EXPOSING THE TRUTH; ONE MINERAL FAKE, FRAUD OR FORGERY AT A TIME

New Fake Minerals Guide on The-Vug.com

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The-Vug.com has the best guide to mineral fakes and forgeries online and it just got better!!

The guide has been refreshed and now it is, hands down, the very best mineral fakes page online.
It seperates the fake minerals into different subjects;

  • Man Made Crystals
  • Coated Crystals
  • Chemical Reaction to Crystals
  • Mechanic Alteration of Crystals
  • Irradiation of Crystals
  • Heat Treatment of Crystals
  • Dyeing of Crystals
  • Misrepresentation
  • Hoax
  • Artisian products
  • YOU can HELP spread this information far and wide by posting this link on your facebook, in your club newsletter, on your website or blog, on a post at that social networking site you love so much or ANYWHERE! People should know the basics of these scams so they don’t get scammed while visiting a gem and mineral show in Tucson or Denver!

    http://www.the-vug.com/vug/vugfakes.html

    Some of the new addition to the guide are a video showing how to form bismuth crystals, new “man modified” crystals, better examples of irradiated heliodor and smoky quartz. Photos of the roasted acanthite ore silver specimens are available to view, though the mineral community would like to silently sweep that one under the rug. The legendary scam lapidary item, Cal-Silica is featured, along with all your favorite range of dyed minerals!

    If you never checked out the old guide, here is your chance to get a fresh view! If you are familiar with the classic guide, you’ll love our new updated version! Thanks to everyone at The-Vug.com for providing the new content and thanks to you for sharing it with your friends!

    Insert this snippet of code into your website or blog to place our banner and link on your site! By doing so you are helping so many people avoid getting scammed!


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    http://www.the-vug.com/vug/vugfakes.html

    Something tells me this meteorite isn’t legit…

    Monday, August 24th, 2009

    “Article” on meteorite find in the UK

    Is this a meteorite?

    Is this a meteorite?

    Check out this article…the meteorite is described as
    “black with a shiny crystal-like gleam”
    “thought it was a lump of coal”

    Are we sure it is not just a piece of slag or maybe a tektite. Hey, good for the kid for finding a rock in the back yard, but did they verify the specimen with ANYONE else besides the parents and eBay? It doesn’t say so in the article. Sloppy reporting for sure!

    Stuff tends to spread like wildfire on the internet, and anything that drags you away from Twitter or Facebook will usually be either something completely amazing or, as more commonly experienced, a complete and utter hoax. I genuinely worry about the people that fall for this stuff – if you’re buying meteories off the internet, then chances are you’re probably being scammed. I could go outside and buy some red sandstone, take a welder to it, and claim it was from Mars. Would I make a ton of money? MAYBE!

    I have a friend who is an avid meteorite hunter and he swears by the book Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites. He has gone to Morocco and been on the trail of meteorite falls all over the United States. The amount of work that he puts into tracking, sourcing and looking for meteorites is much different than the standard, “hey, this black rock looks like a meteor” that you see in so many stories like this.

    Acetone and your minerals dissolving the glue!

    Saturday, April 11th, 2009

    Certainly not something you want to find out about your beautiful gem crystal on matrix…but in fact, a whole subdivision of gem mineral sales at the point of origin are sometimes manufactured specimens involving a liberal slathering of glue to hold everyting in place.

    For instance, the new wonderful Scorodite xtls on matrix from China. Beautiful, yet glued.

    Dip your rocks in Acetone, see what falls apart

    So, if you have any specimens you wonder about, give them a soak in some Acetone. See what falls apart! Sometimes nothing, sometime something substantial. Bummer for us honest mineral collectors and dealers.

    Thanks to Dr. L for the photo!

    Stretch Young wrote a great article about this subject relating to Emeralds in Calcite from Bolivia for The-Vug.com Quarterly Magazine Fakes Issue, which is available in the Hardcover collected reprint of the magazine, available on The-Vug.com

    People ask me all the time which glue is the best for repairing your specimens, as well as the most common used glue…
    Instant Krazy Glue, of course!

