The tektite known as Moldavite has been a frequently faked item for years – and recently, the prices have risen further.
To be perfectly clear – there is genuine Moldavite; it is a green tektite glass from the Czech Republic.
The largest mine in Czechia is currently closed, and the prices are rising dramatically. There are issues with illegal black market mining for Moldavite in the Czech Republic, and, of course, thousands of fakes coming out of China.
It is extremely difficult for the uninitiated to spot a fake piece of rough Moldavite; it is slightly easier with faceted or polished pieces due to inclusions known as ‘lechatelierite’.
However, it is reasonable to say that the majority of collectors could not identify a fake specimen with absolute certainty.
Be very wary when purchasing, even from trusted sellers. They might trust their wholesalers to provide authentic specimens and have no idea that they are selling fakes.
How do I identify fake Moldavite?
I do not really think there is a reasonable, repeatable and easy test for identifying Moldavite. Sorry.
With that said, there are a few things you can look out for. I have also included links to a few respected publications/websites at the bottom of this post.
- Where are you buying from? Sites like eBay and Wish are rife with fakes.
- Is the seller established, with feedback and reviews covering years?
- Moldavite comes from the Czech Republic – it is unlikely it will be exported to China and then sold internationally at a cheap price!
A difficult one. It can be extremely difficult to tell the difference, even with the piece in front of you.
- Moldavite ranges from opaque to transparent. The more transparent pieces are more prized and are significantly rarer.
- Faceted or polished Moldavite is much easier to identify than natural/rough specimens. Under magnification, polished pieces will have ‘worm like’ or ‘wire like’ inclusions of lechatelierite, which so far has not been faked.
- Moldavite is not fluorescent under UV light, but not all of the synthetics are either.
- Natural Moldavite does not have a ‘wet’ look, as melted glass does. However, the synthetics are getting better at faking this by acid washing glass.
Photos are not the best method of identifying fake minerals, unfortunately, but there is one technique you can use that may help to identify the most common fakes and scammers.
I have removed all names and web addresses from the images below, because as I said – it is not reliable to identify fake pieces from photos most of the time and in the (unlikely, lol) event that any are genuine, I would not want to imply a real seller is a scammer.
Please note, however, that this will not work with every image, and does not necessarily guarantee the piece is fake but does raise some major red flags.
Genuine faceted Moldavite, with several pieces showing Lechatelierite.