Tips on how to identify and avoid fake malachite gemstones.

Antique Malachite gemstone  cross bar brooch how to test malachite for fakes genuine real gemstones tips
Malachite gemstone

One of the most popular gemstones is malachite.  With its beautiful green colour, wonderful patterns and heavy, quality feel, its no wonder!

Like all popular gemstones though, there are now increasing amounts of fake malachite flooding the market, especially over the internet.  Here are some tips to help you avoid these imitations:

  • Genuine malachite is very cold, heavy and feels hard.  It is heavier than solid glass or plastic, and feels ‘dense’ and ice cold when held and touched.  The striped patterns are called ‘banding’.  Genuine malachite is not uniform in its patterns and colours; you’ll find circles and thin to thick parts in the patterns, and dark to mid-green hues.
  • Fake malachite comes in many forms.  Plastic fake malachite is lightweight and warm to the touch.  Glass fake malachite tends is cold to the touch like genuine malachite, but because it’s glass it will  warm up in your hand much quicker, where as real malachite won’t warm up much at all; it remains cold (this applies to a lot of gemstones btw).

Vintage green glass imitation malachite bead necklace jewelry how to test malachite for fakes genuine real gemstones tips
FAKE. This is a glass fake malachite necklace. The banding is too uniform, with no of the patterned circles or flourishes genuine malachite has.

vintage 1970s glass coral malachite glass scottish agate bracelet how to test malachite for fakes genuine real gemstones tips
FAKE. Selling imitation malachite, such the green glass imitations on the vintage 1970s bracelet is perfectly fine (in fact there’s a jewelry collecting niche for glass imitation gemstones), as long as the seller clearly points out the stones are not real malachite.

Reconstituted malachite fake tips avoid how to test malachite for fakes genuine real gemstones tips
FAKE. Re-processed or reconstituted malachite like the example above is made from crushed leftovers of the gemstone, mixed with dyes and resins.

vintage 1970s malachite brass bangle how to test malachite for fakes genuine real gemstones tips
REAL: vintage 1970s malachite brass bangle, made from small panels of malachite gemstone.  Up to now, man cannot 100% reproduce malachite ‘banded’ patterns accurately, nor its distinct green colours which can range from deepest forest green to teal green to light green all in one bead or panel.

Vintage 1970s Malachite bead necklace earrings set how to test malachite for fakes genuine real gemstones tips
REAL This is a genuine vintage malachite necklace. dating circa 1970s. How could I tell? Firstly, it was very heavy and cold (and the beads didn’t warm up in my hands). Secondly, the beads were not a uniform round shape – some were slightly too oval, meaning they were likely to have been hand finished. Thirdly, the banding patterns were too ‘natural’ to be fake which is tied directly to the fourth way; experience. I’ve handled a lot of malachite over the years (as well as many imitations) and you just get a feel for it.  Go to museums and see chunks of the real stuff in gemology displays*, go to antique fairs and handle it. Buy it off reputable jewelers and gemologists , and also buy properly labeled imitations so you can compare the two (ie, reconstituted malachite, plastic, glass).

*Check out the museums in your area – even the smallest ones can often throw up some big surprises!

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6 thoughts on “Tips on how to identify and avoid fake malachite gemstones.

  1. Would the reconstituted malachite be as heavy and cold as genuine given it is actually made from malachite but mixed with resin etc.. Or would it be lighter and warm up quickly? I have a few malachite items and i am not sure which they are? My guess is perhaps reconstituted malachite?!

    1. In my own experience, reconstituted malachite is usually as cold as normal malachite, but feels a bit lighter. If you wanted to, you could take some photos and put them up on Instagram/ Flickr/ Facebook or Pinterest etc, and I could have a look at them and see if I can help you discover what they are.

      1. Hi Bill,
        Thanks for visiting 🙂 I can’t accept downloads of photos (any emails sent to me with photos/ attachments/ downloads are automatically deleted in my email box), though you could upload your photos to Flickr/ Photobucket/ Dropbox/ or Instagram etc, and send me a link to them at info@nicabrac.co.uk.

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