UPDATE (3/26/21) - Moldavite has become considerably more rare and undergone a massive surge in popularity in the last few months (due to going viral on TikTok) since I originally wrote the content for this article. Here is some updated info on pricing and counterfeiting:
Though long revered by people (since at least 25,000 BCE) Moldavite has experienced a recent surge in popularity via TikTok and spiritual influencers touting its power as a catalyst for rapid spiritual growth and transformation.
Is Moldavite a powerful energetic tool? Yes.
Will it magically transform your entire life for you? No.
It's a tool (just like any other crystal, candle, herb, etc.) and it's a great opportunity to focus your intentions, but it will only do for you what you are willing to do for yourself, and what you commit to show up for. I've seen some misleading content that buying Moldavite is going to completely overhaul your life and solve all your issues and that just isn't the case with any crystal - they are only as powerful as you are.
This recent surge in popularity coupled with a much lower supply coming from the mines has led to a bit of a Moldavite shortage. My suppliers that used to have trays of affordable Moldavite at each gem show (pictured here in the background) are having a hard time getting any in at all, and most is museum grade.
This surge in demand with the lack of supply means prices have jumped considerably. They have increased by 2-3x even since I bought some at the Denver Gem Show in Sept 2020. This has created even more incentives for counterfeiters to fake Moldavite. There was already a huge market, but it's only increased - and counterfeiters in China are getting even better at faking it with man-made glass.
My #1 tip if you're in the market for Moldavite:
Make sure you TRUST YOUR SELLER. (Even certificates of authenticity are faked)
And prices have dramatically increased. The article below states Moldavite should retail for approx $7-20/g but it is now more like $28-30/g from what I can tell, and from personal experience of sourcing in March 2021.
You are welcome to read on below for more information on Moldavite and some techniques in spotting counterfeits, but as I stated above, they are getting more and more convincing, so it's getting considerably tougher.
LET'S TALK ABOUT MOLDAVITE
Moldavite is not technically a mineral or crystal at all, but a tektite (from the Greek word tektos = molten; referring to molten glass created from meteoric impact) that is found only in the Bohemian plateau of the Czech Republic. It was created during a meteor impact about 14.7 million years ago. The green color is thought to be due to their iron content.
The limited locality and extremely limited material makes these green snowflakes pricey - which means there is a huge incentive for counterfeits
Long known as a sacred stone, Moldavite was allegedly found in altar amulets from 25000BCE and was believed in Czech folklore to guide one to one’s destiny. In modern times and in the spiritual space, Moldavite is known as a stone of high ascension: rapid and powerful spiritual transformation. It can catalyze major shifts and even physical life changes. Moldavite is said to attract all that relates to one’s spiritual evolution and serves one’s highest good, and dissolve any hindrances to that evolution.
I'm going to preface this FYI FRIDAY with: there is A TON of counterfeit Moldavite on the market. And honestly, well-intentioned retailers may even be selling Moldavite that they don't realize is counterfeit.
I wouldn't say it's "easy" to spot fake Moldavite, unless you spend a lot of time looking at real Moldavite - then you get accustomed to how it should look and it's easier to spot when something seems "off".
I'll try to give y'all some tips.
Polished or faceted Moldavite is a bit challenging to authenticate without a microscope; raw Malachite is a little bit easier but still quite challenging. That's because Moldavite is glass - so there are some really convincing fakes made of green glass.
The biggest red flag is always pricing, especially on platforms like Wish and Ebay - but there may be more convincing fakes and more in-line pricing even on Etsy and at more reputable spiritual retailers.
REAL MOLDAVITE ISN'T CHEAP.
It will be priced by the gram - usually $7-20/gram depending on the grade/quality. Which means listings for Moldavite should include the weight to the 10th or 100th decimal point in grams.
It should always come from the Czech Republic, 99% of Moldavite is found there. If you are seeing Moldavite from other parts of the world - huge red flag.
The surface texture of Moldavite naturally varies from deep sculpting to more smooth - some even have a mixture of both on the same piece. The surface texture is shaped by the the type of sediment it's found in. The surface shine can similarly range rom shiny/glossy to totally matte. It also often has channels, valleys, holes.
The color naturally ranges from light green to brown - the most common coloring being bottle green (which unfortunately resembles man-made green glass). It should never be transparent like green glass - backlight will shine through beautifully but it's still opaque.
Every single piece of Moldavite is unique - like a snowflake or finger print.
No two Moldavites will EVER look the same.
So if you see a shop selling multiple that look the same, using a stock image, or see multiple shops selling the same piece - it's a red flag. Each piece has been uniquely shaped by both the impact and the millions of years it spent in the ground.
Lechatelierite looks "like thin wavy lines and will only be visible in genuine polished or faceted Moldavite".
THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FAKE.
However, you also can't see these with the bare eye - you need a microscope (which I know most of us don't have access to - including myself). Pictured below.
IMAGE: Typical bubbles and inclusions of lechatelierite in natural moldavite; image width 5 mm. Photomicrograph by Jaroslav Hyršl. Source: gia.edu
Authentic Moldavite examples
Below are examples of natural Moldavite in its different forms:
Image: natural Moldavite inventory I've carried in the shop. Photo: mine.
Now for the counterfeit spotting.
First, buy from a trusted seller.
Second, familiarize yourself with what the real deal looks like - look at lots of real Moldavite.
Third, make sure the price is on par.
Fourth, be sure that the listing/seller includes good photos, the weight to 1-2 decimal places, the dimensions, and the actual stone you're buying (not a generic photo).
Avoid buying on Ebay, Wish, etc.
Avoid buying from China, Hong Kong, India, Thailand - those are where majority of counterfeits are coming from.
Beware even on Etsy or with crystal shops, like I said - they may not even realize they don't have real Moldavite.
Certificates of authenticity are being faked. I'm sorry, but that isn't a guarantee.
COLOR: Fake Moldavite can vary from wet glassy bottle green to other colors (blue, red, etc). Moldavite is never anything besides green.
TRANSPARENCY: Some fakes look wet or way too transparent like normal glass. Moldavite is always opaque!
SHAPE: Low quality Moldavite comes in all kinds of weird shapes like perfect drops, but it also sometimes looks like real Moldavite because they can use a mold of a real piece.
SURFACE/TEXTURE: Surfaces and edges often look smooth due to the use of molds. They can't exactly replicate the surface texture or edges of real Moldavite.
Faceted/polished/cut is much harder to tell without a microscope to spot lechatelierite, so be sure you really trust your source and use pricing to rule out red flags.
Counterfeit Moldavite examples
Let's explore some Moldavite listings & their red flags. These were found while searching "Moldavite" on Google shopping.
This is such a challenging one to cover because it's hard to convey how to tell the fakes when folks may not have seen much real Moldavite. I hope it's helpful.
As I've said in the past, spotting fakes takes a lot of practice and experience, and sometimes there are really convincing ones but these are the basics and can help you rule out a lot of glaringly counterfeit Moldavite.
The biggest ones are PRICE & TRUST.
Only buy Moldavite from someone you really really trust, friends. Etsy is chock full of the fake shit and so are gem shows.
My most recent inventory was purchased directly from a Czech family that’s been bringing Moldavite stateside for over 3 decades (before any of us even knew what Moldavite was!).
The more you know about the real and authentic stone, and the more you research and spend time with it, the easier it becomes to spot fakes.
Do you have any additional questions about Moldavite you'd like me to cover? Please comment below and I'm happy to answer any questions and/or add to this post with more specifics.