    Fake Chinese Charoite – a sample from the Fakes issue of The-Vug.com Quarterly Magazine

    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

    The-Vug.com Quarterly Magazine Book Sample

    The image above is a page out of The-Vug.com Quarterly Magazine, which you can buy directly from the publisher, FortySevenPress.com. You can see, this stuff is now being marketed as a material for cheap beads, like the auction below.
    Fake Charoite

    Take a look at these samples of “Chinese Charoite” on ebay!

    Versus the real deal Charoite, like the examples below.

    Copper Treated Andesine Gemstones!

    Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

    One of my favorite websites for gemstone scams is gone, but it was…Colored-Stone.com! There are always people coming up with new ways to dye, irradiate, heat and otherwise screw with the color of a natural gem.

    Well, this material, “Andesine Labradorite” has been on the market for awhile, mimicing the most sought after colors and effects shown in top quality Oregon sunstone. Long story short…injected with dye. Whoot!

    Andesine Gem Rough EXPOSED!

    You should go to this website and read the whole story. It is quite amazing!

    To sum it up, this material that was claimed to be completely 100% natural was actually treated, as suspected.

    Arkansas Diamond Fraud! Salted Diamonds SOLD as Natural Arkansas Diamonds for HUGE PROFIT!!

    Friday, May 9th, 2008

    Written By Justin Zzyzx and Brandy Naugle for FakeMinerals.com

    Investigative Reporting by Yinan Wang

    Arkansas is known for something very unique.

    The ONLY public access diamond mine in the entire world. For a small fee, anyone can go to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro Arkansas and search for diamonds in the giant open dirt field.

    While it is certainly no easy task to unearth a diamond here, amazing finds have been reported and tracked through time. The average diamond found at the “Crater” is far less than a carat, most weighing in at under 10 points (that’s 1/10th of a carat) (TINY!). Finding a nice big fat stone over a carat is something people work for years and don’t find!

    Diamonds at the Crater come in several shades, 70% of them being white, with brown coming in second and yellow is a close third.

    The state park registers all of the diamonds that people find at the park, if they are willing to register it. Some don’t because they want to keep it private, while many want the nifty card that you get when you register your diamond with the park. They even keep track of everyone’s finds on their website, www.craterofdiamondsstatepark.com.

    Diamonds from Arkansas are also special because of a very important fact. They are worth a great deal more than similar diamonds from commercial mines around the world. They are so special and unique, plus they tend to be among the hardest diamonds known to man. They have a unique form and often look like sleek drops of glass, rather than crude cubes and rough diamonds of so many African locations. So, an Arkansas diamond is going to be one of the most expensive diamonds you can get, but rightfully so!

    Now that you know all about the important facts about diamonds from the “Crater of Diamonds State Park”, learn about how someone almost came up with a perfect scam.

    You could not take any diamond into the park and just plant it on the ground. Or at least no one thought you could because a diamond from Africa, Brazil, Russia, et al. would not produce diamonds that look like the ones from Arkansas. But someone found a source that could pass for Arkansas diamonds. A source in India that imports diamonds from the Panna Mines.



    Photos of diamond lots sent to Eric to examine prior to purchase.

    India produces hundreds of thousands more diamonds than the US, therefore, the diamonds from India are much cheaper than their American counterparts. A man named Eric Blake (www.arkansasdiamondjewelry.com) figured out he could make some money by purchasing diamonds from India then take them into the park and “find” them.

    A brown diamond from India costs around $100 per carat, while a similar diamond from Arkansas costs $1000 -$2000 per carat. A profit of more than 1000%.

    In late October of 2007, Eric Blake and his family took a trip to the “Crater” and found an amazing amount of LARGE BROWN DIAMONDS!

    It was no coincidence that he also placed a rush order for an assortment of Indian diamonds to be delivered no later than October 18th.

    On 10/6/07 Eric sent the following message from his girlfriend (and accomplice) Susan Gabrielson’s email account.

    Hello (Name Withheld),I may have deleted your last mail by accident. As I have not gotten a response from you. We are eagerly awaiting your mail. The stones must be received no later than October 18, 2007. Anything you can do to expedite this shipment would be greatly appreciated.

