Moldavite – Real or Fake? Here's how to tell the difference!

Moldavite is such a beautiful and special stone with a fascinating history. However it has been unscrupulously counterfeited. Here is how to tell the real thing.

Moldavite – Real or Fake? Here's how to tell the difference!

8 Ways to identify the authentic Moldavite stone

Moldavite is such a beautiful and special stone, born of the heavens rather than grown beneath the earth. It is a tektite with a fascinating origin. It is found only in the Moldau River valley in the Czech Republic where it formed from a huge meteorite collision with Earth about 15 million years ago. This was an explosive event that left its special mark on this one-of-a-kind stone. Moldavite is found in many different shapes, patterns and color variations as shown below.

Natural Moldavite is found in many shapes and variations depending on the geographical area and local geological conditions
Moldavite is in very limited supply and thus notably expensive. Consequently, it is a ripe market for counterfeiters . . . so how does one tell the difference between an imposter and the real thing? It is challenging even for experts to distinguish these fakes, so what can a  buyer do avoid being duped?

The main rule of thumb is buy in person from a known, reputable dealer. If you cannot buy in person then ALWAYS buy from a dealer that you can positively verify is 100% trustworthy. As you will see below we show current online listings from Etsy where the seller has thousands of reviews and they look legit. Yet they are selling very obvious fakes. Most people cannot tell the difference between real and fake so they can be consistently fooled. If authenticity matters to you, here are some steps to take.

Its not always easy, but experience helps. Here at Bliss Crystals, we can almost immediately tell the authenticity of a Moldavite specimen with the naked eye and a quick look with a jeweler's loupe (magnifying glass). Photos can be quite misleading so it is best to see it in person. It is invaluable to have the opinion of someone with Moldavite experience to look at a prospective purchase. Authentic Moldavite is expensive so it is worth the trouble to verify before you buy. Don’t be deceived by so called “Certificates of Authenticity.” Those are easy to make up on a computer and most of them are completely meaningless unless a trusted dealer can back it up. However there are clues that can point out the real thing from the imitations so you can make a sound judgement.

Authentic Moldavite is beautifully
colored, textured and unique from every other

1. Recognize real Moldavite

Real Moldavite is truly beautiful. It has a unique pattern with irregular pittings and wrinkles on the surface that are characteristic of tektites. The stone has a translucent, dark to light olive to forest green color with some subtle color variations. The surface is not particularly shiny unless it has been polished or faceted. The natural finish is more of a matte, sometimes slightly frosted but not shiny finish. Authentic Moldavite is only found in smaller pieces. Anything “giant” over 50 gm is probably fake as well as anything carved into a shape larger than a fingernail.

2. Know the Seller

Virtually all fake Moldavite is made and sold from China, Thailand, Hong Kong or India. Manufacturers there have perfected the process of making molds from real Moldavite and then adding some use tool marks or acid etching to make them look more unique. You may see individual stones for sale or even large lots with incredibly low prices. A clear giveaway is identical looking pieces that have been cast from a mold. Real Moldavite is like snowflakes, no two are alike.

These fakes are sold in the USA primarly online (eBay, Etsy, Amazon) or through the Alibaba and AliExpress networks. It is estimated that at least 90% of Moldavite sold online is fake because the market is flooded with opportunists eager to take your money. It is even possible to see fakes at some of the gem shows with “off name” wholesalers or replicas that have worked their way into the collections of unsuspecting and less experienced resellers. So it is critical that the seller have enough experience and the professional contacts to buy from a proven and 100% reputable source. Over the past 20 years Bliss Crystals has bought Moldavite from only one well known, reputable Czech Republic gemstone dealer that is licensed by the government of the Czech Republic to mine and ethically source Moldavite. This in person relationship keeps us current on the latest scams and they have taught us how to distinguish fake from real so we can be 100% certain of  authenticity.

