surface shine compared to real Moldavite. Although Moldavite can often display a high sign it is just one of the signs than can help spot a fake.

Fake Moldavite selling in France

The present situation of fakes

The rising popularity and price of Moldavite has attracted more fakes to be produced and is a wide spread problem. The manufacturing of fake Moldavite has spread from China and currently is produced and sold in a variety of countries including China, India, Thailand and Vietnam.

The variety and sophistication of the fake has grown to include a variety of shapes from spheres, beads, fake primary shapes and even small fragments. The fake Moldavite is widely sold on the internet via shopping and social media sites including eBay, Etsy, Aliexpress, Wish and Instagram. Fake Moldavite has made its way into online and physical crystal shops which are often owned by honest sellers. These sellers may not be familiar with Moldavite and have unintentionally purchased fake Moldavite to sell to their customers.

Example of fake Moldavite selling in shops

For more examples of real and fake Moldavite, see

The Future

Moldavite has continued grow in fame and popularity reaching new peaks every year. The natural form of Moldavite is now more popular with its unique and beautiful surface sculpting being appreciated by customers. The mysterious origins and stories of transformation surrounding Moldavite is contributing greatly to its increased popularity.

The quality of fake Moldavite is improving with improved technology and methods of imitating Moldavite.

Natural Moldavite

Improvements are continuously being made to the way synthetic natural Moldavite is being created. The current trend when producing fake Moldavite is the use of a mould created from a real Moldavite and to polish off any of the seams. Hydrofluoric acid can also be used to sculpt areas of the glass to give it a natural look.

Manufacturers are learning how to copy individual elements of genuine natural Moldavite such as the surface sculpting, colour, transparency, shapes using moulds and giving it an opaque appearance. Fake Moldavite will slowly keep on becoming more realistic as manufacturers use what they have learnt to improve their production methods to produce fakes with more of the characteristics of real Moldavite.

Faceted and polished Moldavite

Lechatelierite is long pieces of quartz glass that looks like thin wavy lines. It is only be visible in genuine polished or faceted Moldavite.

It is possible to produce fluvial flow in normal glass balls. The fluvial flow may look similar to appearances of lechatelierite in genuine Moldavite although it still looks noticeably different. Lechatelierite in real Moldavite always copies the fluvial flow of Moldavite and flows in one direction. While the fluvial flow in fake Moldavite may swirl or flow in multiple directions.

With the technology available today and in the future, adjustments can be made to the heat, pressure, temperature, techniques and materials used to create fake Moldavite. Manufacturers are always trying to make fake Moldavite with more realistic appearances with stretched/elongated bubbles and flow lines similar to lechatelierite into fake faceted Moldavite.

Too see what real lechatelierite looks like, see

Normal glass balls showing fluvial manufactured in the last decade

Faceted and polished Moldavite

Avoiding fake Moldavite

Education is the best way to avoid the spread of fake Moldavite.

Key tips to avoid fake Moldavite are:

  1. Learn about the characteristics and see sample pictures of real Moldavite. See for tips.
  2. Avoid buying Moldavite being sent from China, India, Vietnam and Thailand. These countries do import real Moldavite but almost always export fake Moldavite.
  3. Look for a crystal shop or Moldavite specialist that has a history of working with real Moldavite. A general crystal shop may have the specialist knowledge to identify fake Moldavite.

Join in the fight against fake Moldavite

Want more useful information?

See the guides:
Guide to Genuine and Fake Moldavite
The Best Guide on Spotting and Avoiding Fake Moldavite:
Shapes of Moldavite:
Busting myths of Moldavite:
Other useful guides and blog posts:

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