    Over the span of 5 days, Eric and his three assistants “found” over 16.5 carats of diamonds at the park, including a whopping 3.92 carat stone! What great luck, eh? Out of all of the recorded finds they had that week, 60% of them were brown! What an interesting thing, because usually only around 20% of the finds are brown in color.

    Screen captures of from the park diamond find archive for Eric Blake, Susan Gabrielson, Sarah Gabrielson, & Sayde Gabrielson

    Eric also owns a website called ArkansasDiamondJewelry.com which sells diamonds and jewelry, reported to come from the “Crater” complete with certificate of authenticity issued by the Arkansas State Park. However, some of the diamonds on the site are proven to be Indian in origin. FakeMinerals.com received paperwork which shows Eric Blake importing diamonds from India in early October.



    Kimberly Certificate


    UPS Tracking code, screen captured from UPS.com

    If that isn’t damning enough, photos taken by the salesperson in India which clearly match up with diamonds for sale on ArkansasDiamondJewelry.com




    In addition, Eric sells “Arkansas Diamonds” on eBay (sayde1garcia) and has successfully sold some of his Indian diamonds to mineral dealers here in America as originating from Arkansas.

    Private sources have indicated that they have been onto Mr. Blake for a few months now, but they have lacked the evidence to be sure that he was “salting” the diamond field.

    One regular digger at the “Crater” met Mr. Blake in 2006 when he first tried out his scam. At that time he only registered a few diamonds. Mr. Blake offered to let the regular digger search his hole when he was done. It wasn’t much surprise that the regular didn’t find anything else in that hole. In 2007 Mr. Blake and his family were digging in an area that is known to be the dumping ground for gravel that was trucked in 1924 to put in a road. This gravel is completely free from diamonds as it is not from the diamond field, however they found a remarkable 32 diamonds! Mr. Blake then offered the hole to another family when they were leaving and while the family moved quite a bit of material, no more diamonds were forthcoming.

    Mr. Blake. The diggers at the “Crater of Diamonds State Park” would like you to know that you are persona non grata.

    With this information MOST, IF NOT ALL of the Diamonds sold by Mr. Blake are not from Arkansas and should be labeled as coming from the Panna Mine in India.

    It is amazing that someone could think they would get away with trying to scam these finds, especially since there are dozens of people who stare, poke and prod at the numbers of the finds on the Crater’s website. 32 diamonds is an impossible number of diamonds to be found by two adults and two children during 5 days at the park.

    Additionaly, As recently as January 2008, Eric has sent emails trying to “match” certain stones. And while there is nothing wrong with that in itself, in this context, it is more than a little suspicious.

    I leave you with this parting thought… What is the Travel Channel’s most promoted collecting location on their “Best Places to find Cash and Treasures” series? Yep, you guessed it! Crater of Diamonds State Park! Could this be the beginning of the inevitable backlash associated with promoting this “get rich quick” mentality to mineral collecting? I guess only time will tell.

    Fake Minerals and Scams are all around us. If you catch wind of something fishy, send to us here at Justin@the-vug.com

    Thanks again to Hal Guyot (GeoSleuth@gmail.com) for all your hard work on this story!

    Special Extra Thanks goes out to the HONEST INDIAN DEALER, Malay Hirani of Soni Tools (www.sonitools.com) for being willing to help stop fraud!

    UPDATE!: Just google Eric Blake’s name on Google and you will find AP News report after AP News report about his 3.92 carat stone find in October of 2007. Not only did he scam the public, the state park, but he also scamed the media. What a guy!

    UPDATE!: As soon as Eric heard about this website, he removed the photos that match up above and got rid of his “Dealer Lot” section, well, those diamonds matched up perfectly!

    UPDATE!: There is a ton of additional extra evidence and it has all been turned into the authorities. We do not know if anyone will ever see that this out to justice, but you can be sure that far and wide, people know what to look out for and a scammer has been chased out!

    Arkansas Diamond Fraud, Eric Blake, Appleton Wisconsin

    And here is a picture found on Google of Eric Blake holding his “famous find”.

    FINAL UPDATE: This story is now ancient history, newspaper articles were written, TV and Radio interviews were given, National Geographic even wrote about the scam.