3. Understand how its done

Fake Moldavite is cast in molds from green glass, resins or other materials. The surface may appear wet and shiny with a bright green, homogeneous color. The texture will probably be similar from piece to piece and may not be finely grained. Or the texture can be more on the smooth side and the nuances of the real stone are missing. So its a good idea to compare multiple pieces from the same lot and see if there are consistencies. The difficulty now is that the counterfeiters are becoming more sophisticated and adding fake textures and tool marks so it is harder to distinguish. However, there are more telltale signs to look for.

Left: Example of man-made glass Moldavite from a mold
Right: Authentic Moldavite with its natural variations

4. Compare and Contrast

The picture above left  is a good example of fake Moldavite when compared to the right picture, a verified piece of real Moldavite. The fake has a texture smooth like glass and very shiny. It is also being sold directly from China. The probability of a piece like this being fake is almost certain.  One way to determine if a piece if real, is to examine it with a magnifying glass and see the internal structure. Genuine Moldavite exhibits any combination of "flow lines", gas bubbles and tiny rods of dark Lechatelierite which is a rare mineraloid formed only during a violent burst of heat and energy such as a lightning strike, atomic blast or meteorite explosion. So far these internal structures have not been duplicated.

The picture below is an authentic piece of Moldavite and a gemstone ring sold in the Bliss Crystals shop. You can immediately see on the rough piece that the texture is finely grained with a more natural matte finish. The edge are naturally irregular and the color is more subtle. Looking at the ring you can see that when authentic Moldavite is polished and cut as a gemstone, and there are tiny air bubbles and/or very small inclusions of lechatelierite inside the stone. It is almost impossible to duplicate this natural phenomenon other materials.

Left: Genuine Moldavite in natural state  Right: Faceted Moldavite gemstone ring with tiny, internal gas bubbles

5. Origin

Authentic Moldavite is always from the Czech Republic. The original meteor impact areas include sections of Germany and Austria, but it is extremely rare to find the Moldavite strew field outside the boundaries of the Czech Republic. If the Seller claims it is from another area, lab created or man-made then it is not authentic. Period. There have been recent claims of "new" Moldavite found in Africa or Columbia. These may be other types of Tektites but are not Moldavite, which is technically defined as the green materials found in the Czech Republic.

6. Color

The real Moldavite color is a softer and variable moss, olive or forest green, not a shiny bright green like a beer bottle. Recently some dealers are advertising "newly discovered" colors of Moldavite, which is simply dishonest creative marketing of other stones or elaborately fashioned fakes. Green is the ONLY color of true Moldavite (not purple, white, gold, blue or pink).

7. Price

Moldavite is sold by the gram so if you see a piece at “auction” for a very low price, it is highly suspect. A very low price, not sustainable by the market is usually fake too, as there are no “bargains” on the real thing. An extremely high price that is not competitive could be a warning sign as well.

Perfect example of fake stone being sold on Etsy. Seller is from India, stone is obviously fake, price is ridiculously low for such a large jewelry piece

3 signs of fake Moldavite Pendant on Etsy listing.
Seller from India, fake stone with wrong color and texture,
ridiculously low price for a large stone.

8. Beads

There are quite a few people selling bracelets and necklaces made of round beads claiming to be Moldavite. Again, mostly on eBay and Etsy. Moldavite on occasion can be faceted into a gemstone like bead as a single item, but beads or strings of beads are impossible or too expensive to make. It takes too much material to be polished and formed into beads and Moldavite is far too expensive and precious to be made into beads. No matter how attractive, pay no attention to these fakes. There are glass beads that are advertised as Moldavite and they have an attractive, translucent green color, However they are not Moldavite, just a pretty imposter.

3 signs of fake bead bracelet on Etsy listing.
Seller from China, free USA shipping, fake stone
with man made texture, ridiculously low price

 The picture above shows a fake beaded bracelet with the expected Moldavite texture etched into the outer surface. This is so obvious a fake as it is physically impossible to make a rounded bead and retain the natural Moldavite texture in a sphere form. This item of multiple beads has a sales price of $45 on a major online site with a good reputation. However, these online stores cannot monitor or authenticate the millions of products moving through. It is Buyer Beware!

In conclusion, follow these simple steps and ask questions along the way. A reputable dealer will kindly show you the differences.

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