    Sunspar.com, telling people a COMMON mineral is A RARE GEM!

    Friday, May 9th, 2008

    A reader alerted me to something I had seen before in the past I thought was odd. (Thanks Tim!)

    So, when I went back and checked again, I was suprised to see this still in print.

    The website SunSpar.com sells faceted translucent Labradorite, otherwise known as Sunstone when it has a schiller effect to it.

    The faceted Gem grade yellow Labradorite is very real, however without sparkling inclusions, it should not be called Sunstone, which it is several times on their website.

    In addition, the supply of large chunks of facet grade Labradorite are not in any kind of short supply. Quite the contrary, I know one of the owners of a very large Mexican Labradorite mine and from first hand knowledge, the supply of top notch gem grade Labradorite is not running low and it has not for the last twenty years.

    While the website states that the information they are giving you in their sales pitch is “In the opinon of their manager”, blatent misinformation is a lie. I contacted the company via phone call to ask them if they stood by their story after I told them the information I had, I was abruptly hung up on. Apparently they have no comment on this.

    Here is a photo of their website from the WAYBACKMACHINE, circa Feb. 1998. Below that, a picture of their site from March 26th, 2008.

    70% off! I guess that site didn’t do a super great job convincing that yellow Labradorite was some crazy rare gem, never before known to mankind.

    SunSpar Website in 1998

    SunSpar Website in 2008

    I don’t think I like Best Places to Find Cash and Treasures

    Friday, May 9th, 2008

    A while ago I wrote about the program on the Travel Channel, “Best Places to Find Cash and Treasures”. The program has the following premise, The Host guides viewers to a region of America to search out minerals, gems, and other collectable items. The host then takes the items found and has them cut, polished and sometimes set into jewelry, then appraised to be sold. Sometimes even sold on the show.

    I have no problems with the premise of this show. There is certainly nothing wrong with promoting mineral collecting. Selling your finds usually doesn’t accompany a mineral collecting trip, because sometimes a mineral collecting trip is a very non-productive event. Usually, if you find something really incredible, you keep it. It gets sold when you either die or need money for your kid’s heart transplant. Even the most bloodthristy field collectors who collect to sell keep the best stuff for their collections. They program doesn’t even touch on this kind of collecting/selling aspect…no, everything is done as GREED as the main factor.

    The host of the second season of this program, Becky Whorley, was pretty focused on the financial aspect. However, as an hour long program, she did have a fun attitude and seemed to be really interested in why things were formed and found. The second host is ONLY concered about money and now that it is only a half hour long, the greed seems to fill the entire episode. Mineral collecting is a fun hobby, but what fun is it when GREED is the main motivating factor!?!

    Watch the show, on the Travel Channel. Count how many dollar signs you see in the show. Watch out for the SALTED tailing piles, the SALTED finds, the horrible safety violations and the general poor job of representing our hobby. Cash and Treasures on DVD

    Smoky Quartz from Romania, irradiated to add color!

    Friday, May 9th, 2008

    Smoky Quartz. One of the popular faked varieties of Quartz. But all the NATURAL Smoky Quartz has really made faking it kind of pointless.

    Well, in Romania, the regular Quartz isn’t good enough…see this natural colored one below.


    White Dolomite on White Quartz from Romania

    Take that quartz above and stick it in a hot radiation chamber and BLAMO, aluminum ions are activated, forming a bond reflecting light back out, making our eyes see a deep smoky color, as in the photo below.


    smoky quartz from romania after radiation

    Malachite Stalactites from Congo, sometimes, they are fake

    Friday, May 9th, 2008

    I have been looking for awhile for a really good fake Malachite Stalactite specimen on eBay to show you, however, I haven’t seen any on eBay in a long time. A good thing too!

    But Mike from Geological Desires showed me a fantastic fake specimen…

    What they do is take some powdered Malachite and spray it onto some plasterized Malachite Stalactite base. When you hit it with the UV light you can see all the glue glowing bright yellow/orange in the background.

    So, when you see a Malachite Stalactite specimen, check it out for the powdered Malachite surface and check it out with a UV light first to see if the glue stands out!